20 November 2020
When we discuss the way forward today – and particularly how to enhance the resilience of economies – it remains vital that we also consider how to protect them from illicit funds.
Crime, terrorism and subsequent money-laundering that again fuels new crime and terrorism poses serious risks to economic recovery and stability, because it undermines just competition, hampers growth, deepens inequality, and erodes confidence in the integrity of the global financial system.
The pandemic has spawned a rise in financial crime. We have seen new COVID-specific crime patterns, such as the counterfeiting of medical goods and scams to exploit economic stimulus measures. Businesses at risk of going bust can be exploited, with criminals taking them over or supplying cash to launder. Real estate, construction, as well as small and medium sized businesses in general, appear to be particularly vulnerable. And with rising numbers of people out of work, there is an increased chance of the vulnerable being used as money mules – for criminals to launder their illicit cash.
To contain the economic vulnerabilities associated with financial crime, leaders need to keep the fight against money laundering high on their agendas. The FATF Standards help governments do just that. If effectively implemented, they would have an immediate impact right now.
The FATF remains committed to working with the G20 to help authorities stop money illicitly flowing out of economies at precisely the time when health services need it most. Together we will help ensure a strong, sustainable economic recovery. It will restore confidence in our economies and the integrity of the financial system. This is needed now more than ever and would be fitting for, hopefully, a post-Covid-19 world.
Therefore, I am thankful for the support of FATF's work by the Saudi Presidency and look forward to the summit discussions tomorrow. Finally, let me say that I am very much looking forward to cooperating with the incoming Italian Presidency over the next year.