Press Release / / 10.21.22

FATF Plenary Results in Black Listing for Myanmar, Grey Listing for DR Congo; Expert Commentary Available

Myanmar Placed on Black List, DR Congo Grey Listed, as Financial Action Task Force Concludes Plenary

Illicit Finance Experts at The Sentry Offer Comment and Analysis

October 21, 2022 (Washington DC) – The first Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary under Singaporean Presidency concluded today with several countries identified as having weak frameworks to combat money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/CFT). Notably, Myanmar was elevated as a High-Risk Jurisdiction Subject to a Call for Action, also known as the “black list,” while the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was identified as a Jurisdiction Under Increased Monitoring, also known as the “grey list.”

The Sentry has played an active role in international efforts to counter corruption and money laundering linked to war and human rights abuse, providing in-depth investigative reports and actionable policy recommendations. The Sentry’s experts on kleptocracy and illicit finance policy are available today for comment and analysis.

Justyna Gudzowska, Director of Illicit Finance Policy at The Sentry, said: “Since the junta attempted to take over the country through its coup in February 2021, there has been little to no effort to improve AML/CFT deficiencies identified in Myanmar’s 2018 mutual evaluation report, as the junta focused its efforts on surveillance and repression rather than on protecting the integrity of the financial system. As such, the FATF had no choice but to add it to its so-called black list.  As a result of the black-listing, Myanmar risks losing further access to the formal international financial system as financial institutions determine whether doing business with Myanmar sits outside of a firm’s risk appetite.  This could lead to further de-risking and have serious consequences on the economic, social, security, and humanitarian contexts. Although it is critical for financial institutions to carry out enhanced due diligence and monitoring of payments to identify suspicious activity linked to Myanmar, an effort should be made to avoid wholesale de-risking and ensure that legitimate economic resources and humanitarian funding continue to flow into the country.”  

Floribert Anzuluni, Senior Advisor to The Sentry, said: “Despite the firm and unequivocal commitments of President Tshisekedi, after he came to power in 2019, to fight money laundering, the financing of terrorism, and corruption, the DRC has made little progress in that regard, as today’s grey-listing of the DRC by the FATF demonstrates. This development is not surprising in light of the serious revelations made in numerous reports published by The Sentry and other independent organizations.  Nevertheless, The Sentry welcomes the DRC government’s high-level political commitment to work with the FATF to strengthen the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime and to fulfill its action plan within the specified timelines.  In the meantime, the international community, including global financial institutions, should continue pressing the DRC to correct the strategic deficiencies identified in its mutual evaluation report, pass the necessary AML/CFT laws, and continue to strengthen regulatory structures such the financial intelligence unit (CENAREF).”

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About The Sentry

(Short descriptor for press use: “The Sentry, an investigative organization that tracks corruption”)

The Sentry is an investigative and policy organization that seeks to disable multinational predatory networks that benefit from violent conflict, repression, and kleptocracy. Pull back the curtain on wars, mass atrocities, and other human rights abuses, and you’ll find grand corruption and unchecked greed. These tragedies persist because the perpetrators rarely face meaningful consequences. The Sentry aims to alter the warped incentive structures that continually undermine peace and good governance. Our investigations follow the money as it is laundered from war zones to financial centers around the world. We provide evidence and strategies for governments, banks, and law enforcement to hold the perpetrators and enablers of violence and corruption to account. These efforts provide new leverage for human rights, peace, and anti-corruption efforts.