Ukraine warns of Russian efforts to disrupt anti-money laundering watchdog meeting

At least one FATF member nation confirmed to reporters that they received the Ukrainian letter sounding the alarm over potential Russian interference at the June 23-28 meetings.

Ukraine has alerted Singapore and other nations hosting an upcoming gathering of the world’s major anti-money laundering watchdog that Russia could attempt to infiltrate and disrupt the proceedings, despite being suspended from the organization over its invasion, according to officials familiar with the matter.

In a letter circulated earlier this month, the Ukrainian government warned members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that the Kremlin may try to send officials to next week’s plenary session in Singapore. The intent, Kyiv cautioned, would be for the Russian representatives to make contact with delegates on the sidelines to improperly influence and pressure them.

At least one FATF member nation confirmed to reporters that they received the Ukrainian letter sounding the alarm over potential Russian interference at the June 23-28 meetings.

Russia was indefinitely suspended from the intergovernmental body in February in response to its unprovoked attack on Ukraine. The FATF is responsible for setting global standards for combating money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit financial flows.

Ukraine did not provide specifics on any Russian plots but warned delegates to be vigilant about unsanctioned contacts with individuals claiming to represent Moscow’s interests. There are concerns the Kremlin could attempt to exert improper leverage to undermine efforts to crack down on Russian sanctions evasion and other financial countermeasures imposed over the war.

The Singaporean government, which is hosting the plenary session, has not commented publicly on any potential security threats. But officials there previously said all appropriate measures would be taken to ensure the FATF event is not compromised.

Since its unprecedented expulsion, Russia has insisted it remains bound by previous FATF commitments and accused the body of becoming a corrupt and discriminatory organization.

The FATF plenary is expected to take up outstanding issues related to Russian money laundering and sanctions evasion efforts through front companies, crypto transfers and other tactics exposed in recent months.