The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary Meeting agreed to grant the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a full membership of the group at the plenary meeting held in Orlando, USA, during the period 19-21 / 6 / 2019. The Kingdom is the first Arab country to obtain this membership. The Kingdom's accession comes as the FATF celebrates its 30th anniversary and held its first meeting in Paris, France in 1989. The approval came after the submission of reports on the tangible progress made by the Kingdom, which outlined the measures and efforts the Kingdom has made in implementing the Action Plan approved by the FATF.
It is worth noting that the Kingdom is a founding member of the Middle East & North Africa Financial Action Task Force since November 2004. In 2015,the Kingdom received an invitation from the FATF to join the Group as an observer. The invitation was made in recognition of the Kingdom's international and regional status, its efforts and measures in the field of combating money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation, its compliance with international standards and requirements, and its commitment to all relevant international and bilateral conventions.
The Kingdom obtained an observer status in the Group in June 2015. In June 2018, the Kingdom completed the mutual evaluation process. It proved the effectiveness and efficiency of the control measures carried out by the relevant authorities in the Kingdom in the field of combating money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation. The results revealed the high level of effectiveness and efficiency of the control procedures.
The Kingdom's accession to the FATF is in line with its efforts and financial and economic programs to achieve 2030 vision, which contributes to supporting the development of the national economy and enhancing the efficiency of the financial sector, which is one of the important objectives of the Financial Sector Development Program under the leadership of the Ministry of Finance.
With the accession of the Kingdom as a full member, the number of FATF members increased to 39 full members, including the most influential countries in the world, such as the permanent members of the Security Council and most countries of the G-20.
The Kingdom's accession to the FATF will enhance its role in international forums and contribute in highlighting its efforts in the field of combating money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation; and creating more geographical balance of the FATF member states as an active representative of the Middle East and North Africa region. In addition, the Kingdom's sharing of its expertise and experience with the member countries of the FATF will contribute to the development and enhancement of the global system to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation.
The Kingdom's accession to the Financial Action Task Force will contribute to enhancing the capabilities and expertise of specialists in the Kingdom through direct access to the experiences and expertise of developed countries, participating in discussions at the FATF’s plenary meetings and in the work and activities of the working groups.
Ahmed Alkholifey, Governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and Chairman of the Anti-Money Laundering Permanent Committee (AMLPC), chaired the Saudi delegation participating in the FATF Plenary Meeting. On this occasion, Alkholifey has congratulated the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince on the Kingdom's accession to the FATF as a full member, pointing out to the unlimited support provided by the leadership in this regard, which will undoubtedly add to the record of achievements and accomplishments of the Kingdom. The Governor has also valued the efforts, cooperation and coordination between all authorities concerned with Anti-Money Laundering & Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation and related committees in the Kingdom, which greatly contributed to the Kingdom's success in the mutual evaluation and access as a full member of the FATF.
Alkholifey explained that the achievement made by the Kingdom is a recognition of the great achievements that Saudi Arabia had in the field of money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation.