Israel has become the 38th member of FATF (Financial Action Task Force), a Paris-based international organisation which aims to tackle issues of money laundering and terrorism financing.
Israel has stated that it has been an observer in the organisation since February 2016 but has now decided to follow up with membership after “successful mutual evaluation”. This would allow it a voice in setting the rules and agenda.
It is suspected that Israel will use its position to leverage support against its regional enemies such as Iran, which has been under scrutiny by FATF, as well as pushing for a cut in funding for the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas.
Speaking to reporters, the head of the Justice Ministry’s anti-money laundering and terrorism financing department, Shlomit Wagman-Ratner, made clear that this would support its national agenda and help integrate Israel’s financial sector with the global economy.
“An additional significant factor is that, for the first time, the State of Israel will be able to take part in setting international rules in the realm of terror financing and money laundering, rules that it is subject to in any event," Wagman-Ratner added.
President of FATF, Marshall Billingslea congratulated Israel stating, “during this demanding process, the country demonstrated its commitment to protect the integrity of the financial system."