The FATF in January in Morocco, towards an exit from the "grey list"?

The Kingdom is preparing to receive experts from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This visit ground scheduled between January 18 and 20, 2023, takes place as an assessment mission of the measures put in place by Morocco as agreed during the October 2022 plenary of the group.

Indeed, the FATF had kept the Kingdom on its gray list, pending the field visit of its experts to verify the effectiveness and application of the measures put in place by Rabat and which had been presented to the FATF.

Morocco, it will be recalled, had been placed under enhanced surveillance (grey list), which means that the country was committed to quickly resolving the strategic shortcomings identified (fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation, etc.) within the agreed deadlines.

The FATF indicated that in February 2021, Morocco had expressed political commitments, in order to strengthen the mechanism to combat money laundering, the financing of terrorism and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The Kingdom had completed the implementation of its action plan, “however, it was necessary to verify that the work persisted in this spirit“, had it been specified. Also, the FATF had kept Morocco among the countries on the gray list, pending.

However, these three days will be decisive for the country. If the evaluators’ report is conclusive, the Kingdom should be removed from the FATF gray list during the plenary next February. Also, Morocco prepared accordingly for the field visit of FATF experts by finalizing in particular the legislative framework as well as other measures in accordance with international standards.

In this regard, the Kingdom insists on increased supervision and the strengthening of the compliance control framework with financial institutions, the sharing of risk management results, as well as the evaluation and diversification of suspicious transaction reports.

Moreover, according to the National Financial Intelligence Authority (ANRF), “in accordance with the regulatory procedures approved by the FATF, the decision to proceed with the on-site visit reflects the conviction that Morocco has respected all the axes included in the action plan in question“.

This would presage a better tomorrow in which case and in view of the issues. Because, it should be specified, no longer appearing on the FATF gray list will be synonymous with international recognition, which would allow the start of discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on new lines of financing.

Likewise, “this should eventually lead to large transactions in the Kingdom by investors around the world», underlines Abdellatif Jouahri, Wali of Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM).

In addition, it would avoid registration or “re-registration” on the EU gray list with harmful consequences ranging from financing, to the refusal of transfer operations, according to a truly intransigent European law against money laundering.

According to the FATF spokesperson, the exchange of information with the Moroccan authorities is fruitful, and the final result should depend to a large extent on the integrity of the process and the discussions between the evaluation team and the agencies and relevant government institutions.

The ANRF affirms that all the institutions involved, which are under the leadership of Morocco, are coordinated and organized in such a way that the FATF experts can carry out the relevant examinations in the best possible conditions. The objective of leaving the gray list is one of the priorities of the Kingdom because of its importance economically as well as in financial exchanges with the rest of the world.

This is because donors are attentive and compliance with FATF standards is a dominant paradigm for all types of financing, whether relating to the institution or to the private sector. On the other hand, to remain on the list would be a disaster for the rest of us, because if the FATF disagrees on a single point, it would mean having to wait for the next plenary in 2024, which would be a blow hence, this vital consideration the stay in January of FATF experts in Morocco, whose exchanges with the Moroccan authorities are regular and should continue even beyond their visit.

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