Twelve countries are providing financial support for the TTF. Through this, a total of $31 million will be spent on improving AML/CFT systems around the globe over the next five years.
The technical assistance will be conducted in two stages. For the first stage, two awareness-raising regional workshops are being organized in Tunis, Tunisia, featuring representatives from the four relevant government departments (financial intelligence, customs, finance and mining) of each country. The first workshop was held on March 8–12 for eight French-speaking countries. The second is planned for June 14–18, with participants from eight English-speaking countries.
For the second stage, the project will help interested countries further develop their national strategies for improving AML/CFT controls related to precious minerals.
“By the third quarter of 2010, we expect countries to have prepared national strategies,” Mathias said. “We then expect a number of countries to engage in longer term technical assistance relationships with the IMF or with other relevant organizations.”
A number of countries have faced issues such as corruption, internal and regional conflicts, arms smuggling and other similar problems, he added.
“Such issues often prey on and are fueled by the unregulated trade in rough diamonds and gold,” Mathias said. “We have to consider that for some of these countries, diamonds or gold constitute their main economic resources. Improving the regulation and transparency of the precious minerals sector supports our core mandate of strengthening macroeconomic stability.”
Dealers in precious stones and metals are a relatively recent addition to the list of designated professions to be incorporated into a country’s AML/CFT regime, as designated by the IMF’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The FATF standard calls for countries to require precious metals and stone dealers to identify the customer in any cash transaction equal to or above $/€15,000. In addition, dealers should be prohibited from completing a transaction if they are unable to identify and verify the client’s identity. They have to maintain records on transactions for at least five years, and suspicious transactions should be reported to the national financial intelligence unit.
The primary objective of implementing an AML/CFT framework is to detect and deter the proceeds of predicate crimes such as fraud, drug trafficking, arms smuggling or corruption.
“The lack of transparency of transactions in the precious metals and stones sector has been identified as a major obstacle to tax collection,” said Matthew Byrne, an IMF Senior Counsel. “The implementation of the FATF standard enhances the transparency of transactions and should be beneficial to the general supervision of dealers in precious stones and metals, including for tax audit.”
Courtesy of IDEX