Great are the expectations of Morocco

It is in the middle of next week that the Experts of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will visit Morocco, as agreed at the Group’s October 2022 plenary. Indeed, they will be on a mission to assess the measures put in place by the Kingdom, to verify the extent to which FATF recommendations are applied.

For Morocco, expectations are high regarding this field visit, scheduled between January 16 and 20, 2023. And if any of the Moroccan experts present these FATF procedures, as being a mere formality, in view of Morocco’s amply implemented its action plan to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism as well as other threats linked to the integrity of the international financial system, with a view to the Kingdom’s exit from FATF gray list, however this is not a foregone conclusion. A visit that promises to be decisive with regard to loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), suspended at the end of the Group’s expert assessment investigation.

Admittedly, Morocco and particularly the National Financial Intelligence Authority (ANRF), has prepared accordingly by finalizing the legislative framework as well as other measures in accordance with international standards. Also, pending verification of the effectiveness of their applications during this field visit by FATF experts, it is a bit of a “double or nothing” thing to expect if we can say Therefore.

On the one hand, it goes without saying that Morocco has respected its commitments to get out of the gray list and casually this decisive field visit by the FATF evaluators is a good omen for it no longer being part of it. .

This is, indeed, only to determine whether or not the axes of the action plan agreed between the Kingdom and the FATF have been implemented. The Kingdom having affirmed to have completed the implementation of its action plan, it therefore only remains for the FATF experts to ” verify that the work persisted in this spirit through their field visit and give their conclusion ». Hence a certain optimism to be removed from the gray list of the FATF during the plenary next February.

Moreover, the ANRF sees this step in a good light when it declared after the October plenary session that ” in accordance with the regulatory procedures approved by the FATF, the decision to proceed with the field visit reflects the conviction that Morocco has respected all the axes included in the action plan in question”. This would be logical in view of the efforts made by Morocco to comply with the recommendations as agreed with the FATF. For the Kingdom, this would portend a better tomorrow, in which case and in view of the stakes.

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 on new lines of financing. Likewise, ” this should eventually lead to significant transactions in the Kingdom by investors around the world”underlined Abdellatif Jouahri, Wali of Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM) during a press conference at the end of the last quarterly meeting of the past financial year.

This recognition would prevent the Kingdom from returning to square one with registration or “re-registration” on the EU’s gray list with harmful consequences ranging from financing, to the refusal of transfer operations, as stipulated by the very intransigent European law to money laundering.

As regards the conduct of the field visit, the committee of evaluators will meet several officials responsible for the implementation of the Moroccan action plan (central authorities in charge of international cooperation, the ANRF, ministries of finance, the Interior, Justice, Foreign Affairs, the Superior Council of the Judiciary), but also those of the subject sectors.

On the other hand, the evaluators will meet the authorities in connection with the penal, the persons in charge of the financier itself, as well as the “designated non-financial businesses and professions and others” like professional organizations (lawyers, accountants, notaries finally those to go up, legal constructions)…

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