(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani, the Governor of Qatar Central Bank (QCB) has announced working on issuing a new law for the establishment of an independent central authority set to control of charitable activities and financial contributions in the State of Qatar.
The step comes as part of measures the State of Qatar has taken in the context of fighting against the financing of terrorism, said HE the QCB's Governor in a speech he delivered at the opening of the regional workshop on preventing the use of non-profit organizations for the purposes of Financing of Terrorism.
The workshop, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani said, aims to keep pace with regional and international developments in this area in addition to the national and international challenges facing the charity activities in the state.
The hosting by Doha of such a workshop comes in completion to Qatar's participation in meeting of the experts groups on preventing the use of profitable sectors in financing terrorism purposes and which was held in London earlier in 2011, said Governor of Qatar Central Bank .
Elaborating HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani said that the function will make it possible to exchange the best practices, expertise and information with the partners in the area and the world as well to further enhance joint cooperation to combat money laundering crime and financing terrorism effectively.
It is noted that Qatar is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention but not the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism or the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Qatar is a member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), a FATF-style regional body that promotes best practices to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in the region that was established in November 2004.
It is worth to mention that only Qatari citizens, legal foreign residents, and citizens of other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are permitted to open bank accounts. All accounts must be opened in person.
In January 2002, QCB issued Circular Number 9 regarding the Combat of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism. This circular was designed to increase the awareness of all banks operating in Qatar with respect to anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing, by explaining money laundering and terrorist finance schemes and monitoring suspicious activities.
In addition to Circular Number 9, Qatar has taken other steps to combat the financing of terrorism, including requiring banks to freeze the assets of suspected terrorists and terrorist organizations on the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee's consolidated list.
In 2002, the GOQ established a national committee to review the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee's consolidated list and recommend any necessary actions against individuals or entities found in Qatar. On August 24, 2003, the Anti-Money Laundering law was amended (Amendment 21/2003) and published in the official gazette. Amendment 21 revised three articles in the anti-money laundering law. Article 2 was amended to broaden the definition for money laundering to include any activities related to terrorist financing.
Article 8 added the customs and ports authority to the NAMLC. Article 12 authorized the Central Bank governor to freeze suspicious accounts up to ten days and to inform the attorney general within three days of any action taken. The Attorney General may renew or nullify the freeze order for a period of up to three months. After this process, a freeze order may not be renewed unless authorized by court order.
The QCB, Public Prosecutor, and the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the Ministry of Interior are the principal entities that have responsibility for investigating and prosecuting money laundering cases. The FIU receives all suspicious transaction reports and conducts an initial analysis.
The FIU also obtains additional information from the banks and other government ministries before determining whether to forward the suspicious transaction report to the Ministry of Interior. The Public Prosecutor and CID work closely on all criminal cases, although in financial cases they often seek the assistance of the QCB. There are no specialized units within the Public Prosecutor or CID's offices that initiate or investigate financial crimes.