FATF suspends Russia’s membership, cites ongoing Ukraine war

The Financial Action Task Force suspended Russia’s membership today, marking the first time in the group’s 34-year history that it has taken such a step. The international standard-setting body on illicit finance said the move was warranted by Russia’s “unlawful, immoral and unprovoked war against Ukraine,” which has been going on for a year.

Russia will remain an active member of the Eurasian Group on Money Laundering and retain its rights as an EAG member, FATF said, noting that it would continue to monitor the situation and consider if the grounds exist for lifting or modifying the restrictions.

FATF works to prevent money laundering and financing terrorism, and to ensure a safe global financial system. The ongoing war “undermines the principles of international cooperation and mutual respect” that support the task force’s mandate, FATF said in a public statement. FATF expressed growing concern over reports of arms trade by Russia with United Nations-sanctioned countries and malicious Russian cyber activities.

“The United States commends the FATF’s historic decision to suspend Russia’s membership in the body,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “Russia’s disregard for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine is at odds with the FATF’s foundational values of international cooperation and the rule of law. Further, Russia’s dealings with suppliers of last resort such as Iran and North Korea, its government-driven efforts to evade international sanctions and export controls, and other activities … make it a haven for illicit finance—the very thing the FATF works to combat.”