Pakistan has jumped up the Basel AML Index, the Basel Institute’s independent, data-based index of the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) around the world. The country’s risk score rose from 6.45 to 7.66 out of 10, where 10 equals the highest assessed risk of ML/TF.
Basel Institute senior advisor and former board member Hans-Peter Bauer presented at the Baltic AML Forum on 2 October on the topic of Country Risk Assessment - A Difficult Task.
The Forum was opened by the Lithuanian Minister of Finance and attended by 150 participants, who were mainly compliance officers and tech experts from Baltic-region banks, FinTech companies and cryptocurrency ventures.
In 2019, Estonia achieved the lowest risk score out of the 125 countries in the Public Edition of the Basel AML Index, 2.68 out of 10. In fact, Estonia has consistently been among the top performers since 2012, when the Basel AML index was first calculated.
Money laundering risks in Malta have been in the headlines recently.
During 2018 and 2019, the world has faced serious money laundering scandals involving reputable institutions. Surprisingly, abuses of financial systems were uncovered in countries that have low risk scores in the Basel AML Index, like Estonia and Sweden.
Falling rankings in the Basel AML Index, released today, show how many countries’ AML systems are a weak defence against today’s money laundering risks.
Ineffective anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) systems and lack of transparency are leaving the door open to increasingly sophisticated money laundering schemes.
Cryptocurrency regulations are developing fast. Across the world, authorities are reacting to the emerging threat posed by criminals using new payment methods to conceal and launder the proceeds of their crimes.
However, as the application of anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) due diligence requirements becomes stricter and more entities implement preventative measures, criminals are constantly looking elsewhere for potential havens for their illicit activities.
Attractive investment and growth opportunities are often found in countries with high levels of risk. As such, companies need to make sufficient preparations, write Elena Hounta and Selvan Lehmann.
The Panama Papers provided proof to the world of something that had long been suspected: the secrecy havens – jurisdictions in which global financial flows were hidden in ways that not even those entrusted with enforcing the laws and regulations of countries around the world could detect – were being used by those engaged in a host of nefarious activities, from tax evasion to corruption and even to child pornography.