Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
FATF (Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering) is an inter-governmental body operating under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD. FATF cooperates internationally to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The Task Force develops and issues recommendations for action and follows their implementation in the member states with annual inquiries and periodic country evaluations.
Finland has been a member of FATF since 1991. FATF has issued 40 recommendations concerning the prevention of money laundering, terrorist financing and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which the member countries of FATF are politically committed to implement. The recommendations were revised completely in 2012 and individual specifications have been made to them after that.
The most recent Mutual Evaluation of Finland was completed in spring 2019.
The FATF Plenary meets three times a year.
FATF maintains a list of states in which strategic shortcomings have been detected and on which FATF encourages its members to perform a range of measures. The Ministry of Finance is responsible for the national coordination of matters related to FATF.
Decisions of the FATF Plenary in June 2023
In the Plenary held in Paris in June 2023, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) decided to continue the suspension of the Russian Federation's membership. The decision was based on the situation not having changed since the suspension decision was taken in February. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine continues to run counter to FATF’s principles of promoting security, safety and the integrity of the global financial system. FATF's principles also include a commitment to international cooperation and mutual respect. The FATF also wishes to draw attention to all attempts to circumvent the sanctions imposed against the Russian Federation.
The decision does not restrict Russia’s participation in FATF activities as a member of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering (EAG).
During the Plenary week, President T. Raja Kumar met with the chairs and executive secretaries of the nine FATF-Style Regional Bodies (FSRBs) at the FATF-FSRB Annual High-Level Meeting.
FATF Members agreed to publish the fourth targeted update on the implementation of the FATF Recommendations on virtual assets and virtual asset service providers. FATF Members also advanced the work on preventing the misuse of non-profit organisations (NPOs) and agreed to release for public consultation potential revisions to Recommendation 8 and the updated FATF Best Practices paper on combating the abuse of NPOs. The FATF has continued its work on recovery of criminal property and on combating corruption. Several of the projects discussed at the Plenary also touched on the unintended consequences of incorrect implementation of the FATF Recommendations.
The FATF added Cameroon, Croatia and Vietnam to the ‘grey list’ and did not remove any jurisdictions from the list. The countries on the ‘black list’ remained the same, however, the FAFT more strongly urged Myanmar to complete the action plan agreed with it.
The FATF discussed the mutual evaluation report of Luxembourg. The report will be published in September.
FATF members continued their preparations for the fifth round of mutual evaluations. These preparations include developing the universal procedures that will apply to all assessments and the effective training of assessors. The FATF will expand its members’ obligations to provide evaluators for mutual evaluations, follow-up assessments and the International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) process in order to implement the mutual evaluation round as planned. The fifth round is scheduled to begin in 2025.
The FATF's Vice-Chairmanship changed. The work of outgoing Vice-President Elisa de Anda Madrazo of Mexico will be continued by Jeremy Weil of Canada.
Expert groups of the European Union
The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Interior take part in the European Commission's Expert Group on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (EGMLTF). The Expert Group discusses topical questions related to money laundering and terrorist financing both in Europe and globally, such as implementation of legislation, market occurrences and international cooperation.
EGMLTF provides the Commission with expert help on the preparation of political initiatives, delegated acts and measures and coordinates the measures with the Member States. In the Expert Group, the members exchange information on the implementation and application of regulations that combat money laundering and terrorist financing in the Member States.
The Police Department of the Ministry of the Interior participates in the European Council’s Working Party on Terrorism (TWP) and the Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP) that combats money laundering and terrorist financing. LEWP processes, among other things, legislative proposals and initiatives on improving information exchange between authorities.
The TWP coordinates the Member States’ views on combating terrorism, directs the general anti-terrorist operations of the Council and ensures that they are implemented. In the TWP, the members exchange information on terrorist threats and perform peer reviews on the Member States’ best practices in combating terrorism.
International cooperation of the Financial Intelligence Unit
Examining a notification of a suspicious business transaction often requires international cooperation with another state’s authorities responsible for combating money laundering.
The Financial Intelligence Unit has signed bilateral Memoranda of Understanding with several countries. In addition to operative collaboration, the Unit cooperates closely with many international communities and associations that combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
Several international agreements have been drawn up to fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
International cooperation of the Financial Supervisory Authority
Financial Supervisory Authority’s international cooperation takes place both globally and on the European, Nordic and Baltic level.
European Banking Authority
The European System of Financial Supervision consists of three supervisory authorities: The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). The Financial Supervisory Authority participates in the operation of these three supervisory authorities.
The EU implemented a reform of the European system of financial supervision in 2019. This reform involved giving the EBA a leading role in the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing through EU-level coordination and monitoring.
The EBA is a significant cooperation authority for the Financial Supervisory Authority on the EU level. It is an independent EU institution which works to ensure effective and consistent regulation and supervision across the European banking sector. The EBA can issue binding Technical Standards, Guidelines, Recommendations and Opinions and carry out studies and publish reports.
As a new form of cooperation at the EU level, the EBA established a Standing Committee on anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing (AMLSC). The task of the AMLSC is to coordinate measures that prevent and counter the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering and terrorist financing. AMLSC prepares all draft decisions and guidelines to be taken by the EBA in relation to anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. Among the members of the AMLSC is a representative of the Financial Supervisory Authority.
Supervisory colleges of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism
The Financial Supervisory Authority also cooperates internationally in the supervisory colleges of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML Colleges). The purpose of these supervisory colleges is to enhance the collaboration and information exchange between the supervisors in the EU Member States in cross-border operations that counter money laundering and terrorism. In addition to the supervisors of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism measures, the supervisory colleges can also invite as their members the supervisors of supervised entities and the supervisors of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism measures of countries outside the EU. The supervisory colleges enable the supervisors of different states to agree on common supervision methods, for example.
Nordic and Baltic cooperation
The Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian authorities have formed a working group that cooperates continuously and regularly and exchanges experiences and information on how to prevent money laundering efficiently. The goal is to make the prevention of money laundering more strongly coordinated and achieve permanent long-term cooperation in the Nordic and Baltic area. The Financial Supervisory Authority is an active participant in the working group.
The Tax Administration and international cooperation
The Tax Administration engages actively in international cooperation to detect and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
Led by the Finnish Tax Administration, the Nordic Tax Administrations have created a practical training package for the entire staff of the Tax Administration on the detection and prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. The training consists of four levels, ranging from the fundamentals of combating the shadow economy to in-depth material intended for specialists. The indicators presented in the training sessions are based on the OECD manual on money laundering and detecting terrorist financing. Pertinent parts of the training are offered for other authorities and stakeholders as well.
International instruments associated with anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing
Vienna Convention, i.e. United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic In Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988
Strasbourg Convention, i.e. the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime, 1990.
Palermo Convention, i.e. the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols Thereto, 2000.
Decree on the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols Thereto and the on entry into force of the Act on the Implementation of the Convention Provisions of a Legislative Nature (in Finnish)
UN Security Council Resolution 1373 from 2001 obligates states to freeze the assets of people and corporations that participate in terrorist acts or promote the execution of such acts. In Finland, this is implemented by an administrative freezing system of terrorist funds (Act on the Freezing of Funds with a View to Combating Terrorism).
International communities and associations countering money laundering and terrorist financing
FATF (Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering) is an inter-governmental body operating under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD with the objective of combating money laundering, terrorist financing, and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The Egmont Group is an international cooperation organ for Financial Intelligence Units.
MONEYVAL is an expert group appointed by the European Council.
Europol is the European Union agency for law enforcement Cooperation.
Interpol is an international criminal police organisation.
The Global Programme against Money Laundering, UNGPML is an international anti-money laundering programme operating under the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
FIU.net is an information exchange platform operating under Europol and intended for the Financial Intelligence Units of the EU Member States.
International sanctions associated with countering terrorist financing
The UN maintains a public list of persons and entities subject to sanctions imposed by the Security Council.
The Council of the European Union maintains a separate public list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts and subject to restrictive measures.
See also: US De-risking Strategy
In the context of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, de-risking means the practice of financial institutions refusing to provide banking services to broad categories of clients rather than analysing and managing the risk of clients in a targeted manner. The US Treasury Department's De-risking Strategy examines this phenomenon and its effects. The strategy identifies parties that are most impacted by de-risking and proposes measures to prevent de-risking.