Action plan to fight money laundering by next year

MUSCAT, APRIL 13 – The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) is preparing a comprehensive project as part of the Sultanate’s action plan for its fight against money laundering and terror financing. An announcement in this regard came during a seminar organised recently by the ministry to generate awareness among its staff on the specific requirements of this project, which is expected to be ready by 2020. The seminar highlighted the definition of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing Law (AML/CFT) promulgated by the Royal Decree 30/2016, the role of MoCI, Public Prosecution and accounting offices.

Experts who spoke at the seminar, attended by senior officials from the ministry, underlined that “Oman is a global partner in the fight against money laundering and terror financing, by ensuring that funds are not drawn from abroad to the Sultanate for the purpose of laundering.” A supervisory committee, which includes representatives from MoCI, Public Prosecution and other law enforcement agencies, seeks to combat any sort of money laundering activities within the Sultanate. As per the law, a suspect in the cases related to money laundering activities include any person, intentionally or not, who transfer funds, without revealing the nature or source of such illicit proceeds or to assist a person who committed the original crime.

The cases will cover concealing the source and the ownership or rights of the funds, which include any type of assets or property whether in Oman or abroad, tangible or intangible, bank credits, deposits, remittances, bank transfers and letters of credit. Any person who, by any means, provides or collects funds directly or indirectly knowing that they will be used in whole or in part to commit a terrorist act or by a terrorist or terrorist organisation will come under the ambit of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Law.

It includes financing the travel of persons to a state other than those in which they reside or possess their nationality for the purpose of committing, planning, preparing, participating in or facilitating terrorist acts or providing funding for training in terror-related acts. The supervisory committee, can call for regular action-taken reports and impose administrative measures and sanction, including a fine of not less than RO 10,000 and not more than RO 100,000 for each violation. It can call for replacement or restriction of the powers of compliance officers, appoint a special administrator, suspend the licence to practice, restrict or cancel profession.

The Public Prosecution will have access to records, documents, information held by financial institutions, businesses and non-financial professions, associations, non-profit organisations and any other person, and any other documents if necessary for investigation. Actions include freezing and seizure of funds and proceeds related to the cases of money laundering or associated with the financing of terrorism and any property equivalent in value to such proceeds.