US Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing works in MongoliaPolitics
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. Last week, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing in the United States Department of the Treasury Marshall Billingslea visited Mongolia.
During his visit paid to Mongolia for the first time, he discussed US technical assistance to help Mongolia strengthen the integrity and transparency of their financial system and recommendations for exiting the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) ‘Grey List’. Mr. Marshall Billingslea met with Mongolian Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Justice and Internal Affairs and Governor of the Bank of Mongolia and attended a round-table meeting with some media organizations.
The meetings with Mr. Marshall Billingslea mainly revolved around Mongolia recently being identified by the FATF, intergovernmental organization on combating money laundering and terrorist financing worldwide, as a jurisdiction with Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) deficiencies, or so-called ‘grey list’. In connection to which, heads of the Bank of Mongolia and Financial Regulatory Commission were replaced for failing in their responsibilities.
At a meeting with media representatives, Mr. Marshall Billingslea highlighted the consistent support by the US for Mongolia and its democracy and sovereignty and since Mongolia was included in the FATF list, several US government officials paid visits to Mongolia, marking the most number of visits to Mongolia in the last eight years.
Mentioning that the Government of Mongolia has been exerting all its efforts to fight against various types of financial crimes, Mr. Marshall Billingslea expressed his content with the government’s position that investigations of financial crimes and taking legal actions against people who committed such crimes are real commitments of the government.
Mr. Marshall Billingslea said “with a view to provide support to Mongolia for being pulled out of the FATF grey list, one of our technical experts has been appointed at the US Embassy in Ulaanbaatar as a financial attaché specially to help”.
“We noticed there have been significant improvements in the commitment pledged by the Government of Mongolia for the action plan agreed between the Government and FATF. For the upcoming months, the Mongolian Government is advised to demonstrate the results and effectiveness of the laws and regulations put in place regarding the FATF list”. Also, the delegates noted that the government is recommended to work with the commercial banks more closely to ensure safe international money transactions.
He continued “The US Government is ready to cooperate in a diverse range of areas, including real estate, cash money through borders, financial intelligence as well as an effective supervisions of law firms and accounting firms, as recommended by the FATF as focus areas”.
In a question whether the FATF list would have a negative consequences on Mongolian business entities to partner with the US and other foreign countries, Mr. Marshall Billingslea assured that the FATF only addresses insufficient legislative control structure in the financial system, which is present somehow in every country of the world. “As our target is to protect US financial system through improvement of financial crimes and their investigations, the US Government is willing to bring the best experiences to Mongolia, offering the most-effective measures to enhance its legislation and regulations”.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Marshall Billingslea said that since combating money laundering and terrorist financing a never-ending journey, Mongolia should never cease its efforts and actions for reform and enhancement once it gets off the FATF list, seeing the recommendation by all sides as a road map for future growth and the journey as an opportunity to invest in the people and the experts in Mongolia who will protect the economy.