After ‘greylist’ designation, officials concerned for economy

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AMMAN — The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) “greylisted” Jordan, in October, as one of the countries that must work on removing deficiencies in their systems to counter money laundering and terrorist and proliferation financing. Experts say this is a decision that could impact the local economy.اضافة اعلان

However, this announcement was met with the introduction of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Law which was put into force in September, as a measure to deal with the issues placing Jordan on the list holistically.

“The law addresses many deficiencies related to the legislative aspect,” said Senator Talal Al-Shorofat in an interview with Jordan News. 
The senator expects that the law will contribute to removing Jordan from this categorization in the upcoming years. 

“I believe that categorizing Jordan among a ‘grey list’ could leave a significant impact on the investment levels and economic growth,” said Shorofat. 
“This is a sensitive issue, especially for countries which give considerable attention to this matter,” he said. 

The head of The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Unit, Samia Abu Sharif, said, in remarks to Jordan News, that she expects that financial institutions in various countries will be required to apply strict measures to limit the degree of risk of business interactions with people and organizations in the Kingdom.

“Some financial institutions may resort to terminating relations with businesses due to the high cost of these measures,” said Abu Sharif.

The new measures could include obtaining additional information about the client, updating their data more periodically, providing proof of the source of the client’s funds, clarifying the reasons for carrying out the operations, and even obtaining the approval of the higher management when starting or continuing the functions with the client. 

She added that: “It is also expected that some countries, international institutions, and donors will request the Kingdom to work on improving its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing system, and to even put this within the requirements for providing aid and grants.” 

Abu Sharif pointed out that: “The Kingdom is concerned with the existence of an effective system for countering money laundering, terrorist and proliferation financing; because it (the Kingdom) is highly convinced of the importance of this matter to its national security, and the regional and global role it plays in this regard.” 

“The chairman of the National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism issued a letter of political commitment in this regard,” she said.

Various specialized committees have been formed to follow up on the implementation of the plan set by the Financial Action Group to ensure that Jordan achieves the required progress in the necessary time frame.
The evaluation process that placed Jordan on the “grey list” was carried out by the Middle East and North African Financial Action Task Force and in accordance with the FATF methodology. 

Abu Sharif indicated that the evaluation process included two aspects; the first one is an evaluation of the technical compliance and measures how the Kingdom’s legislation adheres to the FATF recommendations. 

The second is measuring the effectiveness of how the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Terrorist Financing system achieves the objectives of the FATF standards in practice and identifies the weaknesses related to the system and the necessary measures that need to be taken to improve its effectiveness. 

Saeed Hattar, who is a businessman and an investor, said to Jordan News that “despite categorizing Jordan in a ‘grey list,’ I still believe, and always will, that we live in a safe country that has been following specific high measures since too long to counter money laundering, terrorist and proliferation financing. 

He added that: “As a businessman and an investor, I am involved in banking transactions, and I can say that the transaction occurs in an extremely safe way with  very high-security protocols.” 

“I hope that in the upcoming years Jordan will be removed from this categorization, especially because governmental entities have been working hard on addressing all the deficiencies that might be the reason behind adding Jordan to this list,” he said. 

It is worth mentioning that The Financial Action Group is an intergovernmental entity that studies the techniques and trends of money laundering and terrorist financing, in addition to preparing and developing policies related to combating money laundering and countering terrorist financing locally and internationally.
Since it was founded in Paris in 1989, the group has focused its efforts on adopting and implementing measures that aim to counter the exploitation of the financial system.

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