Saudi Arabia becomes full member of money-laundering watchdog

Saudi Arabia was accepted as the 39th – and first Arab – member of the Financial Action Task Force, the Paris-based global watchdog that makes recommendations to governments on combating money laundering and terrorism-financing.

The kingdom was approved as a full member after almost four years as an observer, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority said in a statement.

Joining FATF will help Saudi Arabia showcase “its efforts in the field of combating money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation,” SAMA said.

Saudi Arabia’s elevation in FATF follows its escape in March from being included in a planned European Union money-laundering blacklist.

The proposed EU measure stalled after objections by all but one of the bloc’s 28 governments, which lowered the risk of additional regulatory hurdles for banks doing business with the kingdom.

This edited article first appeared in Arabian Business.