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UK FCA releases high risk AML list

Thursday 7 August 2014
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has made public the list of the 95 countries it perceives as presenting high money laundering risks. 
The UK FCA says it categorise the high risk countries in accordance with the current level of risk they pose to the FCA’s financial crime objectives linked to tackling money laundering, sanctions systems and controls, terrorist financing, and bribery and corruption. The assessment also considers the size of a country’s economy (GDP) or financial markets.
Countries are assessed using publicly available information and indices including HM Treasury Sanctions, Financial Action Taskforce high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions, MoneyVal evaluations, Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Human Rights Report, the UK Government’s Overseas Business Risk webpages and public information about the quality of regulation in each country. This list will be periodically reviewed.

The FCA says that during supervisory visits to assess anti-money laundering (AML) controls, they tend to focus on business relationships which have higher risk factors. The factors they take into account include, but are not limited to: country risk; company structures, political connections, the customer’s or beneficial owner’s reputation, source of wealth, source of funds, expected account activity, sector risk, and involvement in public contracts. 

The following countries are categorised as high risk: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, China, Colombia, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire), Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea (North), Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Montenegro , Morocco, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan (North), Sudan (South), Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UAE, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

The FCA said the list would be reviewed periodically.