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Money laundering

The Financial Action Task Force, a global anti-money laundering agency has granted Israel observer’s status, a step toward becoming a full member.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body established in 1989, announced after its plenary meeting in Paris on Friday that it unanimously voted to welcome Israel as an observer to the international organization.

Israel will commence its observer’s status in June, a step in the application process for full membership at the prestigious group, which sets the global rules for combating money laundering and terror financing.

As a member of FATF, Israel will partake in efforts against money laundering and the financing of terrorism and will help formulate the organization’s policies.

Israel’s Globes financial journal explained that this announcement will also support the Israeli economy by providing the country an unofficial stamp of approval for its financial sector – which will improve ties between Israel and other countries involved in the financial and legal battle.

Israel’s Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority chief Dr. Shlomit Wagman-Ratner represented the country at the hearings ahead of its admission as an observer. She told Globes that the decision to accept Israel into the FATF, “an important, prestigious, and influential group – reflects the contribution of Israel to the global fight against money laundering and terror financing and signals that Israel is a leading country with expertise in the sector.”

“The decision testifies to the immense efforts undertaken by a wide variety of bodies and officials in Israel – enforcement officials, financial regulators, the Ministry of Justice, and the Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority – in order to bolster the anti-money laundering system and match it to international recommendations and regulations.

Israel has been working since 2012 to join the FATF, and in 2014 the organization to allow a limited number of countries into its ranks. Israel made the shortlist of candidates after a rigorous vetting process.

Israel is not required to pass a comprehensive international inspection before receiving full membership status.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel