FATF announces removal of Mauritius from its ‘grey list’

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On 21 October 2021, upon the close of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) October 2021 Plenary held this week, the President of the FATF, Marcus Pleyer, announced that “after completing its action plan and a successful onsite visit by FATF team, Mauritius has been removed from the grey list”.

This announcement is a welcome boost to Mauritius, given that, in February 2020, the FATF, an intergovernmental policy body that sets global Anti-money laundering and combatting terrorism financing (AML/CFT) standards and ensures the effective implementation of such standards in all jurisdictions, listed Mauritius under its “grey-list”. The “grey list” is a list of jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies in their approach to AML/CFT and under increased monitoring by the FATF. As a result, the European Commission also identified and included Mauritius on the EU AML list of high-risk third countries (Black List).

With a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the AML/CFT measures and pursuant to Mauritius’ action plan (Action Plan), several working groups were constituted at a national level to tackle the deficiencies identified in the jurisdiction’s AML/CFT regime. Building on the regulatory and policy announcements, and following the work undertaken by the competent authorities in Mauritius, the FATF, at its June 2021 Plenary Session, endorsed the substantial and expeditious progress made by Mauritius to consolidate the jurisdiction’s AML/CFT regime. Mauritius was also listed as ‘Compliant’ or ‘Largely Compliant’ with 39 out of the 40 FATF recommendations. An on-site inspection (Inspection) was carried out by the FATF delegation between 13 to 15 September 2021.

Following the Inspection, a Plenary Session was held from the 19 to 21 October 2021, whereby it has now been announced that Mauritius has been removed from the FATF ‘grey list’.

The removal of Mauritius from the FATF ‘grey-list’ bears testimony to the host of bold policies and measures undertaken by Mauritius, in honouring and adhering to the highest international standards in combatting AML/CFT matters. This removal materialised as a result of Mauritius enhancing the capacities of investigative authorities to detect risk in medium and high risk sectors, a significant increase in domestic and international cooperation and appropriate efforts taken by the Mauritian authorities to investigate and prosecute money laundering. There has also been an improvement in the capacity of AML supervision of the global business sector and an adequate support of the supervision of the non-financial sector.

Encouragingly, the European Commission will now review available information from the FATF and if confirmed, Mauritius will be de-listed from the Black List through the adoption of a delegated act.

This will again position Mauritius as a leading jurisdiction in the global financial services industry. Mauritius ranks 1st amongst the African countries, 13th globally in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business 2020 report and this removal/de-listing reinforces Mauritius’s position as a leading investment destination and domicile of choice for structuring cross border investment into Africa and Asia.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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