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Friday, 13 September 2019

Qatar introduces new anti-money laundering law

The Qatar Central Bank has said that a newly passed law to combat money laundering and terrorism financing will meet recommendations laid out by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

In a statement on 11 September, the central bank said that the new Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act replaces a 2010 law of the same name and will ramp up penalties for financial misconduct and bolster international cooperation.

“The new law will strengthen Qatar’s regional leadership and international commitment to combating money laundering and terrorist financing,” the bank’s governor Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saud Al Thani said in the statement.

A FATF evaluation in 2008 said that Qatar’s anti-money laundering measures were unevenly resourced and not fully developed.

El Salvador anti-corruption body to receive special powers

The soon-to-be-established International Commission Against Impunity in El Salvador (CICIES) will strike special agreements with the country’s attorney general, supreme court and congress to empower it to tackle corruption, according to Reuters.

President Nayib Bukele reportedly said that the body will begin by investigating 105 government offices, following up on his campaign pledge to eradicate corruption in the country.

The CICIES was inspired by a similar UN-backed body in Guatemala, which was thrown out by outgoing President Jimmy Morales earlier in September over alleged human rights violations. The body had been investigating him for alleged corruption.

The UN said on 12 September that it would deploy a mission to help establish the CICIES in the coming days.

JPMorgan traders suspended amid DOJ’s spoofing probe

JPMorgan has suspended two precious metals traders in response to an investigation by the Department of Justice for manipulating commodities markets, Reuters reports.

Michael Nowak and Gregg Smith are reportedly the most recent traders to get caught up in a DOJ investigation into trading practices at JPMorgan.

Prosecutors have already secured the conviction of one former trader at the bank on charges of “spoofing” – a practice where traders cancel large commodities orders immediately after placing them to affect the market price.

Nowak and Smith have not been charged with any crime, and the bank has said it is cooperating with the investigation. The pair have not commented publicly on the matter.

Dutch banks to set up transaction-monitoring organisation

The Dutch Banking Association (NVB) said on 13 September that five lenders in the Netherlands could be joining forces to fight money laundering, according to a statement from the NVB.  

The five Dutch banks – ABN AMRO, ING, Rabobank, Triodos Bank and de Volksbank – have outlined ambitions to set up an organisation to monitor payment transactions. The banks will spend the next six months investigating whether the project will be feasible.

In the new plans, the banks seek to cooperate with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the Public Prosecution Service, The Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) and government ministries.

In 2018, the banks made 68,000 reports of suspicious transactions to the FIU and 15,000 of them were considered suspicious by FIU. 

Ex-prosecutor to handle Cayman Islands’ response to money laundering report

The former chief prosecutor at Sweden’s Economic Crime Authority Jan Tibbling has been hired by the Cayman Islands’ Government to help the country comply with anti-money laundering regulations, Cayman News Service reports.

The Financial Action Task Force released a report in March that detailed “major shortcomings” in the islands’ efforts to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

Tibbling will help the Cayman government through a follow-up review in February 2020 that may reportedly result in financial blacklisting if more is not done to regulate the island’s offshore financial industry.  

The Cayman Islands’ premier has made dealing with the critical report a priority for the British offshore territory. He said: “The Cayman Islands remain fully committed to upholding the highest global standards on money laundering and terrorist financing.”

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Europe, The Middle East and Africa Investigations Review 2019

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The Geopolitics of Data Transfer

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