DOHA, Feb 25 (Reuters) – A global financial crime watchdog on Friday said Qatar’s technical compliance with its standards was very strong but the Gulf state needed to make improvements in its fight against money laundering, terrorism financing and other areas.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said Qatar needed to make it easier to get information on the ultimate ownership of companies and needed to strengthen measures to stop any financing of weapons of mass destruction.
It said it would follow up its statement with a full mutual evaluation report on Qatar by May.
The governor of Qatar’s Central Bank responded by thanking FATF, saying the country has been working for a decade to implement reforms in line with standards set by the Paris-based body.
The FATF commended Qatar for efforts to develop a stronger national understanding of money laundering and terrorist financing risks, confiscate criminal assets, supervise the financial and non-financial sectors and implement financial sanctions for terrorism financing.
“Qatar needs to make important improvements in certain areas, including in its law enforcement response to money laundering and terrorism financing in particular and its use of financial intelligence,” added the inter-governmental body that monitors governments’ efforts in these areas.
Qatar’s central bank governor, Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saoud Al Thani, said in a statement Qatar will continue to reinforce efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, citing a “need for more diligent, sophisticated and constant work to keep pace with emerging challenges.”
The FATF included Qatar’s Gulf neighbour the United Arab Emirates on its “grey list” in March 2022, meaning that country is subject to increased monitoring.
At the time, the UAE government said it had a “strong commitment” to working closely with FATF on areas for improvement.