Experts call for complying with anti-money laundering laws
Experts are saying that financial institutions need to fully comply with anti-money laundering regulations in the wake of recent cancellation of licence of a Dubai-based money exchange centre by Central Bank of the UAE.
"The recent regulatory action has reiterated the need for Financial Institutions to fully comply with Anti-Money Laundering regulations," said Waheed Rathore, Chief Compliance Officer at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. "Institutions are expected to act swiftly and effectively in order to manage evolving risks in the business environment. Credibility of UAE financial sector is of paramount importance, the message is clear," he added.
The Central Bank of the UAE on January 11 said that it revoked the licence of local money exchange firm Al Zarooni Exchange due to antimoney laundering compliance violations. The move came after a special examination of the firm and its activities.
The US Treasury has linked the firm to Altaf Khanani Money Laundering Organisation and is alleged to have laundered money for criminals and political extremists.
Ernst Pienaar, Global Head of Research at Thomson Reuters said terrorist groups increasingly turning to criminal activities especially translational organised crime to generate funding and acquire logistical support to carry out their operations. He gave the example of terrorist organisations like Daesh, Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, Mexican drug lords and Al Qaida in Arabian Peninsula.
"There are more alliances and associations that are bringing illicit cash to market through money exchange houses," he said speaking at 10th GCC Regulators Summit on Monday.
"It is becoming a real issue not only in this region but everywhere. It was revealed that Paris attacks were funded by money remittances."
According to experts, $1.5 (Dh5.5) to $6.5 trillion money is laundered today with banks and financial institutions in failing states getting involved. "It cannot be totally eradicated but strict regulations and heavy fines can minimise the activity," said Rear Admiral Chris Parry, an author and expert on security related matters.