Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Iran: The world’s top ranking money-laundering risk



After ranking as the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism, the Islamic Republic has now been given the dubious title of the world’s top money laundering risk.

The Islamic Republic is the world’s top global money laundering threat, while fighting money laundering remains weak in most countries, this according to Basel Institute on Governance’s 2016 Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Index released last week.

More countries have improved their rating since last year, but the effectiveness in fighting money laundering remains weak, the AML Index found.
The top 10 countries ranked by the AML Index as the highest risk are Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Cambodia, Mozambique, Uganda, Swaziland and Myanmar.

Finland is the lowest risk country, followed by Lithuania and Estonia. Israel ranked at 114.

The greatest improvements since 2015 have been made by Kuwait, Ecuador Seychelles and Albania.

The countries that decreased their scores in 2016 most prominently are Vanuatu, Chile, Sri Lanka, Slovenia, China, Estonia, Serbia and Turkey.

In the Middle East, besides Iran, Lebanon and Algeria are considered as highest risk.

OECD countries including those with large financial centres such as Luxembourg, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, US, France and UK have not demonstrated much progress to improve their rating.

The 2016 AML Index found that 59 out of 149 assessed countries have increased their money laundering risk scores since last year. While 79 countries improved their ratings, the global average score of money laundering and terrorism financing risk slightly deteriorated.

Although a majority of countries legally comply with current countering terrorism financing (CTF) standards, they fall short in the effective implementation and enforcement of these laws.

“Effectively combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism require a high degree of transparency and efficient law enforcement,” The Basel Institute said in a statement.

The Index’s publication comes a month after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global anti-money laundering watchdog, suspended financial countermeasures against Iran for one year, despite concerns that the Islamic Republic uses its financial sector to protect criminal enterprises and fund terrorist activity.