By Mara Vigevani/TPS
Israel has become the 38th full member of The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global inter-governmental body that combats money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system, Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked announced Monday.
Shaked said the access of the State of Israel as a full member of FATF will influence policy against regional enemies, money laundering and terror financing.
“The accession of the State of Israel as a full member of FATF is a strategic international achievement. In terms of the scale of the achievement, it is parallel to our joining of the OECD,” Shaked said. “Being member of the organization places the State of Israel in line with a limited number of countries, most of them the G20 countries, which lead the global fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism and set international standards, enabling us to take an active role in shaping global policy in the fields of combating terrorism financing and money laundering.”
Shaked also said that being part of FATF will strengthen Israel’s economy and improve cooperation between Israel and other countries on the financial intelligence and legal fronts.
“Joining the organization also significantly advances the interests of the Israeli economy – it will improve the ability of our financial sector to operate in the international economic arena, will help the economy and the financial and business sectors, will position Israel as a safe and attractive place for investments and will improve cooperation between Israel and other countries on the economic level,” she said.
Shaked added that Israel is the first country that has succeeded in being accepted by the organization at the first time of asking.
“The State of Israel is at the forefront of countries committed to the global fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism and is a source of knowledge and leading expertise. In a short time the State of Israel has reached a place of world leadership – we are the first country to succeed in joining the organization in the first and third place in the world in terms of effectiveness of the regime, immediately after the United States and England.”
Israel became an observer to the FATF in February 2016. Until then it had already been closely involved in the work of the FATF through its participation in the FATF-style regional body MONEYVAL.
FATF President Billingslea applauded Israel new membership to the organization:
“I congratulate Israel on becoming a FATF member,” Billingslea said in a statement.
“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.”
The decision to include Israel as a member follows the publication of a report by the FATF which found that Israel is among the leading countries in the fight against money laundering and terror financing.
“Due to its geographic location, Israel faces a particularly high terrorist financing risk from sources outside Israel, while fraud, tax offences, organized crime, public sector corruption and the use of cash are among the sources of money laundering risk for the country. Israel has successfully identified and understood these risks, which is reflected in the country’s anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CFT) policies and activities,” according to the assessment.