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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08WARSAW199 2008-02-12 14:35:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Warsaw
Cable title:  

POLAND REQUESTS USG SUPPORT FOR FATF MEMBERSHIP

Tags:   ECON PL KTFN EFIN PREL PTER 
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1. (C) On February 11, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(MFA) called in the embassy to ask that the USG support
Polish membership at the upcoming February 25-29 plenary
meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The MFA
indicated that achieving FATF membership is a top priority
for Poland in its effort to ramp up the fight against money
laundering and terrorist financing. Department is requested
to provide post guidance regarding the status of Poland's
membership application and the USG position.



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Poland wants USG support for its FATF membership


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2. (C) On February 11, Marian Siemakowicz, an official in
the Polish Foreign Ministry's Security Policy Department
responsible for terrorist financing issues, called in the
embassy's terrorist financing officer to ask that the USG
support Polish membership in FATF at the FATF plenary meeting
on February 25-29. Siemakowicz said that Poland understands
that FATF will decide on five new members at its the meeting.
The MFA realizes China and India are likely to get priority
for new membership spots. However, it would like to secure
one of the remaining new positions. Siemakowicz said that
Poland believes that it has met all FATF membership criteria
and therefore hopes that it can count on US support. Poland
expects the EU to support its applications. Post also
understands that Polish Finance Minister Jan
Vincent-Rostowski may raise the issue during a planned
February 13 initial courtesy call by the Ambassador.



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Poland's Preparation for Membership


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3. (C) For several years Poland has been pushing for FATF
membership, arguing that it has become one of the EU's
regional leaders in the fight against terrorist financing and
money laundering. Poland's preparation has included:

-- Playing an active role in the Council of Europe's MONEYVAL
Committee. Poland scored favorably on MONEYVAL's 3rd Round
Evaluation Report on Poland published on January 15, 2008.
The report noted significant improvements across the board
from its last on-site visit in 2002, including implementation
of some of the EU's toughest legislation and reporting
requirements, and a considerable increase in Poland's number
of convictions.

-- Becoming a member of the Schengen Pact in December 2007,
and implementing stricter border procedures to combat money
laundering and terrorism finance to comply with Schengen
requirements. Poland now represents the EU's longest eastern
border, directly abutting Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. No
other EU country faces as many geographical challenges as
Poland in combating money laundering and terrorism finance.

-- Becoming an observer in the Eurasian Group (EAG) to combat
money laundering and terrorism finance in late Fall 2007.
Poland has been an active member of the Egmont Group since


2002.

-- Hosting a regional money laundering conference in November
2007 attended by representatives from Financial Intelligence
Units from 16 European countries as well as US Treasury
advisors.

-- Providing assistance including training and materials to
the Balkans, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Central Asia, and
southeast Asia.

-- Hosting an embedded US treasury advisor with regional
responsibilities in the Polish Finance Ministry's Financial
Intelligence Unit. The advisor assisted the GOP to introduce
state-of-the-art controls and training.



4. (C) The Poles also point out that they are one of the
US' strongest allies in the fight against international
terrorism, with major military deployments to Iraq and
Afghanistan. The GOP notes that it has adopted what may be
the strictest financial controls in the region, based

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substantially on US examples and technical assistance. As a
result, Poland argues that it is more open than many other EU
members to the US point of view on financial regulatory and
oversight issues. Poland's government shares the USG view
that fighting terrorist financing and money laundering should
be a top policy priority. The Polish Ministry of Finance's
General Inspectorate for Financial Information (GIIF) and the
MFA's Security Policy Department maintain excellent
relationships with the Embassy, and have proven to be
steadfast and reliable partners.



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COMMENT


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5. (C) In recent years, Poland has made significant progress
in building a regulatory system to combat terrorist financing
and money laundering and actively participates in several
related international organizations. With the recent
appointment of energetic new General Inspector of Financial
Information (GIIF) Andrzej Parafinowicz, we expect
improvements to continue. In many enforcement and regulatory
matters, Poland is already ahead of most potential new FATF
members and some existing members. Poland is one of only
four EU members that is an OECD member but not a FATF member,
though it is more active than many existing FATF members.
The Poles feel that they have done everything FATF and the
USG have asked them to do with regard to improving the
regulatory infrastructure to prevent terrorist financing
including playing a regional leadership role. The GOP sees
achieving FATF membership as a point of pride and validation
that their efforts are recognized by their peers.
ASHE