Gibraltar’s Chief Commissioner for Gambling Andrew Lyman issued a rallying call for everyone involved to help the country replicate what Iceland and Malta achieved as both managed to get themselves off the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list within 12 months from being added.
‘No Fundamental, Systemic, AML/TF Weaknesses’
The British overseas territory surprisingly ended on the grey list on June 17 after the plenary session of the task force which also saw Malta removed from the list and Pakistan remain in the group of countries that need to improve their anti-money laundering practices.
Speaking at the KPMG Gibraltar e-Gambling Summit this morning Lyman stated that the Gibraltar government should receive all the support it needs to get the country out of the grey list “in the quickest time possible.”
Not hiding his surprise, Lyman also questioned the reasons behind the decision stating that “there are no fundamental, systemic, AML/TF weaknesses in this jurisdiction and Gibraltar now has a strong AML and TF system which makes the grey-listing decision more difficult to cope with.”
According to Lyman, a timeline discrepancy could have played a significant role in Gibraltar’s listing as related to FATF’s claim that the country did not sanction with “proportionate fines or penalties for laundering or terror financing breaches.”
“Had the FATF accepted that the range of sanctions imposed by the Gambling Division in the post-observation period were effective, proportionate, and persuasive then, all other issues considered, and applying the principle of proportionality, it may be that Gibraltar would not have been placed on the grey list at all.”
Andrew Lyman, Chief Commissioner for Gambling
Onsite Checks for Operators
Accepting the decision, Lyman reiterated the commitment of the Gambling Commission and the Gibraltar authorities to stick to processes affirmed by the monitoring body of the Council of Europe, Moneyval, and FATF going forward.
“This is the shortest action plan for any grey-listed jurisdiction and a different outcome may have been to return Gibraltar to Moneyval enhanced monitoring; as happened with the Isle of Man. Unfortunately, this alternative was not adopted,” Lyman said.
Considering what needs to be improved in the months ahead to help the government get the country out of the grey list, Lyman noted that the Gambling Commission would do its part by carrying out onsite checks for operators, adamant that Gibraltar has a robust regime and it has to prove it, something the country failed to do in the current round.
He was also firm in his stance that the Gambling Commission would not “artificially adapt… to accommodate enforcement cases,” arguing that the FATF should not and cannot ask for more sanctions per se but rather require the country to prove that its regime can be effective by utilizing sanctions where necessary and in proportions needed.