Facebook’s Libra must obey anti-money laundering rules: French central bank chief

Facebook announced plans last week to introduce a new global cryptocurrency called Libra as part of an effort to expand into digital payments. (Reuters)
Updated 25 June 2019

Facebook’s Libra must obey anti-money laundering rules: French central bank chief

  • Facebook announced plans last week to introduce a new global cryptocurrency
  • Libra is part of Facebook’s effort to expand into digital payments

PARIS: Facebook’s planned global ‘Libra’ cryptocurrency must respect anti-money laundering regulations and it must seek banking licenses if it offers banking services, France’s central bank chief said in a magazine interview.
Facebook announced plans last week to introduce a new global cryptocurrency called Libra as part of an effort to expand into digital payments.
Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said that while there was room to improve cross-border money transfers, Libra had to follow anti-money laundering rules.
“The risks are increased by the anonymity that Libra users would have,” Villeroy said in an interview with French weekly magazine L’Obs, adding that Libra would have to ensure transactions and users’ data were fully secure.
“If the project seeks to go beyond payments to offering banking services like deposits, it will then have to be regulated like a bank with a banking license in all the countries it operates. Otherwise it would be illegal,” he said.
France is using its year-long presidency of the Group of Seven nations (G7) to set up a task-force to tackle such concerns at an international level.
It has been charged with studying how cryptocurrencies like Libra are governed by regulations ranging from money laundering laws to consumer-protection rules.


UAE dives into Lake Manzala project

Updated 21 September 2020

UAE dives into Lake Manzala project

  • Egyptian campaign aims to return the lake to its previous state and revive local fishing industry

CAIRO: The UAE National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) has announced that it won the rights to the expansion project of Lake Manzala in Egypt, valued at 600 million UAE dirhams ($163 million).

The company’s announcement of the new project came following a disclosure published on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange website. It ensures compliance with the principle of disclosure and transparency in force in the UAE.

Lake Manzala is one of Egypt’s largest natural lakes. It is known for its potential fishing opportunities, as it has the basis for high fish stocks due to natural nutrients and a moderate climate throughout the year. It produces about half of the natural fish production in lakes.

The lake has witnessed neglect in recent years, losing much of its importance and wealth. In May 2017 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi launched a national project to develop Egyptian lakes, with a key focus on Lake Manzala.

NMDC said in a statement that winning the project came through its partnership with the Egyptian-Emirati Challenge Company. It said that it will take about two years to implement the project.

NMDC is one of the leading companies in the field of dredging, land reclamation and civil and marine construction in the Middle East. The Lake Manzala development project aims to improve the quality of water to restore free fishing and return the lake to its previous state, which will boost the local market and export output.

President El-Sisi said that Lake Manzala will contribute to enhancing Egypt’s fishing industry, and export operations will be activated after its full development. He directed the border governorates, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior and the Armed Forces, to remove all encroachments and criminal outposts on the lake.

Several days ago, Dakahlia governorate completed a difficult operation to remove encroachments on the lake. A large campaign that used Armed Forces Engineering Authority equipment removed 301 houses in the Abdo El-Salhy area in El-Matareya city, known as the “fishermen’s land,” which was built on areas that were filled in from the lake. The operation occurred after local fishermen were persuaded to obtain compensation for vacating their houses.

Magdy Zaher, executive director of Manzala Lake, said that the engineering authority used 320 excavators and 20 imported suction dredgers to work in the lake.

The authority dredged the upper islands isolated from the water with the help of an Emirati bulldozing company to increase the efficiency and purification of Lake Manzala.

Zaher said the lake project will require several steps.

The most important is the removal of encroachments on the water surface and doubling its area to 250,000 feddans, he said. Dredging and deepening the lake, opening the gates and extending the radial channels to allow Mediterranean waters to enter the lake will follow, he added.

A safety belt will come in the form of a road 80 km long and 30 meters wide, which will surround the lake and prevent future encroachments. It will also divert the course of the Bahr El-Baqar water treatment plant, which pours 12 million cubic meters of sanitary, industrial and agricultural drainage into the lake, Zaher said.