Financial Action Task Force Names Ex-Head of Singapore’s Casino Regulators As Leader

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has chosen its next leader. In less than four months, the former head of Singapore’s Casino Regulatory Authority will take control of the global financial watchdog.

T Raja Kumar of Singapore will become the new president of the FATF in July. It’s the first time the FATF has chosen someone from Singapore for the position. (Image: Ministry of Home Affairs)
T Raja Kumar of Singapore will become the new president of the FATF in July. It’s the first time the FATF has chosen someone from Singapore for the position. (Image: Ministry of Home Affairs)

Since July 2020, Marcus Pleyer has been the president of the FATF. The global financial watchdog that monitors anti-money-laundering (AML) measures around the world choose a new leader every two years. It’s time for someone new to come in, and someone with ties to the casino industry is taking over.

T Raja Kumar, who was once the chief executive of Singapore’s Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), will succeed Pleyer. The FATF made the announcement this week after finalizing its decision last Friday. Raja’s appointment is the first time Singapore will lead the agency.

Raja served as the head of Singapore’s CRA from April 2008 to June 2011, according to an announcement by Singapore officials. He was responsible for leading the development of the country’s updated regulatory structure for casinos and was a regular feature in the Association of Gaming Regulators.

Changing of the Guard at the FATF

In addition to his work with the CRA, Raja was previously a deputy commissioner with the Singapore Police Force, where he oversaw policy implementation. He is now the country’s delegate to the FATF, as well as a member of a steering committee that works directly with Pleyer.

Raja’s capabilities, international experience, and work as a senior public sector leader, operating in a multi-ethnic and multicultural environment across a range of disciplines, will come in useful to lead an international organisation such as the FATF,” states Singapore Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam.

Raja has been the co-chairman of Singapore’s National Interagency Committee on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) since 2015. He’s partially responsible for helping the country get on the FATF’s good side. Singapore first joined the regulatory body in 1992.

FATF Continues to Stress AML Policies

G-6 countries created the FATF in 1989. Since then, over 200 countries have agreed to follow its policies. The agency doesn’t have direct control to order changes, but it sets the de facto standard for Anti Money-Laundering (AML) procedures. It also works to halt funding used for the development, transport, and sale of weapons of mass destruction.

Recently, the FATF highlighted problems in the Philippines and several other countries. However, it determined that it no longer needed to monitor Zimbabwe, a country that has routinely been a target.

The agency changes its presidency every two years, with the term running from July 1 to June 31. Until 2019, the term was only one year. FATF members determine the new president during the annual plenary meeting.

The vice presidency works a little differently. The term is three years, although the start date is the same as that of the presidency. Elisa de Anda Madrazo of Mexico is the group’s VP, and her term ends in June of next year.

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