Unless you have been on retreat in an ashram or stuck in the fog in Guernsey, you will know that the Financial Action Task Force has recently issued a revised version of its 40+9 Recommendations. For a start, it’s now back to the much more pleasing and rounded 40 Recs, as the nine special ones on terrorist financing have been brought into the fold. But more important updates have been made, and I am feeling pretty smuggy-four-drawers here as I guessed (and indeed wished for) some of them.
For a start, tax crimes are now required to be included as predicate offences for money laundering. Quite right too: I have no fondness for tax evaders, and quite why their crime should be seen as more acceptable and less productive of dirty money than, say, fraud or corruption is beyond me. Domestic PEPs are now included: as I have long thought should be the case, all PEPs should be identified, and then enhanced due diligence applied according to risk, shading from the PEP-iest of PEPs (like so many of our old friends) to the least risky but still PEP-ish.
Sadly, the issue of beneficial ownership is still a bit of a dog’s dinner – much more will doubtless be written about this, but I don’t think the FATF has helped by introducing a new concept of “senior managing official”. And it has still provided a get-out clause that will be abused by many when it says; “Where no natural person is identified [as beneficial owner], financial institutions should identify and take reasonable measures to verify the identity of the relevant natural person who holds the position of senior managing official”. Is it just me, or does “senior managing official” sound less demanding (and easier to fudge) than “controlling mind and interest”?