Japan chaired the tenth round of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF). Major achievements of the 1998-1999 round included the completion of the second set of mutual evaluations of the anti-money laundering measures taken by its members, and launching the enlargement of the FATF membership.
The FATF also continued its task of refining anti-money laundering measures in several areas (accounting professions and associated rules, strengthening international co-operation, consideration of how anti-money laundering systems can contribute to dealing effectively with tax related crimes). In this respect, an Interpretative Note to Recommendation 15 was adopted in order to close the “fiscal excuse” in the reporting of suspicious transactions. Important work on the problems raised by noncooperative countries or territories in the combat of money laundering was also launched during the year. In addition, the Task Force conducted its annual broad-ranging review of money laundering trends and techniques.
As in previous rounds, the Task Force devoted a considerable part of its work to the monitoring of members' implementation of the forty Recommendations on the basis of the selfassessment and mutual evaluation procedures. The 1998-1999 self-assessment exercise showed that members had continued to make progress in implementing the forty Recommendations.
In January 1999, the FATF carried out a mission to the Gulf Cooperation Council's headquarters in Riyadh to discuss how to improve the implementation of effective anti-money laundering systems among the GCC members.
The assessment of current and future money laundering threats is an essential part of the FATF's work. The annual survey of money laundering typologies focused on a number of major issues: the Euro currency unit and large denomination banknotes; problems associated with offshore financial centres of non-cooperative jurisdictions, including the identification of the beneficial owners of foreign legal entities; challenges posed by new payment technologies; and the potential use of the gold market in money laundering operations. During the round, experts from FATF members and several international organisations continued the work commenced in 1997 on estimating the magnitude of money laundering.
FATF Annual Report 1998-1999