Abler's Newsletter - May 2023

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AFROSAI-E Workshop focuses on Financial and Compliance Audit Manuals

A two-week workshop on ‘Financial and Compliance Audit Manuals’, opened on the morning of 22 May 2023, at the Caudan Arts Centre, in Port-Louis. The event is an initiative of the African Organisation of English-speaking Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI-E) regrouping representatives of African countries and Mauritian officials. The aim is to catalyse the implementation of the AFROSAI-E Regularity Audit manuals and make recommendations on how to align the methodologies to the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) Mauritius’ mandate.

Chartered Governance Institute (Mauritius Branch) holds conference focusing on creating resilience through governance

The role of good governance in ensuring that the appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent mishaps in organisation while improving its resilience, was underpinned by the Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr. Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, on the morning of 22 May 2023, as he launched a conference on the theme ‘Creating resilience through governance’ organised by the ICSA Mauritius Branch, at the Hennessy Park Hotel in Ebène.

Launching of Investment Guide to facilitate businesses and position Mauritius as a potential investment destination

An Investment Guide for facilitating and supporting businesses in view of positioning Mauritius as a potential investment destination, was launched by the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, during a networking event organised in the context of Europe Day, on Friday 12 May 2023, at the Le Méridien Hotel in Pointe aux Piments. In his keynote address, the Finance Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to consolidate the country’s position as a land of opportunity and development, in line with the vision set out in the Government Programmme of 2020-2024 to build a prosperous, sustainable and inclusive Mauritius. He commended the contribution of European expatriates in the socio-economic development of the country and for developing new businesses and creating employment opportunities.

The OAU’s foundation was a pivotal turning point for Africa, says Prime Minister

The foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 was a landmark accomplishment for Africans and a pivotal turning point for Africa, said the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, on 25 May 2023, at the Nelson Mandela Centre for African Culture, in La Tour Koenig. He was speaking during a diplomatic reception organised to mark Africa Day 2023 and the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the OAU, now known as the African Union (AU). The President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun; the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration, and International Trade, Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun; several Ministers; the Ambassador of the Republic of Madagascar and Dean of African Missions, Mr Albert Camille Vital; and members of the Diplomatic Corps were also present. For his part, Minister Seeruttun highlighted the fundamental values such as liberty, equality, justice, and dignity on which the OAU was founded. He recalled that Mauritius joined the OAU on 1st August 1968 and has since continuously worked to free the continent from any form of colonialism and for peace and unity to reign. The Minister reiterated the support of Mauritius to the AU’s endeavours for an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa.


UAE: Securities and Commodities Authority issues new regulations relevant to virtual assets

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) federal-level financial services regulator relevant to securities, commodities and now Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs), the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), has just issued two new regulations relevant to Virtual Assets (VAs). These are: the SCA Chairman of the Board of Directors’ Decision No. (26/RM) of 2023 in relation to Virtual Assets Platform Operators (“SCA VA Exchange Regulations“) and the SCA Chairman of the Board of Directors’ Decision No. (27/RM) of 2023 amending SCA Chairman of the Board of Directors’ Decision No. (13/RM) of 2021 in relation to the SCA Rulebook (“SCA Rulebook Amendments Regulations“).

UAE Central Bank removes insurance company’s board of directors for violating laws

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) on Tuesday, 23 May 2023, announced the removal of the board of directors of an insurance company and replaced it with a temporary committee of experts for six months for not adhering to the local laws. This administrative sanction is imposed in accordance with Article 41 of Federal Law No. (6) of 2007 on the Regulation of Insurance Operations.

Saudi fintech Mozn enters the UAE market with its AML platform

Saudi Arabia’s Mozn, which is into enterprise-level AI, has expanded its reach with the addition of a base in the UAE. The focus will be on fraud prevention technologies as well as AML/CFT solutions. “The UAE has been making significant strides in enhancing its AML compliance and combating financial fraud, and Mozn’s entry into the UAE market will help accelerate these efforts,” said Dr. Mohammed Alhussein, founder and CEO, Mozn.

Ministry of Economy and Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists sign MoU to implement AML/CFT training programmes

As part of its endeavors to support the UAE's efforts to raise awareness on the culture of compliance within the business community and to tackle money laundering crimes and combat the financing of terrorism, the Ministry of Economy (MoE) signed a partnership agreement with the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS). Under the terms of the agreement, the two parties will work together to implement a set of specialised training programmes for the Ministry employees, registrars of Designated Non-Financial Business or Professions (DNFBP) sector companies and the private sector companies operating in the DNFBP sector, starting this May. The agreement was signed by H.E. Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy; and Mr. David Karl, Head of Global Sales at ACAMS.

Regional body adopts Abu Dhabi recommendations on best practices for fighting money laundering

MENAFATF, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-Style regional body, adopted the Abu Dhabi recommendations on regional best practices for fighting money laundering and financing of terrorism. The Abu Dhabi recommendations consist of 24 best practice commitments made by MENAFATF member states for enhancing regional efforts to counter money laundering and financing of terrorism. The recommendations were agreed at the closing of the MENAFATF Typologies and Capacity Building Workshop held under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Chairman of the Higher Committee Overseeing the National Strategy on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism and hosted by the UAE Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (EO AML/CTF) in Abu Dhabi.

CBUAE’s robust policy framework supports financial stability: Mansour bin Zayed

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE)'s robust policy framework provided the foundation to achieve the targeted economic outcomes for the country, as the UAE recorded an estimated GDP growth of 7.6% in 2022, affirmed His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the CBUAE. “Despite the global trend, inflation in the UAE remained significantly below the 8.8% international average. This was in part due to the CBUAE’s decision to align with the strategy of the Federal Reserve System and raise the policy interest rate to 4.4%, as well as the exchange rate appreciation of the Dirham. Furthermore, the credit rating of the country remained high at Aa2 and AA by Moody’s and Fitch respectively, public debt level was low at 40% of GDP and credit continued to flow to both corporate and household sectors at a rate that was supportive of economic growth, said His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zaye in a message in the CBUAE 2022 Annual Report.

Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing concludes review of progress up to Q1 2023

The Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (EO AML/CTF) concluded a review of progress up until the end of the first quarter of 2023. The meeting was chaired by Hamid Al Zaabi, Director General, and attended by the executive management team. To date, the UAE has signed a total of 44 international Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, with more expected in 2023. From November 2022 to February 2023, law enforcement agencies sent out 327 requests for information to foreign counterparts through various channels, including INTERPOL, the GCC Police, Liaison Officer Networks, and special security MoUs with 110 foreign counterparts.


Consilient and Harex InfoTech to jointly fight financial crime in South Korea

Consilient, a FinTech innovator aiming to transform financial crime compliance, announced it has partnered with Harex InfoTech, Inc. to transform the fight against financial crime in South Korea. The current technologies and methods for protecting the financial system are outdated, inefficient and largely ineffective. Using federated learning (FL), a revolutionary form of artificial intelligence (AI), Consilient and Harex InfoTech will transform business processes and enable dynamic risk management to prevent financial crime in the South Korean market.

SkyCity faces further mandates in Adelaide over AML/CFT

SkyCity’s travails continue as authorities in Adelaide have mandated that the group’s local subsidiary must appoint a ‘suitably qualified independent expert’ approved by the state’s gambling commissioner to overview its AML/CTF compliance. In a recent statement, SkyCity notes that the South Australian Liquor and Gambling Commissioner has issued a ‘direction notice’ which requires a review of the group’s AML/CTF ‘and host responsibility enhancement programmes’. During SkyCity’s financial half-year, ended December 31st, the group made some $63.79 million in gaming revenue from its Adelaide casino, up just 29.5 percent yearly, mostly derived from gaming machines.

Banque du Liban: Corrective Measures needed to address loopholes in AML/CFT

The Banque Du Liban special investigation commission confirmed that the data and analysis regarding the inclusion of Lebanon on the financial grey list are not based on facts. The commission explained that the mutual evaluation report of Lebanon was discussed and approved during the meetings of the working groups and the 36th plenary meeting of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), which concluded its work yesterday in Bahrain.

Nami Foundation improves AML and CFT compliance for digital asset products with Chainalysis

Nami Foundation, a pioneering organisation in the field of digital assets and technology financial economics in Vietnam, on 29 May 2023, emphasised its commitment to compliance through the use of Chainalysis' blockchain data platform. As a result, Nami Foundation now has stronger transaction monitoring and investigation capabilities to detect money laundering and terrorist financing while protecting users from illicit activity on its blockchain services, Nami Exchange and Nami Insurance.

Head of Enforcement & AML at Central Bank of Ireland to speak at European Anti-Financial Crime Summit 2023

The Director of Enforcement and Anti-Money Laundering at the Central Bank of Ireland, Seána Cunningham, is speaking at the European Anti-Financial Crime Summit 2023. Seána has responsibility for overseeing Ireland’s enforcement investigations, AML/CFT supervision of credit and financial institutions and policy development. Last year she announced a €1.9M fine on Danske Bank for AML failings. The bank was originally in line for a €2.6m penalty, but this was reduced by 30pc in line with the Central Bank’s standard discount for early settlement. “The Central Bank recognises that, while firms may rely on automated solutions for transaction monitoring, they must ensure that systems employed for this purpose are appropriately monitored, and calibrated correctly to take account of the actual money laundering or terrorist financing risk to which the firm is exposed,” she said at the time.

European Commission details further plans for the EU’s new Anti-Money Laundering Authority

The European Commission has written a memo detailing further aspects of the European Union’s new Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA), which is expected to be fully resourced by the end of 2025, with direct supervision established by 2026. While the memo has not been made publicly available, media outlet euObserver has reported on its contents, highlighting the Authority’s intended scale, logistics, and facilities.

Anti-money laundering: Council adopts rules which will make crypto-asset transfers traceable

The EU is making it more difficult for criminals to misuse crypto-assets for money laundering purposes and making it more difficult for criminals to circumvent anti-money laundering rules via crypto currencies. Today the Council adopted updated rules on information accompanying the transfers of funds by extending the scope of the rules to transfers of crypto assets. This ensures financial transparency on exchanges in crypto-assets and provides the EU with a solid framework that complies with the most demanding international standards on the exchange of crypto-assets, ensuring that these are not used for criminal purposes.

Belize to create AML/CFT exception to central bank confidentiality

The Belizean government has introduced laws to allow the central bank to communicate with foreign regulators. The proposed legislation would also require the central bank to adopt a new ethics rule. The central bank reform accompanies a wider reform package now before the lower house of parliament. It includes a new anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) law, and other changes to laws concerning financial regulation and supervision.