UAE banks ordered to freeze suspect assets of 30 companies
The UAE central bank ordered commercial banks Monday, November 19 to freeze the assets of 30 companies as part of a clampdown on financial irregularities in the country following the US terror attacks in September.
The central bank asked all 47 national and foreign banks operating in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to "provide the special unit at the central bank with details of those accounts and remittances to and from them." "You are also requested to immediately search for any accounts, deposits or other investments under the following names and freeze them," it said in a circular published by newspapers.
The UAE announced on October 9 a new law cracking down on money laundering as part of world-wide efforts to dry up financial resources for terrorism. Offenders face up to seven years in jail and fines of 300,000 dirhams ($82,000) for transferring or depositing hot money with intent to conceal its origin.
Money linked to illegal arms deals, drug trafficking, kidnapping, piracy, terrorism and corruption all fall under the legislation. The central bank, which established a special anti-money laundering cell, on September 27, ordered the freezing of accounts and investments of 26 individuals and organizations suspected of financing terrorist activities.
Among the list of account holders were Osama Bin Laden, Washington's prime suspect in the outrages in New York and Washington that left thousands dead, and his Al-Qaeda network. Bankers say the oil-rich Gulf monarchies are particularly vulnerable to money laundering because they host large foreign communities,
making the movement of capital hard to control. — (AFP, Abu Dhabi)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)