Thursday, March 06, 2008

“…Lies, Damned Lies and US Treasury Statements…”

Daniel Glaser is a deputy assistant secretary of the United States Treasury for terrorist financing and financial crimes. He also heads up the US delegation to the Financial Action Task Force.

On 28th February 2008, Complinet reported the latest finding of the FATF regarding Iran. Complinet has reported how the new finding has not altered the world advisory situation with regard to Iran from the previous finding in October 2007. International banks are still encouraged to apply enhanced due diligence when dealing with Iranian institutions.

Nevertheless, the FATF went to great pains to acknowledge that;

“…Since its October 2007 Plenary meeting, the FATF has engaged with Iran and welcomes the commitment made by Iran to improve its AML/CFT regime… Iran is encouraged to continue its engagement with the FATF and the international community to address, on an urgent basis, its AML/CFT deficiencies...”

The finding reflects the fact that the Iranians have taken significant steps to cooperate with the FATF, they have attended a meeting in Paris in January 2008 when they presented their AML programme to the representatives of the FATF, and answered a wide range of questions; that they have subsequently passed their first law dealing with AML issues, and that they have continued to liaise with the FATF, as requested.

The stated finding of the FATF is clear, unequivocal, and makes an open statement of their deliberations.

So, it is legitimate to ask why it is that Daniel Glaser, one of the delegates to the FATF, when asked to comment upon the latest findings of the FATF Committee, of which he was a constituent member, did not report the findings in an equally clear, unequivocal and open manner.

In responding to a question posed by the New York Sun, Mr Glaser is reported as having given answers that put a wholly different slant to the story. The Sun writer states;

“…American officials saw the FATF's statement as a victory in their financial war against Iran. "It was a great result," America's chief envoy to the task force, Daniel Glaser, said in a phone interview from Paris. "What this action does is call upon all countries in the world to inform their financial institutions of the significant anti-money-laundering financial risk Iran represents. As a result of this action, financial authorities around the world will be requiring their financial institutions to conduct enhanced scrutiny on Iran-related transactions."

Mr. Glaser, who is a deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for terrorist financing and financial crimes, said the FATF's action was more robust than a warning…”

Daniel Glaser has made no secret of his support for the policies of his US Treasury boss, Stuart Levey, whose openly-stated ambitions are to cripple the Iranian economy and to bring the Iranian nation to its knees by fomenting a popular revolution in that country. Mr Glaser’s telephone conversation with the New York newspaper clearly enabled it to observe;

“…In a move that could cripple Iran's banking sector, the world's premier anti-money-laundering body warned its 34 member states yesterday to advise their banks of the risks of doing business with Iranian banks, citing worries about the Islamic nation's financing of terrorism…while the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force suggests only a warning, the seriousness with which the world's banks will respond to its official statement has the potential to starve Iran of much of its legitimate capital…”

An FATF official who has asked not to be named has confirmed that It is a convention of the FATF that all members of any committee are jointly bound by the agreed statements which are published in their name.

It is not considered to be a proper course of action to make any other statement which might give a different interpretation of what is reported in their name. Individual members are expected to report findings fairly, giving full status to the reported communiques issued by the FATF.

In light of this statement, it is legitimate to ask why Daniel Glaser has found it necessary to be so outspoken, indeed, so triumphalist in his comments. Why did he deliberately choose to ignore any of the positive comments made by the FATF, why has he continued to seek to damage Iran by his comments? He is a co-chair of the committee which is sitting in judgement on Iran and it may be thought that it is entirely improper for him to behave in this way.

His actions could have a significant impact upon the due process within which the FATF itself is seeking to engage. It could conceivably lead the Iranian delegation to legitimately ask whether they are likely to receive a fair hearing, when the co-chairman behaves in this manner, a situation which would paint the FATF in a very bad light indeed.

It is also legitimate to ask which masters Mr Glaser is seeking to serve by behaving in this egregious manner. His actions can not serve the long-term interests of the US, after all, the Bush administration has literally only months left to run. The US Presidential hopeful, Barack Obama has already said that if elected, he will engage in diplomatic discussions with Iran.

It is beginning to look as if Mr Glaser realizes that time is running out for his poisonous policies towards Iran, and those who command his real loyalties, and that his actions betray his true allegiances. It may also be felt, more importantly, that such a realization could bring the FATF itself into disrepute, if it became more widely perceived that influential committee members were intent on serving their own agenda, and not the agreed agenda of the Financial Action Task Force, to which end they have been appointed.


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