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Kingdom top in fighting terror financing
Saudi ranked first among Arab nations for efforts to fight money laundering and terror financing.
July 13, 2010 9:34 by Rasha Reslan
Saudi Arabia has won the first position among Arab countries and 10th among G20 countries in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) report on its compliance with international resolutions on combating money laundering and terror financing.
“We are happy over the international recognition of the Kingdom’s efforts in fighting money laundering and terror financing,” said a statement issued by the Council of Ministers following its weekly meeting here.
The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, emphasized the danger posed by the two types of crimes to national and international financial systems.
The FATF and Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force have endorsed the report citing a high degree of Saudi Arabia’s compliance to 40 anti-money laundering (AML) resolutions and nine anti-terror funding resolutions.
“The legal AML framework in Saudi Arabia is composed of Shariah law and the Anti Money Laundering Statute. This framework effectively criminalizes money laundering as required by the FATF recommendations and international conventions,” the report said.
“Regarding terrorist financing, it is clear that Saudi Arabia is committed to prosecute terrorist financiers as terrorists,” FATF said. The Kingdom’s Financial Intelligence Unit is a well-equipped and well-resourced organization that receives and disseminates relatively few suspicious transactions, it added.
There are two agencies that supervise and regulate financial entities in the Kingdom. Both have adequate powers and financial resources to conduct their activities. “While the assessment team welcomes the authorities’ efforts in enhancing the current supervisory regime, it also noticed low levels of corrective measures applied by both supervisory agencies,” it said.
Monday’s Cabinet meeting denounced terrorist explosions in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Uganda, killing hundreds of innocent people. “These terrorist attacks undermine the security and stability of these countries,” Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja said quoting the Cabinet.
The Cabinet urged the Iraqis to form a unity government as quickly as possible to reinforce their country’s stability.
Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif presented a report on the resolutions taken by the Supreme Haj Committee during a recent meeting in Jeddah in order to improve services to the guests of God and ensure their safety and security.
The Cabinet approved an agreement with Egypt on transfer of prisoners to help them serve their sentence terms in their home country. It also endorsed another accord signed with Egypt on combating drugs and narcotics trafficking. Both agreements were signed in Sharm El-Sheikh on Oct. 14, 2009.
The meeting authorized Education Minister Prince Faisal bin Abdullah to hold talks with UNESCO to reach an agreement on establishing a program for the culture of dialogue and peace named after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
The Cabinet allowed clubs to establish sports academies using their own funds on the basis of certain rules and conditions to be set out by the Presidency of Youth Welfare. Revenues from such institutions should be used for the development of clubs. It also agreed to Saudi Arabia joining the International Sugar Agreement (1992) that facilitates the global sugar trade.