Russia Suspended From Global Financial Intelligence Group

Russia has been suspended from the Egmont Group of financial intelligence units.

(Bloomberg) — Russia has been suspended from the Egmont Group of financial intelligence units.

The group brings together more than 160 intelligence units from around the world, including the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, to cooperate and share information on money laundering, terrorist financing and other related crimes. The suspension that was agreed upon on Wednesday means Russia’s access to that information will be restricted, according to people familiar with the matter. 

The Egmont Group also helps to implement anti-money laundering policies set out by the Financial Action Task Force, the Paris-based watchdog that sets global standards to counter dirty money, as well as the United Nations Security Council and the Group-of-20 finance ministers. Russia was suspended from FATF following its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

The Egmont Group’s secretariat confirmed the suspension in a statement.

The Kremlin has lobbied extensively to retain its Egmont Group membership and to block efforts to apply further sanctions against Russia at the FATF, Bloomberg previously reported. Those efforts have included trying to enlist China’s help, warning friends like India about the consequences of financial isolation on bilateral trade ties and attempts to join a regional anti-dirty money body in Africa.

Ahead of a FATF plenary meeting scheduled for next week, Ukraine and its allies are pushing for actions that go beyond the suspension, such as getting Russia added to the organization’s black or gray lists. 

The government in Kyiv argues that since Russia’s suspension, Moscow has continued to breach FATF standards, including by importing weapons from Iran and North Korea and by openly admitting that it provided state funding for the Wagner mercenary group.

North Korea, Iran and Myanmar are the only countries designated on the FATF’s “black list.” That category obliges member states as well as banks, investment houses and payment-processing companies to conduct enhanced due diligence, and in the most serious cases take counter-measures to protect the international financial system.

Another 26 countries are on the “gray list” as of June this year, including Turkey, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. A report by the International Monetary Fund in 2021 found that this penalty, which involves closer monitoring requirements, results in a “large and statistically significant reduction in capital inflows.”

–With assistance from Piotr Skolimowski.

(Updates with statement from the Egmont Group in the fourth paragraph)

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