U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
March 2, 2020
Thank you, Madame and Mr. President, for your presentation of the Financial Accountability, Transparency, and Integrity (FACTI) Panel.
The United States appreciates efforts made to address Member States’ concerns in the Panel’s Terms of Reference. Specifically, we welcome Annex 2 which includes the Financial Action Task Force, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the UN Convention Against Corruption Conference of States Parties, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as important Panel resources. We also welcome the Terms of Reference focus on Member State consultations which we view as essential for the credibility of the Panel’s work. We appreciate the clarity you have provided, establishing the Panel will issue its independent report in February 2021 and will thereafter disband.
Nevertheless, we remain deeply concerned about the process which created the FACTI Panel. We reiterate our belief that this panel far exceeds any mandate in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda or a Second Committee resolution. We welcome the separation of the FACTI Panel from UN mandated processes, since General Assembly Resolution 74/206 has not mandated the creation of this panel. We are troubled the Panel is being launched today while without first establishing full Panel membership.
Moving forward, we welcome the Panel’s focus on addressing crimes that contribute to illicit finance, such as corruption and money laundering. We remain concerned about the conflation of tax avoidance and evasion with financial crimes. It is critical for the Panel to actively engage practitioners experienced in working on these issues, especially experts in investigating and prosecuting corruption and money laundering cases. Many experts within our government are dedicated to these issues and stand ready to share their firsthand experiences with the Panel members.
As we have noted in preliminary discussions regarding the Panel’s creation, we are concerned that this body is built upon the faulty premise that the current international architecture to prevent and combat illicit finance is broken or inadequate.
We believe the FACTI Panel’s report will reaffirm the existing international architecture established to address the key concerns before us today. In doing so, it is vital that States live up to their obligations and commitments they have agreed to in the UN Convention against Corruption, UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, and relevant Financial Action Task Force standards, which provide a comprehensive framework to address issues of corruption and money laundering.
The international community has worked hard to establish these mechanisms and we believe that they are more than capable of addressing the underlying crimes that contribute to illicit finance.
Ultimately, the main challenge the international community faces is not gaps in the existing architecture we have built, but rather the full implementation of international commitments. We must work together to build the political will to use these tools effectively and States must live up to their commitments. While the FACTI Panel takes time to research these topics over the next year, the United States will continue to actively partner with countries in their efforts to more effectively follow through on implementation of their commitments. We will continue to help partners improve their ability to marshal domestic resources to accomplish their development goals and look forward to working together to more robustly address corruption, money laundering, and other related crimes.
Thank you very much, Madame and Mr. President.