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UAE defends Hawala system

posted on 18/10/2003: 2009 views

The UAE defended today the legitimacy of the Hawala brokers (money transfer agents) and denied that the system had been used in financing terrorist acts and money-laundering transactions. 'The Hawala system is internationally recognised and no one can dare to cast doubt over it. It is recognised by 62 countries of the world including the G7 whose financial transactions control 80 per cent of the world financial order,' said UAE's Central Bank Governor Sultan bin Nasser Al Suwaidi.

He told reporters at the sideline of the first annual conference of national anti-money laundering committee that the Central Bank had recently issued 61 certificates to Hawala brokers while another 22 brokers would be registered in the coming period. He denied US reports that Dh 250,000 had been transferred via UAE banks to finance the September 11 terror attacks, affirming that the figure in question did not exceed Dh 110,000. 'The money was transferred through US banks which in turn notified the US authorities about their suspicions over it, but they ignored the issue and didn't take certain measures,' he added.

He reiterated the UAE's readiness to ink MoU with financial intelligence units (FIUs) across the world with the aim of exchanging information and documents concerning suspicious cases. The UAE has introduced laws and regulations up to the highest international standards to ensure that monies earned through illegal activities abroad are not run through its financial system for the benefit of those criminals, irrespective of where those crimes were committed.

The UAE in January 2002 passed an anti-money laundering law and imposed tight restrictions on transfers. In June, Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said the country had made good progress in combating dubious transactions. "Money laundering is a worldwide threat and that necessary precautionary measures should be put in place to face it,' he said, putting the number of money-laundering cases in the country at 25. On anti-money laundering effort in the stock market, Al Suwaidi said a mechanism is being worked out by the concerned authorities and would be issued within the coming two weeks. 'It will be applied in bonds first then in shares lately,' he noted. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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