Muscat: Oman will co-operate internationally in the extradition process of anyone involved in terrorism, the funding of terror or money laundering, it has been announced.
The new legal amendments, announced today, mean more extensive and comprehensive changes in a vast number of provisions and regulations of the previous law, particularly related to the rules and regulations on risk assessment and preventive measures. They also related to due diligence on customer identification and Know Your Customer systems.
The changes also impact on Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)who represent risks, correspondent banking relationships, financial operations, sanctions on financial institutions and non-financial businesses, professions and financial institutions, as well as due diligence, in particular with countries that do not adequately apply proper financial standards.
Aspects of customs declarations and international cooperation, and strengthening the sanctions imposed on violators and the definitions included in the law, were also updated.
Additionally, they also include upgrading the level of the Financial Intelligence Unit as a "National Center for Financial Information" enjoying a legal personality and financial and administrative independence.
The amended law also included an integrated chapter on international cooperation in the field of legal and judicial assistance and extradition of criminals related to money laundering and terrorist financing crimes.
This development came to support the ongoing national efforts and to enhance the Sultanate's legislation in the fight against cross-border crimes, namely money laundering and financing of terrorism.
This effort exemplified in the international recommendations revised and approved in February 2013 issued by the International Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism, and in compliance with the requirements of the international agreements and treaties related to the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism ratified by the Sultanate.
In this regard, the need arose to review the Law of Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AM/CTF Law) issued vide Royal Decree No. (2010/79). The National Committee on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, therefore, issued a decision to form a working group of experts and specialists. This group worked continuously and intensively on a comprehensive review of all provisions, regulations and decisions related to the previous law. It examined all laws, rulings, regulations, and circulars in force. Similarly, it studied all international treaties and agreements related to combating money laundering and financing of terrorism offenses. Likewise, it made a full and detailed study of the modified applicable international recommendations, methodology, standards and experiences of some countries.
It also followed the best-published practices about the International Financial Action Task Force and its counterpart the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force and their legislative frameworks necessary to address the crimes of money laundering and terrorist financing.
The new comprehensive and amended act will contribute to combatting money laundering and terrorist financing in addressing legislative shortcomings, supporting the national preventive measures and fighting against economic, financial, social and political risks that may result from money laundering and terrorist financing at local and international levels.
The amended law will also foster the role of the Sultanate at the regional and international levels and raises the quality of its implementation of the approved international recommendations and its level of international commitment to the highest international standards binding all countries within the framework of the fight against crimes of money laundering and terrorist financing. Accordingly, the next phase and its requirements require concerted efforts. These efforts should aim to work tirelessly by all competent authorities and agencies to implement the Law of Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AM/CTF Law). The upcoming phase and its requirements necessitate concerted and intensified efforts by all competent and concerned authorities effectively to implement the revised Law of Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AM/CTF Law). These efforts should be consistent with the exigencies of the next phase and the new developments to serve and enhance the protection of the security and financial and economic stability enjoyed by the Sultanate and its obligations to the international community.