Reykjavík Grapevine

Iceland Removed From Grey List

By Jess Distill
The FATF made the decision at their latest meeting, after an investigation was held last September.
The FATF made the decision at their latest meeting, after an investigation was held last September. Art Bicnick

Iceland has been removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s Grey List after satisfactorily completing measures against money laundering and terrorist financing, mbl reports.

The FATF made the decision at their latest meeting, after an investigation was held last September. The announcement states that Iceland did everything asked of them and worked hard to remove themselves from the list. It also said that there is a strong political will to continue to work to strengthen the country’s defence against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir announced the result in a press conference, saying that she welcomed the result and that the government, institutions, companies and individuals had worked hard and systematically to make improvements. “It is important to mention that the public has responded quickly and well to the call to register the real owners of companies. Incredible results have been achieved in just one year and now 93% have registered the actual owners of various companies,” she said. She also stated that, despite Iceland being unhappy with the decision to put the country on the Grey List, the issue was taken very seriously and the suggestions received from the FATF were resolved or clearly defined.

Lessons must be learned

A lot of work has also been done within the administration. Among other things they included the enactment of new laws, rules and regulations as well as other extensive work. “Cooperation and coordination between the government and other institutions was greatly increased. New files and systems have been implemented and education increased,” explained Áslaug.

According to Áslaug, the result from the FATF was actually available in June, but due to the pandemic, the Task Force delayed the formal announcement. “Finally,” she continued, “I want to say that we must learn the right lessons from this experience. The issue will remain in the focus of the government so as to ensure that Iceland is not considered to be in the same situation again. We focus on ensuring that we always meet the conditions set regarding these important defenders for the Icelandic economy.”

”Landing on a list like this has a major impact on the Icelandic economy, not just financial companies but almost all companies going international business. If Iceland is to participate in the international business community, the government must ensure that they fulfil all the necessary conditions so that we can conduct business without unnecessary obstacles.”

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