This week, Moscow welcomed the resignation of the scandal-ridden UK Prime Minister while Ukraine thanked him for his support; South Africa’s AML and CFT framework was confronted with the daunting challenge of avoiding the dreaded FATF grey list; and Pakistan’s ex-Prime Minister and cricket captain faced being called out on money laundering charges using diamonds.
Find out more on these stories below.
Kremlin celebrates controversial UK PM Johnson’s resignation, as Ukraine expresses “sadness” to see him go
Embattled UK PM Boris Johnson announced on 7 July 2022 that he would quit office following a flood of resignations by members of his party in the preceding two days. His tumultuous term came to an end following the latest in a flood of scandals- this time concerning sexual misconduct allegations against the Deputy Chief Whip- and a series of by-election reversals.
Influential Russians were quick to express their schadenfreude, with President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stating that “Johnson really doesn’t like Russia, we don’t like him either.” The more zealous foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, vividly stated that “Russia cannot be destroyed. You can break your teeth on it- and then choke on them.”
In sharp contrast to Russian sentiments, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his “sincere gratitude” to Johnson for his support during the ongoing invasion of the country by Russia since February 2022, adding that Ukraine had “no doubt that Great Britain's support will be preserved, but [Johnson’s] personal leadership and charisma made it special."
Johnson enthusiastically promised sanctions against Moscow at the time of the invasion, although a House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report published in June 2022 was less confident, finding that “despite the Government’s threats to impose swingeing sanctions against Russia, the UK’s sanctions regime was found to be underprepared and under-resourced.”
Read more on this story at the BBC.
South African Treasury warns that AML and CFT weaknesses could lead to FATF grey listing for the country
South Africa’s National Treasury was blunt in its appraisal of the challenges the country’s anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML and CFT) regime must overcome to avoid being placed on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list by February 2023.
The National Treasury this week published a financial sector update, which warned that “South Africa needs to make significant progress in addressing these weaknesses by October 2022 to avoid being listed as a jurisdiction under increased monitoring (the “grey list”) by the FATF.”
The stern warning followed a FATF mutual evaluation of South Africa’s regime in October 2021, which found that half of the country’s relevant AML and CFT legislation requirements were not fully compliant and its implementation of relevant legislation was inadequate across all 11 measured indicators.
Grey-listed countries are deemed to be a threat to the security of the global banking system, so being demoted to the grey list would deal an economic and reputational blow to the country. South Africa would additionally join Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Burkina Faso, Albania, Yemen, Pakistan, and Syria as requiring increased monitoring and scrutiny by the international financial crime watchdog.
South Africa has until the end of October 2022 to make sufficient headway on its AML and CFT framework if it is to avoid the grey list.
Read more on this story at Daily Maverick.
Pakistani authorities accuse ex-PM and cricketer Imran Khan and others of money laundering via diamonds
The Home Minister of the Punjab province in Pakistan, Atta Tarar, was speaking at a press conference in Lahore on Sunday 3 July 2022 when he accused the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party chairman, ex-PM of Pakistan and former national cricket captain, Imran Khan, of running a money laundering operation through trading in diamonds. Also accused were Khan’s wife and their friends Farah Gogi and Ahsan Jameel Gujjar, who are also a married couple.
Tarar claimed that, with the aid of his wife and Gogi, Khan led a syndicate which smuggled diamonds abroad in “small packets” for illegal sale on foreign black markets. Tarar additionally alleged that Gogi benefitted from a corrupt land deal for a 10-acre plot in the Faisalabad Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which was illicitly allocated to her for Rs83m when it was in fact worth RS600m.
Tarar also expressed his determination to see Gogi and Gujjar, who were abroad at the time of the press conference, return home to answer these charges, and said that he would send a red notice request to Interpol. If granted, this notice could see the couple arrested and extradited back to Pakistan.
Read more on this story at MM News.
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