Ex­perts call for com­ply­ing with anti-money laun­der­ing laws

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

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.

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