Lebanon Businessnews News

Moneylenders and NGOs
added to watchlist categories
Central Bank tightens noose around money launderers
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The Central Bank (BDL) has added three categories of customers to the list of clients that banks and financial institutions should classify according to their risk for money laundering and terrorist financing.

BDL’s intermediate circular 421 has identified moneylenders (known locally as credit comptoirs) and non-banking institutions that carry out electronic cash transfers. It also includes charitable organizations, especially newly-established, that do not have clear financing programs and identifiable financial resources.

The decision includes other prerequisites, such as requiring banks and financial institutions to set up guidelines to implement the regulations pertaining to anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). They should also create training programs for their employees about ways to monitor financial and banking operations for AML/CFT purposes.

The move is part of the country’s efforts to comply with international AML/CFT regulations. Earlier this year, the Central Bank imposed additional constraints on moneylenders. Local moneylending businesses provide loans in small amounts to people who cannot borrow from banks. BDL also restricted the use of prepaid cards to bank customers and to international humanitarian organizations. It also prohibited banks and other financial institutions from dealing with companies or mutual investment funds whose ownerships are partially or fully in ‘bearer shares’. Last year, the Parliament passed laws regulating money laundering, terrorism financing, tax fraud, and cross-border fund transfers.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
Date Posted: May 10, 2016
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