FATF member countries: The very center of money laundering

While Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asks for joining FATF (The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering), it is obvious that the member countries of this organization are already actively engaged in money laundering, Mehr news agency reported.

The foreign minister claimed that large amounts of money are laundered in Iran, but according to the official sources, 90 percent of European banks and Canada are systematically engaged in money laundering.

He further claimed that the opponents of joining FATF are against financial transparency and benefit from money laundering profits which amount to billions and joining FATF would prevent such transactions.

It seems that the term “financial transparency” has turned into a pretext for FATF defenders to silence critics and justify their claims.

The important question here is “is FATF a reliable organization in combating money laundering and do its members have total financial transparency?”

By looking at the background of FATF member countries, it is revealed that money laundering is still closely interwoven with their financial and banking systems and this international organization has failed to prevent money laundering.

Money laundering statistics in FATF member countries

Money laundering happens when money resulted from illegal activities enter the clean financial or banking system of a country; this phenomenon has now turned into a major problem in international financial and banking systems.

European Union member countries and North American countries are the major members of FATF, so it is expected that these countries comply perfectly with rules set against money laundering; however, in recent months, several international news agencies have reported of these countries’ extensive engagement in money laundering.

According to Wall Street Journal, two third of Canadian banks don’t follow standards that combat money laundering.

According to the Week, at least 18 of the 20 biggest banks in Europe, including five UK institutions, have been fined for offences relating to money laundering over the last decade.

Donald Toon, director of prosperity at the National Crime Agency, admitted that money laundering in the UK was “a very big problem” and estimated that the amount of money laundered each year has now risen to a staggering £150 billion.

According to Reuters, Estonia, the European Union member country of just 1.3 million people, has been at the center of a money-laundering scandal involving Danske Bank, handled more than $1 trillion in cross-border flows between 2008 and 2017.

However, FATF had not put Estonia on the list of high-risk countries in terms of financial transactions; and the country claimed that it cooperated with Council of Europe Select Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures (MONEYVAL).
According to these statistics, it seems that “fighting money laundering” is merely used as a cover-up to control some countries and holding them back in doing business with each other.

It seems that our Foreign Minister should look for systematic money laundering in the European Union and other world markets and publicize them. Contrary to his statement, there has never been money laundering with such magnitude in Iran and the existing money laundering activities can be controlled with complete enforcement of local laws against money laundering and following check laws as well as implementing the local scheme for tax on investment income.

First published in our partner MNA