The relevance of FATF’s recommendations and fourth round of mutual evaluations to the legal profession


More than two hundred countries in the world have agreed to abide by the anti-money laundering (“AML”) recommendations developed by the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”), which is an intergovernmental organization.

This article focuses on the potential impact on the legal profession of FATF’s fourth round of mutual evaluations. During these mutual evaluations, which currently are underway, FATF-affiliated countries examine each other’s compliance with the FATF Recommendations and recommend follow-up action. This Article first presents the legal profession-related results from the completed Mutual Evaluation Reports, including case studies from Australia, Canada, and the United States regarding legal profession preparation for their response Mutual Evaluation Reports. As the article documents, many of the completed FATF Mutual Evaluation Reports recommend changes that include requiring lawyers to report suspicious client transactions, greater enforcement of existing lawyer AML rules, and changing the entities that supervise lawyer AML efforts.

The next part of this article examines the legal profession AML situation in the Authors’ home countries of the United States and Peru, noting the current or potential impact in these countries of the FATF Recommendations, the FATF Mutual Evaluation process, and lawyer-related money laundering scandals. The final Part of this Article suggests an alternative, education-focused, peer-review approach to the legal profession portions of the FATF Mutual Evaluations that arguably would decrease lawyer facilitation of criminal money laundering activities while better protecting traditional lawyer values that are globally recognized as important components of administration of justice and rule of law systems. Because the regulatory impact of FATF’s mutual evaluations may be much broader than anti-money laundering issues, everyone interested in the topic of lawyer regulation should be aware of the FATF Recommendations and the ongoing mutual evaluation process.

Laurel S. Terry & José Carlos Llerena Robles

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