Iran approves anti-money laundering bill

Iran is alone with North Korea on the Financial Action Task Force’s blacklist. (AFP)
Updated 05 January 2019

Iran approves anti-money laundering bill

  • ‘The bill on amending the law to counter money laundering was approved with certain changes and will be sent to the parliament speaker to be communicated to the government’

TEHRAN: An Iranian arbitration body gave its approval on Saturday to an anti-money laundering bill seen as crucial to maintaining international trade and banking ties, the official IRNA news agency reported.
“The bill on amending the law to counter money laundering was approved with certain changes and will be sent to the parliament speaker to be communicated to the government,” Expediency Council member Gholamreza Mesbahi-Moghadam told IRNA.
The Expediency Council settles disputes between parliament, which approved the bill last year, and the conservative-dominated Guardian Council, which vets all legislation and had rejected it.
Conservatives have argued that new legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing will provide Western powers with leverage over Iran’s economy and how it funds regional allies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
But the government of President Hassan Rouhani says the laws are needed to meet demands set by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which monitors countries’ efforts to tackle financial crime.
Iran is alone with North Korea on the FATF’s blacklist — although the Paris-based organization has suspended counter-measures since June 2017 while Iran works on reforms.
The FATF will meet again in February to discuss Iran’s progress.
The government is hoping to salvage banking and trade ties after the United States walked out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran and reimposed crippling unilateral sanctions.
The other parties to the deal — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — have sought to salvage the agreement and maintain trade with Iran, but have called on Tehran to meet FATF requirements.
The anti-money laundering bill is one of four pieces of legislation put forward by the government to that end.
A previous bill on the mechanics of monitoring and preventing terrorist financing was signed into law in August.
Two others — allowing Iran to join UN conventions against terrorist-financing and organized crime — have been approved by parliament but are still being delayed by higher authorities, including the Guardian Council.
The Expediency Council currently has 38 members, all appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


Saudi finance ministry hosts foreign investors ahead of budget 

Updated 09 December 2019

Saudi finance ministry hosts foreign investors ahead of budget 

  • Twenty two international investment companies are being shown around some of the Kingdom’s top non-oil based companies
  • Saudi banks such as SAAB, Samba, NCB, Bank AlJazira and Alinma Bank are also in attendance

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance has kicked off a tour for foreign investors in Riyadh today ahead of the 2020 Budget Forum on Dec. 10.
Twenty two international investment companies from Taiwan, the US, the UK, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, Germany and France have been invited to visit some of the Kingdom’s top non-oil based companies.
The group includes a number of international investment companies, insurers and asset managers, including Goldman Sachs, Mayfair Bank, Etiqa Insurance and Nippon Life Insurance Company among others.
Saudi banks such as SAAB, Samba, NCB, Bank AlJazira and Alinma Bank are also in attendance.
Among the sites visited by the delegation are the Riyadh Metro, where the group got a glimpse of the bus and train systems that are due to launch mid-2020. 
The tour also takes in Al-Turaif UNESCO heritage site, and Qiddiya, the entertainment mega project under development in Riyadh.