Saudi Arabia has become the first Arab country to be granted full membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) following the group’s Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida on Friday.
The Kingdom’s accession comes as the FATF celebrates its 30th anniversary of its first meeting held in Paris in 1989.
Saudi Arabia had been a founding member of the MENA arm of the group since November 2004, and its full membership comes after it was reported the Kingdom had made “tangible progress” and for its efforts in implementing the FATF’s guidelines.
The group is responsible for issuing international standards, policies and best practices to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation.
Saudi Arabia received an invitation from FATF at the beginning of 2015 to join as an “observer member” as the group hailed the Kingdom’s position at international and regional levels, as well as its efforts in combating money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation of arms.
With the Kingdom becoming a FATF member, the number of permanent members in the group is now 39, including the most influential countries in the world, such as the permanent members of the Security Council and most G-20 countries.