Counselor Ahmed Saeed Khalil, chairman of the board of trustees of the unit against money laundering and terrorist financing in Egypt, said that money laundering and terrorist financing crimes threaten the integrity and stability of the financial system of countries, and that it has negative consequences. on their economies.
In his speech before the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh, which is organized by the Union of Arab Banks in collaboration with the Central Bank of Egypt, with the participation of 350 banking experts from 16 Arab and foreign countries and will for 3 days last, adviser Ahmed Saeed Khalil added that Egypt’s presentation of this forum It comes in response to the continuous development of the mechanisms used to commit such crimes.
He added that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates the volume of criminal proceeds laundered worldwide in one year at about $2 trillion, which represents more than ten times the volume of development aid received worldwide, according to statistics provided by was issued by the World Bank during the year 2020.
He said that Egypt realizes that confronting such crimes is not an easy matter, but rather requires intensive cooperation and tireless efforts at the national, regional and global levels.
He added that with the complexity of the means used by criminals to implement their criminal schemes, the process of combating money laundering and terrorist financing has become an important and complex issue worldwide. Therefore, the Arab Republic of Egypt is constantly eager to take all measures to confront these crimes, in accordance with developments in international standards and international best practices in the application of these standards. The most prominent efforts made by the Arab Republic of Egypt in this regard will be highlighted.
He pointed out that the international standards issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) determine the need for coordination and cooperation at the national level, and to strengthen partnerships between the public and private sectors and civil society, with the purpose to identify and understand. the risks of combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
As well as the exchange of information and experiences among them; Which significantly contributes to tackling financial crimes.
In view of this, he said, the Arab Republic of Egypt has established a group of committees to ensure continuous communication between all actors in the combating process, including the National Coordinating Committee for Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, and the Committee for Supervisory Authorities on Non-financial professionals and businesses in the field of combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
He added that the Anti-Money Laundering Act stipulates that a compliance officer for financial institutions and non-financial professionals must be appointed to communicate directly with him through the relevant national authorities. He explained that international standards have established the need for a clear and unified understanding emphasized. of the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing between the various state institutions.
He added that in this regard, through coordination and cooperation between all relevant parties, Egypt has developed the national strategy for combating money laundering and terrorist financing in its first and second phases.
The head of the Board of Trustees, Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Unit, said that Egypt conducted the national assessment of risks to identify the sectors most exploited to carry out these crimes, their sources of financing and the means used was used to implement it, and notes that the results of the national assessment of risks are shared and circulated.
He stressed that the lack of a good level of understanding of risks leads to the waste of resources for high-risk sectors, thus leaving loopholes that allow criminals to penetrate the most vulnerable sectors to carry out their operations. He also emphasized that the tremendous development that the world has seen in recent years in the field of technology has seen wonderful information on various fields.
He explained that among the consequences of this development is the creation of virtual currencies aimed at enabling its users to pay their obligations electronically and transfer money to anywhere in the world without the need for an intermediary is to handle money transfers and without these transfers being subject. to the control of any party, with the difficulty of tracking operations, which can This contributes to its exploitation in money laundering and terrorist financing operations, which require great efforts to deal with this phenomenon.
He pointed out that the Arab Republic of Egypt has developed the legislative framework to regulate trading in virtual currencies after conducting the necessary research and studies in this regard, since it is prohibited under Egyptian law to issue activities, trade in, promote or export related to cryptocurrencies without obtaining a license from the competent authority.
He also emphasized the need for anti-money laundering and terrorist financing systems to include preventive measures that include financial institutions and other non-financial businesses and professions such as lawyers and accountants, who represent the first line of defense against money laundering and terrorist financing crimes. must implement.
He said that these measures include carrying out a self-assessment of risks, establishing internal policies for combating them, applying targeted financial penalties, and taking due diligence measures, including adequate measures to identify the true beneficiary.
He explained that knowing and verifying the real beneficiary is one of the important issues that the Financial Action Task Force focuses on, as many criminals hide their identities and use other legitimate people as a front for their business, either at the level of individual or commercial transactions.
Failure to identify the real beneficiaries of the criminals leads to the continuation of their criminal acts and the laundering of their proceeds.
He added that international standards indicate the need to implement Security Council resolutions related to terrorism and its financing and the financing of the proliferation of weapons, and focused on the need for every natural and legal person to impose targeted financial sanctions without delay fit, while sanctions in case of non-implementation.
He said in light of Egypt’s membership of the United Nations and in response to international standards in this regard, Egypt has established the necessary mechanisms to implement the targeted financial sanctions.
He explained that those mechanisms include the procedures related to the freezing of the funds and assets of the names on the sanctions lists of the Security Council.
The procedures for lifting the freeze, how to remove names from the lists, and the manner in which a request can be submitted for basic and extraordinary expenses from the frozen funds and assets.
He said in the context of talking about international standards and efforts to combat money laundering and financing, the importance of the role played by the financial intelligence units was pointed out, as they receive reports of suspicious financial transactions from all , analyze and distribute. financial institutions and non-financial professions and businesses With the aim of gaining access to criminal activities and uncovering criminal networks, it also conducts a strategic analysis to determine the patterns followed to commit these crimes.
He added that this is what the Egyptian Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Unit does, along with another set of roles, as the efforts of the Egyptian Financial Intelligence Unit are multifaceted as a shield that protects the Egyptian financial and banking systems, and carries contribute to the stability of the Egyptian economy, as it is an important element to promote the wheel forward development.
He also emphasized that all the efforts made in the field of combating had a significant impact on Egypt achieving high ratings, as the detailed report on measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in the Arab Republic of Egypt, praise the efforts made by the Egyptian citizen. authorities to combat money laundering and terrorist financing crimes The proliferation of weapons, either in terms of technical compliance with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, or the effectiveness of the systems applied to combat these crimes.
He added that the mutual assessment report of the Arab Republic of Egypt, dated May 2021, indicated that Egypt has a good understanding of the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing to which it is exposed. Egypt has also adopted a national strategy to combat. terrorism and its financing which is characterized by flexibility in accordance with international and local developments taking place regarding this phenomenon.
He pointed out that the report also praised the cooperation of the Arab Republic of Egypt with other countries, describing it as effective cooperation with various countries of the world. In addition, the report indicated that Egypt has adopted effective mechanisms to implement Security Council resolutions related to terrorism, its financing and the financing of arms proliferation.
Ahmed Said Khalil emphasized that the Egyptian unit has a great ability to directly and indirectly access a wide range of financial and intelligence information and other relevant information while looking into cases of money laundering, related original crimes and terrorist financing.
He pointed out – at the end of his speech – that the unit against money laundering and terrorism financing made great efforts during the evaluation process. In addition to the Egyptian Financial Intelligence Unit, the unit was the national coordinating body for the evaluation process.