EghtesadOnline: An executive bylaw of the Central Bank of Iran has made it mandatory for banks and credit institutions to create special units to deal exclusively with possible money laundering issues.
The bylaw was issued after the government’s move earlier this month to ratify an amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Law.
As reported by IRNA, the new AML Law is a revision of previous money-laundering rules to make it compatible with new developments and circumstances.
To manage potential risks emanating from possible money-laundering and terrorism funding, lenders are obliged to critically asses and identify the risks before giving financial services, according to Financial Tribune.
AML units will decide whether or not to offer services based on the assessed risks.
According to the bylaw, establishing anti-money laundering units is compulsory also in non-bank credit institutions and officials in charge of the units will be supervised directly by the managing directors of banks.
AML departments are mandated to oversee all transactions conducted in banks and report dodgy deals and violations of AML rules to the CBI (for banks and credit institutions) or the Financial Intelligence Unit (for non-bank lenders).
FIU is a national institution, affiliated to the Ministry of Economy, tasked with listing entities having risky business structures, businesses with large financial transactions, people with risk-prone political backgrounds and those who travel to risky locations.
The body also analyzes reports on suspicious transactions and other information regarding money laundering and crimes concerning financing of terrorism.
Lenders are obliged by the CBI to identify and classify the potential risks into three levels, namely low, ordinary and high risk.
The CBI bylaw obliges non-bank credit institutions and moneychangers to participate in risk identification and risk management processes by assessing data during business interaction with customers.
Non-bank lenders are also required to appropriately assess money-laundering and terrorism financing risks when processing overseas transactions and related funding matters.
During electronic handling of transactions, lenders must take the necessary actions, such as on-the-spot or later supervision to identify exchanges that lack the important data about transactions, including the identity of the payer or payee.
They also have been instructed to draft and develop relevant policies and procedures on how these issues should be universally approached.
Daily cash payment above the limits set by the regulator is prohibited and if the customer insists on borrowing and sending money above the limits, the lenders should inform the relevant authorities.
The CBI has given three months to the non-bank lenders to restructure and reorganize their internal systems to be able to confiscate and withhold suspicious assets.
Lenders are also obliged to report scams and suspicious transactions to AML officers without notifying the customer.
The amended AML Law was signed by President Hassan Rouhani in early 2018, after it was studied by several entities, namely specialized committees in the government, parliament, the constitutional watchdog Guardians Council and the top arbiter, the Expediency Council.
The law was ratified in February 2008, and in the decade since it became apparent that it needed amendments.
In August 2018, amendments to the CFT (Combating Financing of Terrorism) Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran were approved by the Guardians Council and notified to the relevant bodies and ministries by the president.
The amendments were among the pillars of Iran’s Action Plan, followed by amendments to the AML law and accession to Palermo and CFT conventions.