G20 leaders have repeated their commitment to following anti-money laundering policy measures recommended by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

At a summit hosted in Riyadh by the Saudi presidency, the G20 leaders issued a declaration stating that they supported the Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Counter-Terrorist Financing (CFT) policy responses detailed in FATF’s paper on COVID-19.

The declaration reaffirmed the G20’s support for FATF as the global standard-setting body for preventing and combating money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing. It followed FATF reminding G20 leaders that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to criminals and corrupt politicians “misappropriating funds and misusing government contracts for personal gain.”

FATF has said the vast majority of countries are failing to implement the necessary measures.

The FATF has called for:

  • Greater investment in law enforcement in order to ensure that adequate resources are available to follow the flow of corrupt money.
  • Countries to ensure that up-to-date and accurate beneficial ownership information is rapidly available to authorities, so that the use of anonymous shell companies to launder funds can be stopped.
  • Increased oversight of the non-financial sectors, with those with links to the financial system – such as lawyers, accountants and company service providers – being “inside the regulatory tent’’ so law enforcement agencies can obtain relevant information to build cases.

The renewed commitment to the FATF by G20 leaders is of the upmost importance. Establishing coherent global policies, such as those put forward by FATF, will be vital in working towards tackling money laundering. It will be interesting to see whether the pledge comes to any sort of fruition in the near future.