Financial crime watchdog FATF suspends Russia over war in Ukraine

PARIS, Feb. 24 (Reuters) – The global financial crime watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday suspended Russia’s membership over Moscow’s war in Ukraine against the organisation’s principles.

FATF is an intergovernmental organization created to combat money laundering and terrorist financing by setting global standards and verifying that countries respect them.

“This is the first time a FATF member has been suspended,” FATF President Raja Kumar said at a news conference. “Russia is effectively kept out of the organization.”

Ukraine, which has repeatedly called for Russia to be excluded from the organization, welcomed the decision to suspend Russia, but added that it will continue to push FATF members to go further and get Russia blacklisted.

“It’s not enough, but it’s an important step in the right direction,” said Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko.

Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, denounced the decision as “a dangerous move” and said it would undermine global efforts to combat money laundering, terrorism financing and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, it reported. state news agency Tass.

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Although suspended, Russia remains a member of the FATF. The main consequences of Friday’s decision will be that Russia will be denied access to meetings and access to documents, the FATF said.

“The Russian Federation remains responsible for its obligation to implement the FATF standards. The Russian Federation must continue to meet its financial obligations,” said the FATF.

“The actions of the Russian Federation are an unacceptable violation of FATF core principles aimed at promoting security, safety and the integrity of the global financial system,” the Paris-based group said in a statement.

The FATF on Friday also added South Africa and Nigeria to the “grey list” of countries under special supervision to implement standards to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing and removed Morocco from the gray list.

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

Report by Tassilo Hummel and Ingrid Melander; Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Karin Strohecker, Olena Harmash, Elaine Monaghan; Edited by Jane Merriman, Louise Heavens, Andrea Ricci and William Mallard

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