FATF today published its “tougher” global beneficial ownership standards to assist countries and financial institutions to prevent shell companies being safe havens for illicit proceeds.
The task force’s Recommendation 24 requires countries to ensure that competent authorities have access to adequate, accurate and up-to-date information on the true owners of companies.
The Paris-based body has also updated the guidance that will help countries implement the revised Recommendation 24.
The guidance explains types and sources of relevant information, and mechanism and sources to obtain such information.
This includes the multi-pronged approach, which consists of combining information from, among others, companies themselves, public authorities in a registry, or alternative mechanism if it ensures rapid and efficient access to beneficial ownership information.
FATF’s mutual evaluations demonstrated that countries using a multi-pronged approach were more effective in preventing the misuse of legal persons for criminal purposes and ensuring transparency of beneficial ownership than countries using a single approach.
“The revisions to the Standard will help prevent the organised criminal gangs, the corrupt and sanctions evaders from using anonymous shell companies and other businesses to hide their dirty money and illicit activities,” the group said.
The guidance is set to help countries identify, design and implement appropriate measures in line with the revised Recommendation 24 to ensure that beneficial ownership information is held by a public authority or body functioning as a beneficial ownership registry, or an alternative mechanism that enables efficient access to the information.
“The guidance will also help countries assess and mitigate the money laundering and terrorist financing risks associated with foreign companies to which their countries are exposed,” said FATF.
The agency said this guidance is the result of several months of intense consultations with external stakeholders and the private sector.
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