Egmont Group Chair’s Statement

EG CHAIR’S STATEMENT ON ALLEGATIONS OF FIUS MISUSING THEIR POWERS TO COMBAT ML AND TF

The Egmont Group has been informed of financial intelligence units (FIUs) allegedly misusing the powers conferred to them under their national AML/CFT frameworks. These deeply concerning allegations pertain to FIUs limiting or coercing civil society actors for their work and critiques of current governments in their jurisdictions. The Egmont Group takes such allegations seriously. Moreover, the Group does not condone such behaviour and firmly opposes any abuse of FIU powers.

International standards mandate FIUs to receive and analyze suspicious transaction reports and other information relevant to money laundering, associated predicate offences and terrorist financing, and to disseminate the results of that analysis for the purpose of combating money laundering and terrorist financing. To undertake their functions properly, FIUs are mandated to obtain additional information from reporting entities, to have access on a timely basis to the financial, administrative and law enforcement information and to exchange information with foreign FIUs. The Egmont Group considers any misuse of FIUs powers for purposes other than those mentioned as contrary to international AML/CFT standards and our organization's spirit. It also erodes the critical role FIUs play as an interface between the private sector and law enforcement authorities.     

International financial intelligence sharing is vital for protecting the global financial system's integrity and is a cornerstone for international anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing efforts. The Egmont Group facilitates international cooperation by providing a secure platform for exchanging information and a clear system of rules (principles) for information exchange. All Egmont Group members are expected to abide by the principles for information exchange.

Trust is an essential component of the Egmont Group. The Egmont Group builds trust among its members by promoting and holding firm on FIUs' integrity, transparency, and accountability. Any abuse of FIU powers compromises trust and is detrimental to the credibility of our global network.

The misuse of FIU powers against government opponents can indicate undue influence and interference in FIU operations. When FIUs lack autonomy or operational independence, it undermines the effectiveness of their activities and (inter)national ML/TF investigations and prosecutions. FIUs must have the requisite levels of autonomy and operational independence to ensure the integrity of the information shared between FIUs and their domestic partners. For this reason, the Egmont Group takes any allegations concerning a lack of operational independence and autonomy very seriously.

The Egmont Group aligns its position with the FATF's Recommendation 29 requirements and its interpretive note. As such, the Egmont Group urges countries to protect their FIUs' operational independence and autonomy. FIUs must refrain from any misuse of their powers and continue to build resilience against undue political, government or industry influence or interference, which might compromise their operational independence.

  • Hennie Verbeek-Kusters, Chair of the Egmont Group

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