Morocco has been seeking new practical steps to be removed from the gray list, drawn up by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), for countries with pervasive money laundering or terrorist financing concerns.
The Moroccan House of Representatives approved a bill aimed at reviewing capital laundering and tightening measures in this direction.
The House of Representatives, in its late-Tuesday meeting, stressed the need to tighten existing penalties for money laundering.
Morocco on the gray list
The approval of draft Law No. 12.18, related to changing and completing the set of criminal law and Law No. 43.05 related to combating money laundering, comes within the context of the Kingdom’s efforts to strengthen the legal system and its compatibility with international standards adopted by FATF.
The approved bill provides for the creation of a national committee in charge of implementing the United Nations Security Council Resolutions related to terrorism and its financing.
The committee’s task will be ensuring the application of financial sanctions in implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions related to terrorism and its financing and arms proliferation.
Under the bill, the committee will undertake the task of freezing the property of personal or legal persons, entities, organizations, gangs or groups whose names are mentioned in the regulations attached to the Security Council resolutions.
The committee will also identify persons, entities, organizations, gangs or groups proposed to be included.
The committee may also freeze existing or subsequent property, whose ownership or control is wholly or partly owned or controlled directly or indirectly by persons or entities that are proven to be have links to terrorist acts.
Last February, the FATF placed Morocco on the gray list which included countries that are subject to “advanced control” due to deficiencies in their national laws related to combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
According to data published by the FATF, Morocco has made a strong commitment to enhance the effectiveness of its system in combating money laundering and terrorist financing, after it had made progress in evaluating the year 2019.
Morocco was placed in the gray list, in its latest update, due to the delay in Parliament’s approval of Bill No. 12.18, which changes and completes Law No. 43.05 related to combating money laundering.
The Financial Information Processing Unit is in charge of combating money laundering and terrorist financing. It is an administrative financial information unit attached to the Prime Minister.
The unit exercises many tasks, including proposing legislation and expressing an opinion, and it is expected to acquire new powers under Law No. 12.18 aforementioned.
It also collects, processes and requests information related to acts suspected of being related to money laundering or terrorist financing, decides on the outcome of cases brought before it, and refers cases that appear to be related to money laundering or terrorist financing to the Public Prosecution Office.