Global Anti-Money Laundering Group Scolds Banks, Financial Groups Over FIFA Saga - Report

Tom Burroughes Group Editor June 22, 2015

Global Anti-Money Laundering Group Scolds Banks, Financial Groups Over FIFA Saga - Report

The global group fighting money laundering has chided financial institutions for not doing enough to control suspicious money flows linked to FIFA, the body hit by corruption claims about awards of World Cup tournaments.

The global group of government anti-money laundering agencies has said financial institutions have not done enough to control suspicious financial activity by officials at FIFA, the global governing body for football that has been rocked by corruption and bribery allegations. It urged banks to tighten scrutiny, reports said.

Paris-based Financial Action Task Force issued its warning after nine current and former FIFA officials and five business executives were indicted on charges including money laundering, wire fraud and bribery. The scandal has seen the resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter and raised questions over whether two future World Cups, to be held in Russia and Qatar, will now go ahead.

Investigators are checking as to whether there was corruption involved in FIFA’s awarding of the hosting rights to Qatar and Russia. Some European and US banks had already stepped up scrutiny of FIFA-related accounts and at least one said it had stopped handling FIFA business for some time because of corruption allegations, Reuters reported.

“Recent reports about alleged corruption and money laundering activities on a large scale by several high-ranking FIFA officials underscore how important it is that financial institutions identify and monitor high-risk customers,” FATF said.

FATF said that financial institutions “do not appear to have given a sufficient amount of scrutiny to the financial activities of the officials concerned, as many of these allegedly corruption-related transfers passed through the international financial system undetected.”

FATF, whose members include the US, China, Brazil, Switzerland and many other European countries, said that an “ongoing public debate about the integrity of an entity should raise flags to financial institutions. As a result they should treat customers that are related to that entity as high-risk customers.”

The news service said it was told about the statement, which appears to be dated June 16, by a European official with knowledge of the FIFA case. It can be found through a Google search but does not appear to be accessible through the FATF website. The news service said that FATF officials could not be immediately reached for comment on why that was the case.

This publication searched the FATF website and could find no reference to the matter. It was not able to reach the organization at the time of going to press.

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