Qatar's AML/CFT regulations toughest in the region: Expert

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) By Lani Rose R Dizon I The Peninsula

Doha: Qatar's regulations on anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) are the toughest in the region, an international expert on Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) said yesterday. 

However, the effectiveness of compliance towards these regulations will be assessed this year, as Qatar is scheduled for evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental policy-making body considered to be the global standard-setter in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. 

'FATF will publish a report on how effective they found the implementation of anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism finance policy and regulation of the Qatar Central Bank (QCB). Based on that, they will set a rating which will immediately affect how the country is perceived internationally. And Qatar is largely in advanced stage in fight against money laundering and terrorist financing compared to other countries in the region. I'm sure it will get a good rating. It has the toughest AML/CFT regulations in the region, which are updated on a regular basis. What the country needs to do now is to increase AML/CFT awareness in the non-financial sector, and make sure that those sectors are in full compliance with international regulation, Mohamed Daoud, Director of Business Development of Refinitiv, a global provider of financial markets data and infrastructure, said while talking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of a seminar. 

The seminar titled ‘The Development in the Fight Against Money Laundering & Financing of Terrorism' was organised by the International Chamber of Commerce Qatar (ICC Qatar) and Refinitiv, with the support of the Qatar Chamber (QC), to discuss best practices in AML/CFT policies. 

During the event, QC Board Member and ICC Qatar Secretary General Dr Khalid Klefeekh Al Hajri, reiterated that Qatar recently issued the Law No. 20 of 2019 to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. 

He added: 'Money laundering was an existing problem, which has led Qatari firms to update their strategies based on international standards adopted by main international organisations, such as the FATF.

The State of Qatar is a leading country in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. 

And the year 2020 will be an important year for Qatar as the country will be going through evaluation by the Financial Action Taskforce, the international regulator that helps combat money laundering and terrorist financing across the globe.  

Mohammed Ali Al Ghamdi, Chief Governance Officer at Qatar Charity, added that the organisation started its restructuring three years ago, not just to prepare for the upcoming FATF evaluation, but as part of its global capacity building program. 

'We started a partnership with World Check in 2015, and last year we have fully integrated our data with World Check system. We have more than 24 global field offices, and we work mostly with high risk countries such as Syria, Somalia, and Yemen among others. We needed to have an active system to show us the risks (for money laundering and terrorism financing) and how to deal with them. We operate with high standards and try to be a good model for charity works. Last year we made more agreements with the United Nations, and the upcoming FATF report will prove that to the world, he added. 

In his presentation, Daoud highlighted the latest developments in global compliance and regulation in the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism in the non-banking sectors. Citing an Arab Monetary Fund report, he added that more than 200,000 bank accounts by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the local currency have been closed in the last two years, for failure to comply with banks' AML/CFT policies. Currently, there are more than 300 blacklists issued by different international bodies and regulations with different categories and overlapping data, he added.



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