Oct 19, Colombo: Sri Lanka has been removed from the European Union's list of countries at risk for money laundering, Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera has said.
Speaking at a business conference in Colombo Friday Minister Samaraweera said the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris Friday informed the removal of Sri Lanka's name from the blacklist commending the new measures taken by the country on financial security.
Established in 1989, the Financial Action Task Force is an international organization focused on global financial security. It maintains two blacklists- one black and one gray list of countries at risk for money laundering.
Sri Lanka was first included in the blacklist in 2011. By 2012, Sri Lanka was listed in the list as a dangerous country with no commitment to the financial security plan.
Since 2016, the Government of Sri Lanka, together with the Central Bank and other financial institutions, has taken several measures to ensure the financial security of the country.
As a result, Sri Lanka was declared a cooperating state in 2016 and the FATF put Sri Lanka on a grey list from November 2017. Subsequently the European Commission following the lead of the FATF decided to include Sri Lanka to its blacklist.
Sri Lanka last year set out a sound framework to bring the commitment and coordination of all the stakeholders in the country to enhance the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Standards in order to improve its compliance and the country rating.
As a result Sri Lanka's name has been removed from the blacklist by the Financial Action Task Force today, Minister Samaraweera said.
"In a nutshell, Sri Lanka in 2015 was exactly like a dying patient in the ICU. We took care of the patient and made him walk. Now this patient is ready to run. Sri Lanka is no longer on the blacklist for money laundering and terrorism financing," the Minister said.