The FATF discussed Azerbaijan's case at its plenary meeting in Paris on 18-22 October and decided to withdraw it from special monitoring.
"The FATF welcomes Azerbaijan’s significant progress in improving its AML/CFT [anti money-laundering/combating terrorist financing] regime and notes that Azerbaijan has met its commitments in its Action Plan regarding the strategic AML/CFT deficiencies that the FATF had identified in February 2010," the FATF said in its report on the meeting.
"Azerbaijan is therefore no longer subject to FATF’s monitoring process under its ongoing global AML/CFT compliance process."
Rufat Aslanli, chairman of the State Securities Committee of Azerbaijan and the head of the national delegation at the FATF meeting, said that the plenary session discussed the report on the visit of a FATF mission to the country in September, which was the basis for the decision to end the monitoring of Azerbaijan.
"This ended the process of removing the country from the monitoring initiated in June," Aslanli told a press conference today, according to Fineko/abc.az.
A similar decision was taken earlier by the Council of Europe’s Expert Group, MONEYVAL, one of eight FATF regional groups.
"Azerbaijan is the first country withdrawn from FATF monitoring since 2009 which is a good assessment of the efforts made to develop the legislative base and regulatory standards and to strengthen institutions for combating money laundering and terrorism financing in the country," Aslanli said.
To this end, Azerbaijan had to improve legislation and adopt an action plan.
"The monitoring did not cause serious discomfort for the financial sector, but its stoppage will enhance the country’s attractiveness for investments and its access to financing,” said Aslanli, who also chairs the group drawing up a new law on combating money-laundering and terrorist financing.
Azerbaijan is to work with MONEYVAL as it continues to address the full range of anti money-laundering and countering terrorist financing issues identified in its Mutual Evaluation Report, particularly compliance with SRIII (adequate procedures to identify and freeze terrorist assets), the FATF said.
Aslanli confirmed that MONEYVAL experts would make their next visit to Azerbaijan in late 2011, 1news.az reported.
"We expect the fourth stage of assessment to take place in 2013," Aslanli said.