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EU removes Mauritius from the list of high-risk third countries

23 February 2022

Mauritius has completed the final step in restoring its status as a leading jurisdiction for financial services after the European Commission confirmed it had removed it from the European Union’s list of “high-risk third countries”.

The announcement follows a similar decision by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) back in October last year when it removed Mauritius from its list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring.

The exit from both lists comes after a close public private collaboration, in which Apex Group played a key part. At the time of the inclusion of Mauritius in the FATF list in 2020, a high-level political commitment was made by the Government of Mauritius to swiftly resolve the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes.

Since then, a series of measures (including amendments to the legislative framework) forming part of an Action Plan have been undertaken to implement the necessary reforms. Reports were regularly submitted to map the progress of the Action Plan and by June 2021, the FATF decided that Mauritius had substantially completed its action plan.

This in turn led to an on-site assessment to verify whether the implementation of Mauritius’ anti-money laundering/combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) reforms were being applied and whether the framework and commitment remains in place to sustain in the future. At that point Mauritius was listed as ‘Compliant’ or ‘Largely Compliant’ with 39 out of the 40 FATF recommendations.

The on-site inspection was carried out by the FATF delegation between 13 to 15 September 2021 which confirmed Mauritius’ progress in the following areas and which led to the exit from the list:

  • Conducting outreach to promote understanding of ML and TF risks and obligations
  • Developing risk-based supervision plans for the Financial Services Commission effectively
  • Ensuring access to accurate basic and beneficial ownership information by competent authorities in a timely manner; and
  • Providing training for law enforcement authorities to ensure that they have the capability to conduct ML investigations.

Mauritius has always been at the forefront of international standards and will soon be the first country to be compliant with all 40 of the FATF’s recommendations.

“We are delighted with the European Commission’s decision to remove Mauritius from the EU blacklist,” said Mahesh Doorgakant, Managing Director, Mauritius, Apex Group. “This news is another positive step forwards for its financial services industry and further positions Mauritius as a jurisdiction of choice for funds.

“In recent years, Mauritius has made significant progress with regard to AML/CFT compliance and can now be considered a model jurisdiction ahead of countries like Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States and even some member states of the European Union and the FATF.”

For more information about how Apex Group can support your business in Mauritius, please contact us.

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