Tut, tut, TurkmenFebruary 26, 2010
In addition to blacklisting Iran last week as a significant source of money laundering and terrorist financing, the Financial Action Task Force has declared that Turkmenistan has failed to address long-standing AML/CFT deficiencies. FATF tried their hardest to sound polite in their public statement:
The FATF welcomes Turkmenistan’s continued progress in addressing its AML/CFT deficiencies, including by taking steps towards establishing a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). Given that the FIU is not yet operational, the FATF reiterates its 25 February 2009 statement informing financial institutions that these deficiencies constitute an ML/FT [money laundering/terrorist financing] vulnerability in the international financial system and that they should take appropriate measures to address this risk. Turkmenistan is urged to continue to take steps to implement an AML/CFT regime that meets international AML/CFT standards and to work closely with the Eurasian Group and the International Monetary Fund to achieve this.
This seems to be the latest in a series of black marks for the small, Central Asian state. Money Jihad readers may remember that Turkmenistan was recently ranked 171 out of 179 countries in terms of economic freedom. That put Turkmenistan in the “repressed” category just a couple notches below Iran.
The State Department’s annual report of religious freedom for 2009 noted several additional problems. They found that in Turkmenistan (which is majority-Sunni Muslim with a large Russian Orthodox Christian minority), “Mosques and Muslim clergy are state-sponsored and financed. The Russian Orthodox Church and other religious groups are independently financed.” The report also that Turkmenistan funded air fare for the hajj by some of their Muslim citizens.