Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, Ministry of Justice director general Adv. Ami Palmor, and Dr. Shlomit Wagman-Ratner, head of the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority, announced this morning that Israel had been admitted as a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the most prestigious international organization combating money laundering and terror financing.
A report by FATF found that Israel was among the leading countries in the fight against money laundering and terror financing, on a par with countries like Britain and the US. Following the findings of the report, the product of a comprehensive audit by FATF in Israel over the past year, the organization decided on admitting Israel to its ranks. The organization gives Israel its highest effectiveness rating ('High') in three categories: financial intelligence; confiscation; and terror financing investigation and prosecution.
Admission to FATF will enable Israel to take an active part in shaping global policy on the international campaign against money laundering and terror financing, improve the country's international standing, improve its financial sector's ability to act in the global arena, contribute to strengthening the economy, and position Israel as an attractive investment destination. It will also mean better cooperation between Israel and other countries on the financial intelligence and legal fronts.
Shaked said that admission to FATF was a major achievement. "This is a national achievement for Israel on the diplomatic level, contributing to Israel's ability to fight terror financing in the international arena, and it strengthens Israel's economy.
"We are the first country that has succeeded in being accepted by the organization at the first time of asking. We are ranked third for effectiveness of the money laundering and terror financing prevention regime after the US and Britain. The Ministry of Justice has been working on this matter for three years."
Palmor pointed out that Israel had been accepted to FATF after a rapid legislative process and after meeting the timetable. "Thanks to the budgeting process and the restructuring of the Money Laundering Authority, we have reached the result we reached today. Israel's ability to be at the small global table in the fight against terror financing is important. From today, we will act against Iran and against terrorist organizations from the top table and will full force."
Wagman-Ratner said that the move would encourage legitimate investment in Israel and attract "white" money. "Israel will be able to participate in setting the international rules in the war on terror," she added. "This has been a long process that started in 2000, when Israel was blacklisted and there was no anti-money laundering law."
FATF President Marshall Billingslea said “I congratulate Israel on becoming an FATF member. Israel has undergone a rigorous assessment of its measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. During this demanding process, the country demonstrated its commitment to protect the integrity of the financial system. Israel has established a robust anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing framework that is achieving good results in identifying and responding to the risks the country is facing.
"As a member of the FATF, the country’s experience and perspective will make a valuable contribution to our work to prevent the misuse of the financial system.”
FATF has just 35 member countries, most of them members of the G20 (Group of Twenty) international forum.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 10, 2018
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