FATF Recommendations 2023
The FATF has made significant amendments to its Recommendations to enhance the tools available for law enforcement, financial intelligence units, prosecutors, and other asset recovery practitioners to target and confiscate criminal assets. These amendments address the challenges posed by the rapid and easy movement of assets across borders facilitated by technology, aiming to equip countries to effectively respond to the speed of criminal activity. The revised Recommendations introduce new tools, close loopholes, and emphasize actions to capture criminal proceeds at opportune moments.
Key aspects of these amendments include:
- Priority to Asset Recovery: The FATF now mandates countries to prioritize asset recovery both domestically and internationally, and to periodically review their confiscation policies and operational frameworks. This is expected to mainstream asset recovery in crime-fighting strategies and focus on asset recovery from the onset of investigations.
- Non-Conviction Based Confiscation Regime: Countries are required to establish a non-conviction based confiscation regime in their legal systems, as far as it aligns with their fundamental principles of domestic law. This regime is particularly effective in situations where criminal prosecution is challenging or impossible, especially in cases related to corruption.
- Extended Confiscation: The implementation of extended confiscation allows for the deprivation of assets derived from a criminal lifestyle or exceeding known lawful income, in line with domestic legal principles. This tool has shown substantial results in combating organized crime.
- Freezing, Seizing, and Restraining Tools: Enhanced tools are provided for temporarily freezing, seizing, and restraining suspected criminal property at early investigation stages. This includes the power to suspend or withhold consent to transactions to prevent the dissipation of criminal proceeds.
- Recognition of Court Orders: Obligations for countries to recognize each other’s preliminary and final court orders concerning assets subject to confiscation have been strengthened. This reflects the transnational nature of money laundering investigations and improves the enforcement of lawful judgments.
- Communication and Cooperation: Emphasis is placed on good communication and informal cooperation between countries on asset recovery. This lays the groundwork for more efficient cooperation through mutual legal assistance treaties and supports active participation in multilateral networks to facilitate rapid and constructive international cooperation in asset recovery.
These amendments to the FATF Recommendations aim to build more effective asset recovery systems for countries, enabling them to deprive criminals of their illicit gains and protect the international financial system