The government is facing increasing criticism due to Gibraltar’s continued placement on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Gambling Commissioner Andrew Lyman emphasized that there is only one remaining significant action point, unrelated to the local gaming sector.
Despite acknowledging progress, the FATF announced that the deadline for implementing the necessary actions has already passed.
In June 2022, Gibraltar was added to the grey list due to deficiencies in its anti-money laundering (AML) compliance.
Initially, the FATF highlighted specific measures that Gibraltar needed to take to be removed from the list, such as focusing on gatekeepers in the financial system and imposing appropriate financial penalties.
In response, Gibraltar implemented an action plan to effectively combat money laundering.
While the FATF recognized the progress made in strengthening Gibraltar’s AML and counter-terrorism financing regime, it urged Gibraltar to demonstrate its ability to pursue “final confiscation judgments commensurate with the risk and context of Gibraltar,” which remains the only outstanding point.
A glimmer of hope emerges
During an interview with iGaming NEXT, Lyman, the gambling commissioner of Gibraltar, emphasized that all the necessary measures regarding Gibraltar’s supervisory agencies were successfully implemented by February 2023.
Last year, Gibraltar witnessed a growth of 13 additional gambling licensees, a clear indication, according to Lyman, that being on the grey list had minimal negative impact on the jurisdiction’s gambling industry.
Consequently, the sector can now envision a positive future, as the adverse effects of the grey listing appear to be diminishing.
Placement on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list often leads to heightened regulatory scrutiny, restricted access to banking services, and increased oversight by regulatory bodies due to the hesitancy of financial institutions to engage in transactions with countries on the list.
The Gibraltar government has expressed its unwavering commitment to the ongoing process, ensuring that all relevant authorities collaborate with the FATF to achieve full compliance with the action plan as expeditiously as possible.
Engaging in political point-scoring
In contrast, Roy Clinton, the shadow minister for financial services and gaming of the Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD), expressed his frustration and voiced criticism towards the government for their lack of transparency regarding the process of delisting.
In an interview with the Gibraltar Chronicle, Clinton drew attention to the government’s failure to fulfill previous commitments regarding compliance within the specified timeframe. He also raised concerns about Gibraltar’s reputation as a jurisdiction with high-risk implications.
Clinton pointed out that the Cayman Islands, which was added to the grey list in 2021 and faced a similar issue, has already met the FATF action plan and will begin the delisting process in October 2023 following an onsite visit.
In response to Clinton’s critique, the government stated that the GSD was well aware of the strict confidentiality rules governing the FATF process. It expressed disappointment that the party had chosen to prioritize “scoring cheap political points” rather than focusing on the significance of the matter at hand.
Lastly, the government emphasized that, currently, there was nothing more they could do as law enforcement agencies and regulators continue their ongoing efforts.