Pakistan has embarked on biometric testing to verify that the nation’s bank accounts are genuine in its efforts to meet the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) by September this year.

Fake bank accounts are seen as a serious threat across several types of trade-based financial crime.

AML/CFT deficiencies

In June 2018, Pakistan was placed on FATF’s grey list amidst concerns about the country’s ability to contain terrorist financing and money laundering.

A FATF delegation noted 27 deficiencies in Pakistan’s anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime that needed to be addressed.

These mainly related to currency smuggling, money-exchanges and terror financing of proscribed organisations.

Biometric testing

Last week the prime minister’s advisor on institutional reforms and austerity, Ishrat Husain, said biometric verification of all bank accounts will help improve control of financial crime, as banks can weed out potentially risky customers from their books very effectively.

“There will be no fake and unknown accounts after the State Bank of Pakistan completes the procedure of biometric verification of bank accounts [by] June 2019,” he said.