FATF President's remarks to G20 Anti-Corruption Ministerial

22 October 2020
As prepared for delivery

Dear Ministers, Ladies, Gentlemen,

Thank you, I am grateful for the opportunity to address the first G20 Anti-Corruption Ministerial.

Even as the world battles COVID-19, criminals and corrupt officials are misappropriating funds and misusing government contracts for personal gain.

This damages our communities. Money is flowing out of economies at precisely the time health services need it most.

As long as it remains profitable, corruption will continue. That is why stopping money laundering is vital to making sure corruption does not pay.

205 jurisdictions have committed to FATF’s global anti-money laundering standards. The FATF carries out comprehensive evaluations that go beyond law books and look at real-world implementation. We hold countries to account for significant failures, including public identification or calls for countermeasures in the most severe cases.

The hard truth is that, despite some successes, the vast majority of countries are failing to implement the necessary measures.

Which is why it is so important for G20 countries to show leadership.

This means going beyond rhetoric, and tackling persistent problems:

  • Overall, compliance costs are high, but confiscations of dirty money are low. I recognise the constraints on budgets, but there needs to be investment in law enforcement to ensure that it has the necessary resources to follow the money. To take money out of the pockets of the corrupt, and put it back into communities.
  • We need to plug the holes in the availability of beneficial ownership information. Countries need to make sure that up-to-date and accurate information is rapidly available to authorities so we can stop anonymous shell companies laundering funds.
  • We must increase our oversight of the non-financial sectors. The gatekeepers to the financial system – such as lawyers, accountants and company service providers – need to be inside the regulatory tent so law enforcement agencies have relevant information to build cases.

Some of these issues are in politically challenging areas. Many require coordination at the ministerial level.

The starting point for G20 members is full implementation of the FATF standards at home. Even small loopholes in big financial centres can cause significant problems in the global financial system.

If the G20 shows leadership, it will spur others into action.

By tackling money laundering, you will tackle corruption.

The FATF is here to help. We will warn you of emerging threats and advise on effective policy responses. Which is why the FATF became the first international body to define and regulate cryptocurrencies.

As Covid-19 changes the world, now is a transformative moment. I urge you to take this opportunity to build political will and capacity in your countries to address the persistent problems and to work together to make corruption unprofitable.

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