G20 Leaders Agree to Follow FATF’s Anti-Money Laundering Measures

Leaders of the G20 reiterated their commitment to following anti-money laundering policy measures recommended by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which stressed their importance amidst the COVID-19 pandemic at a summit over the weekend hosted by the Saudi presidency. 

G20 Riyadh summitDigital G20 summit hosted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Photo: G20)“We support the Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Counter-Terrorist Financing (CFT) policy responses detailed in FATF’s paper on COVID-19, and reaffirm our support for the FATF, as the global standard-setting body for preventing and combating money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing,” a G20 leaders’ declaration published on Sunday stated.  

The anti-money laundering authority reminded G20 leaders in a prepared written statement that as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, criminals and corrupt politicians have been “misappropriating funds and misusing government contracts for personal gain.” 

“The hard truth is that, despite some successes, the vast majority of countries are failing to implement the necessary measures,” the FATF said, saying that it is time for G20 countries to show leadership by “going beyond rhetoric, and tackling persistent problems.”

Specifically, it urged leaders to increase investments to law enforcement so that they have the resources to follow corrupt money flows, provide up-to-date and accurate beneficial ownership information so that shell companies can no longer launder funds anonymously.  

Non-financial sectors – lawyers, accountants and company service providers – which the FATF refers to as the “gatekeepers to the financial system” must also be closely monitored, they added.

“Money laundering fuels crime and terrorism... It undermines just competition, hampers growth, deepens inequality, and erodes confidence in the integrity of the global financial system,” FATF president Marcus Pleyer said to world leaders at the summit.

“Taking the profits out of these crimes will protect people, the environment and the economy,” he added, stressing that the G20 “must start leading by example and act now to stop money laundering.”