Anti-Money Laundering (AML) in Qatar
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Money laundering in Qatar is not a major issue. The financial sector is strictly monitored by the Central bank. In order to best protect itself from money laundering, Qatar signed the Anti Money Laundering Law on September 11, 2002. Article 28 of the law describes money laundering offences as involving the acquisition, holding, disposing of, managing, keeping, exchanging, depositing, investing, transferring, or converting of funds from illegal proceeds. Those found guilty of money laundering can expect to face serious penalties, including up to seven years imprisonment and hefty fines. The Anti Money Laundering Law also calls for all financial institutions to report any suspicious transactions to the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) and to maintain records of these transactions for up to 15 years.
The National Anti Money Laundering Committee (NAMLC) was created by the Anti Money Laundering Law to manage and direct money laundering combating efforts. In 2004, the Qatari Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) was instituted. The primary responsibilities of the FIU include reviewing all financial transaction reports, identifying suspicious transactions and financial activities of concern, guaranteeing that all government ministries and agencies have measures and standards to ensure apposite oversight of financial transactions, and recommending actions taken by the NAMLC if suspicious transactions or financial activities of concern are recognized.
All financial institutions must report transactions of Qatari riyals (QR) that exceed 100,000 QR. All financial institutions must enact a system of customer identification by distinguishing the individual entering into a business relationship or performing a transaction.
In 2010, the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority issued the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing Rules. The Rules are meant to accompany the Promulgating the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Law of 2010. Both pieces of legislation were designed to enhance the AML regime in the country.
AML Training in Qatar
According to Qatar’s 2005 Anti-Money Laundering Rulebook, all employees must be provided with training to help them understand the vulnerabilities of the products and services offered at the Bank and how to recognize suspicious transactions. Records must be kept regarding who has been trained, the timing of the training and how the training has been given.
The Economy of Qatar
Qatar owes most of its economic growth to the vast amounts of petroleum it produces. Petroleum accounts for more than 70% of the country’s total government revenue. The country is also the third largest supplier of natural gas in the world and a huge supplier of oil.
Currently the wealthiest country in the Muslim world, Qatar has the highest GDP per capita income in the world. The opulence of natural resources united with the growing and diversified economy means enormous access to investment opportunities and incentives.
Banking in Qatar
Qatar Central Bank (QCB) is the main bank of Qatar. QCB was incorporated in 1993 when it took over the responsibilities of the former Qatar Monetary Agency. There are a total of 15 banks in the country, seven of which are Qatari owned institutions.
The main functions of the Qatar Central Bank include: maintaining stability in the QR exchange rate; managing and conducting operations related to exchange rate policy; conducting and implementing monetary policy and evaluating its content; supervising and controlling the activities of financial institutions, such as banks, exchange houses, investment companies, financial companies and representative offices; exercising the privilege of the issuance; and ensuring circulation of domestic currency and adopting necessary security measures to avoid counterfeiting.
The currency in Qatar is the riyal (QR). The riyal comes in denominations of 1, 10, 50, 100, and 500 notes. Each riyal is then divided into 50, 25, 10, 5, and 1 dirham coins.
The Qatari riyal is closely connected with the US Dollar. Qatari people can use ATM cards, debit and credit cards, such as American Express and others.
Until 1966, Qatar was using the Indian Rupee as its currency. After depreciation of the Indian rupee in 1966, Qatar instituted another form of currency. At first, Qatar introduced the Saudi Riyal and later incorporated a new series of currency.
Time Zone: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time).
Location: Middle East, peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia.
Population: 2.169 million (July 2013 est.).
Labor Force: 42% of the population makes up the labor force, and there is an unemployment rate of 0.7%.
Languages Spoken: Arabic (official), English is commonly used as a second language.
Trade Organizations: Qatar is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).