Financial crime watchdog suspends Russia's membership over Ukraine war

FATF is an inter-governmental organisation set up to combat money laundering and terrorism financing

By Reuters

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People hold a giant Ukrainian flag during a rally to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Belgrade on Friday. - AP
People hold a giant Ukrainian flag during a rally to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Belgrade on Friday. - AP

Published: Fri 24 Feb 2023, 8:27 PM

Global financial crime watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) suspended Russia's membership on Friday, saying Moscow's war in Ukraine violated the organisation's principles.

FATF is an inter-governmental organisation set up to combat money laundering and terrorism financing by setting global standards and checking if countries respect them.

"The Russian Federation's actions unacceptably run counter to the FATF core principles aiming to promote security, safety, and the integrity of the global financial system", the Paris-based group said in a statement. "They also represent a gross violation of the commitment to international cooperation and mutual respect ... FATF members have agreed to implement," it added.

Ukraine welcomed the decision to suspend Russia but added that it would continue its push with FATF members to go further and get Russia blacklisted and sanctioned. "It's not enough but it's an important step in the right direction," Ukrainian Finance Minister Serghiy Marchenko said.

Ukraine has made repeated calls to exclude Russia from the organisation as it seeks to use international and intergovernmental organisations as a lever for pressuring Moscow, whose invasion on Friday entered a second year.

But while Russia has now been suspended, it remains a member. "The Russian Federation remains accountable for its obligation to implement the FATF Standards. The Russian Federation must continue to meet its financial obligations," the FATF said.

Separately, the FATF on Friday added South Africa to its "grey list" of countries under special scrutiny to implement standards to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing and took Morocco out of the grey list.

FATF members include 39 countries, including the United States, India, China, Saudi Arabia as well as European countries such as Britain, Germany and France and the EU as such. Ukraine is not a member.


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