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EghtesadOnline: The Central Bank of has 105 IT-based projects at hand in line with its mandate to improve transparency, responsibility and objectivity in the business environment, CBI's vice governor for IT affairs said.

"Three CBI's departments, namely payment systems, software engineering and IT support/infrastructure are working on the projects "Mehran Maharamian was quoted as saying by the bank’s public relations office. 

Projects are pivoted around three regulatory missions of the CBI to promote "transparency, prosperity and equality in business environment. Improving transparency has become a top priority.” 

On projects to identify and fight money-laundering, Maharamian said “there are myriads of projects that cannot be made public due to confidentiality.” 

As a general banking principle on transactions "the sender, receiver and purpose of transaction must be clear or else it would be perceived as suspicious," he said, adding that relevant systems and platforms are being developed to ensure and improve transparency. 

The senior official said some of the platforms are already running and are helping boost CBI regulatory oversight in implementing AML measures, such as caps on daily transactions via banks. 

In recent months the CBI has tightened AML rules and increased oversight of banking transactions. The regulator has limited transactions via all inter-bank systems to one billion rials per person per day for adult clients. For clients under 18 years the cap is up to 150 million rials a day. 

The regulator earlier compartmentalized individual and business accounts. In February, it required individual customers to show documents to support the need for transactions above two billion rials at one bank per day. 

In addition, the central bank instructed banks and credit institutions not to allow more than 500 million rials in daily transaction for a single debit card and up to 1 billion rials for any national ID number for transactions via point of sale devices.

Maharamian said a combination of such measures has helped in controlling unbridled circulation of money that contributed terribly to the chaos in the foreign exchange market. 

Plans to launch e-wallet and develop new platforms for issuing electronic checks are also in line with the CBI's ALM efforts. 

In September the Money and Credit Council, the top financial decision-making body, said banks and non-banking credit institutions can offer electronic wallets to help facilitate micro transactions.


Check Transactions Under Scrutiny  

Pointing to provisions of the new rules for issuing and transacting checks, Maharamian said all check transactions must henceforth be registered in a centralized electronic check platform. "Launching this platform will prevent money laundering with the use of checks.” 

A review by Majlis Research Center, the parliamentary think tank, suggests that checks worth 30,000 trillion rials changed hands in the last fiscal year that ended in March, accounting for more than 20% of total money turnover in the banking system. 

Cashier checks accounted for two-thirds of the total. MRC said data for such transactions and people involved were not registered with any integrated online platform, thus paving the way for money-laundering and speculation in the forex market. 

The new check law is said to organize and enhance transparency in check transactions as writers, receivers, and third parties holding checks have to register their identity in the special banking platforms designed by the CBI. 

Maharamian pointed to plans to fight online gambling sites in coordination with cyber police and the judicial authorities. 

***Automated Currency Allocation

On foreign exchange policy, the senior banker spoke about an online platform through which procedures in allocating foreign currency for import are done automatically and without human intervention. 

"Algorithms embedded in this platform are such that recognize currency allocation priorities announced by the Industries Ministry," he said, adding that the project is in the first phase.      



Iran CBI Transparency central bank