Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Taiwan’s anti-money-laundering status to rise

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Taiwan will soon officially rise to the top category of a global anti-money-laundering index after Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) members approved a previous peer review, Taiwan’s Anti-Money Laundering Office said on Sunday.

The group issued a report in late June that placed Taiwan on the “regular follow-up” list following a third round of peer assessment by group members this year, the office said in a statement.

That assessment was approved at the APG’s 22nd annual meeting from Aug. 18 to Friday last week in Canberra, the office said in the statement.

The change should occur in about six weeks, after the APG finalizes the decision, the office said.

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The approval should officially put Taiwan in the most-favorable “regular follow-up” category, the office said.

The other categories from highest to lowest are: “enhanced follow-up,” “transitional follow-up” and “non-cooperation.”

Related: APG to issue draft anti-money laundering report on Taiwan

The nation is to join Macau, Indonesia, Hong Kong and the Cook Islands in the top rank for efforts to prevent money laundering out of 41 APG members, reflecting government efforts in this area, the office said.

The APG uses a “mutual evaluation,” or peer review, to assess the degree to which its members comply with international standards in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

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The office has previously said that Taiwan made the “regular follow-up” list because it had secured seven “substantial” ratings out of 11 factors used to measure a country’s effectiveness in fighting money laundering and terrorist financing.

Each factor is rated for “high,” “substantial,” “moderate” or “low” effectiveness.

Taiwan joined the APG in 1997 as one of its founding members under the name “Chinese Taipei.”

Related: Taiwan: Anti-money laundering acts amended to regulate virtual currencies

It was placed on the “regular follow-up” list in 2007, requiring it to report back two years after the evaluation.

However, Taiwan was demoted in 2011 to “enhanced follow-up,” requiring it to report back one year after the evaluation.

It was then placed on the “transitional follow-up list” in 2014 after making some improvements and was removed from that list on July 20, 2017.

If a member country lands on the lowest-tier “non-cooperation” list, it could face sanctions that would seriously hurt the reputation of its financial sector and put it at a major disadvantage as it engages in international finance, the APG has said.

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