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Ukraine concerned over Russia’s blackmailing of FATF members ahead of the watchdog’s plenary in June – Minister of Finance of Ukraine Sergii Marchenko

The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine expresses great concern over russia’s reported attempts to blackmail Financial Action Task Force (FATF) member states ahead of the FATF Paris plenary on June 19-23. Russia is trying to exert political pressure over its commercial partners to avoid being blacklisted, demanding that they “vocally” oppose any of Ukraine’s applications or FATF decisions to include Russia on its black or grey lists.

“Russia’s bullying behaviour is concerning but unsurprising. When faced with hard evidence of noncompliance with the FATF standards, russia turned to blackmailing and political pressure. This is yet another example of russia’s gross violation of the commitment to international cooperation and mutual respect upon which FATF members have agreed to implement and support the FATF Standards,” Finance Minister Sergii Marchenko said.

FATF blacklisting would increase universal compliance and enhance due diligence that will allow for more effective countering of money laundering and terrorism financing risks russia poses to the global financial system.

Russia has been violating FATF’s most important recommendations, presenting a serious risk to global financial security. Russia creates obstacles to international cooperation in preventing money laundering and fighting financial crime. It cooperates with Iran and North Korea – both under the UN sanctions and on the FATF blacklist. Russia fosters terrorist organisations across the globe and turns to nuclear terrorism. It also fails to counter money laundering, organised crime and corruption.

Since FATF’s decision to suspend russia’s membership in February, the risks russia poses to global financial security have only grown, including increased malicious cyber activities, intensified military and financial cooperation with UN-sanctioned states, deployment of terrorist organisations in Ukraine and Africa, intensified effort to circumvent sanctions and repeated actions which threaten the world with a nuclear disaster.

“We strongly believe in the integrity of the international community and are convinced that FATF member states will do what’s right to protect themselves and the global financial system from russia’s malicious influence and the risks of money laundering and terrorism financing, no matter what dirty tactics russia tries to employ,” the Minister added.

Background information for editors:

The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, the Financial Monitoring Service of Ukraine and the Parliament of Ukraine have worked from the start of the full-scale invasion to highlight russia’s non-compliance with FATF standards and risks for the international financial system emanating from russia. Ukraine has made several submissions ahead of the FATF Plenaries in June and October 2022, as well as before the February 2023 plenary. These efforts have resulted in FATF escalating the implementation of restrictive measures against Russia.

In February 2023, in light of Russia’ continued reported arms trade with United Nations-sanctioned jurisdictions and Russia’s malicious cyber activity, FATF announced its decision to suspend Russia’s membership. FATF recognised Russia’s actions were unacceptable and ran counter to the organisation’s mandate and core principles.