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Israel Joins Global Financial Watchdog on Money Laundering

Israel Joins Global Financial Watchdog on Money Laundering

Monday, 10 December, 2018 - 19:30
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Israel on Monday joined the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global financial watchdog on money laundering and terror financing.

It became a full member after it was previously blacklisted by the Paris-based organization.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that membership of FATF would make Israel part of the group of countries "leading the global battle against money laundering and terror financing."

Membership of the FATF would also present Israel "as a safe and attractive place for investments" from around the world, Shaked said.

FATF president Marshall Billingslea welcomed Israel on becoming the group's 38th member, noting its "rigorous assessment of its measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing," which enabled its membership.

Israel's "experience and perspective will make a valuable contribution to our work to prevent the misuse of the financial system," Billingslea, who is also the US assistant treasury secretary for terrorist financing, said in a statement.

The organization had blacklisted Israel in 2000 due to what it described at the time as non-cooperation in the fight against money laundering. Israel was removed from the list in 2002 and has since taken steps to address the issue.

FATF said that Israel had been an observer in the organization since February 2016 and that its upgrade to membership followed “successful mutual evaluation”.

“During this demanding process, the country demonstrated its commitment to protect the integrity of the financial system,” Billingslea said.

Shlomit Wagman-Ratner, head of the Justice Ministry’s anti- money laundering and terrorism financing department, said joining the FATF was a national strategic objective.

“An additional significant factor is that, for the first time, the State of Israel will be able to take part in setting international rules in the realm of terror financing and money laundering, rules that it is subject to in any event.”

The FATF has recently warned Iran it would face further isolation from international finance if it did not clamp down on terrorism financing.

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