FATF warns Ireland over lack of AML Compliance prosecutions

Good AML Compliance structures, but few trials or convictions in Ireland

Nations that have high standards for AML Compliance but don’t fully enforce them run the risk of being downgraded to high risk or uncooperative jurisdictions. Ireland is running that risk, according to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

FATF in its Mutual Evaluation of Ireland for 2017 reviewed its 2012 recommendations to the nation and while complimentary of its AML structures and knowledge, FATF warned about the lack of prosecution of AML violations.

“Ireland has a strong legislative framework for pursuing money laundering; however, this has not translated to results at the trial stage,” according to the FATF executive summary. “This may reflect reluctance on behalf of prosecutors to test the AML laws or a conservative approach by the judiciary which in turn acts as a disincentive to investigate complex money laundering cases.”

FATF also identified as a weakness Ireland’s apparent lack of skill or will in identifying, investigating, and prosecuting “a wide range of money laundering activity including…foreign predicate offenses and third-party money laundering.”

PWC, in a 2016 survey focusing on economic crime in Ireland, reported that Ireland along with most of Western Europe is struggling to keep pace with change in AML/CTF requirements and expectations. Complying with AML Compliance requirements from multiple international jurisdictions also proves to be an ongoing challenge, according to those surveyed.

FATF stressed the urgency of outstanding AML in Ireland due to its “ position as a regional and international financial center” and urged “more analysis and action by authorities of complex, professionally-enabled money laundering schemes.”

In addition to highlighting concerns, the FATF report also praised Ireland for its emphasis on a Risk-based Approach to preventing money laundering and terror financing. Its national coordination on AML/CTF efforts and its international cooperation were also strong points.

In its self-analysis, Ireland identified “its main money laundering/terror financing threats as organized crime groups and former local paramilitary groups whose activities relate to drug trafficking, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, fuel laundering, and fraud (including VAT fraud).”


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