Thursday 29 September 2016

Ireland to be reviewed on anti-money laundering and terrorism

Published 21/01/2016 | 02:30

The Central Bank headquarters in Dublin
The Central Bank headquarters in Dublin

Ireland will face an international peer review by the end of the year on how well it is tackling the threat of anti-money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

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A national steering committee, chaired by the Department of Finance and including the Central Bank, is preparing for the assessment.

The assessment will be carried out by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental body.

Set up in 1989, the organisation leads the international fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Domhnall Cullinan, the head of the Central Bank's anti-money laundering division, said the assessment will look at how effective Ireland is at stamping out the issue.

"In other words, how well does the country, including supervisors and industry, understand the money-laundering and terrorist finance risk and how effective are the steps that have been taken to prevent or mitigate those risks," he said.

Mr Cullinan was speaking at the launch of the Irish chapter of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists.

The onsite visit by the assessment team is due to take place in November.

"It's important to stress that the focus of the assessment will not only be government agencies and departments such as the Central Bank, but also on industry.

"The assessors will want to meet financial institutions and discuss measures they have in place," Mr Cullinan added.

"Given the increased focus on the outcome of FATF reviews by other member states, international organisations such as the IMF, ratings agencies and international investors, it is in all our interests to ensure that we receive as positive a review as possible."

The last mutual evaluation review of Ireland was carried out by the FATF in 2006 and Ireland received partially compliant ratings for certain core and key recommendations and was placed into the regular follow-up process.

The country was taken out of this is 2013 after significant improvement had taken place.

The Central Bank recently warned that the Irish funds industry needs to do more to tackle the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing.

In November, Dame Street published a report following a number of on-site inspections carried out by officials over the course of last year, and off-site requests for information.

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