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On Wednesday, the European Commission disclosed that Morocco was no longer listed on its high-risk third-country jurisdictions, being monitored for money laundering, illicit activities, and terrorism financing.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has removed Morocco from its gray list due to its financial transparency, and the European Union has removed Morocco from its list of high-risk countries due to its strategic deficiencies in counterterrorism financing (AML/CFT). As a result of the announcement made by the European Commission on Wednesday, however, Moroccan investors can increase their confidence in Morocco.
Upon submission of the decision, Morocco acknowledged its efforts to improve terrorism financing and anti-money laundering policies and that it has followed the guidelines of the international money-laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The commission highlighted that Morocco “has strengthened the effectiveness of its anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regime and has addressed its technical deficiencies to honor the commitment, made in its action plan, to address the strategic deficiencies identified by the FATF,” they added, “The Commission’s assessment of the available information leads it to conclude that Morocco no longer has any strategic deficiencies in its system and should therefore be removed from the ‘gray list.”
A decision to remove Morocco from the FATF’s international gray list for money laundering was announced in February 2023. According to a FATF report published in February 2021, Morocco is listed because of concerns regarding money laundering and terrorist financing. After a three-day meeting in Paris earlier this year, the FATF announced that Morocco and Cambodia would no longer be monitored.
During its recent meeting, the FATF recognised both countries’ significant progress in implementing anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing regimes. It also highlighted Morocco’s “high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and MENAFATF to strengthen the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime.”
Despite being off the gray list, the Moroccan government will continue to work closely with the FATF-style regional body (FSRB) to strengthen its measures in the future. The modified list of high-risk third-country jurisdictions is expected to become effective within one month of being approved by the European Parliament and Council.
Considering recommendations from global financial crime watchdogs, the EU’s executive body updates its list regularly. AML/CFT systems in high-risk countries are considered a threat to the European Union. Under the EC directive, European companies must exercise due diligence in transactions with customers residing in high-risk countries.