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Compliance Guidelines:

Qatar

Simplifying the complexities of AML/CFT compliance

Regulatory Bodies in Qatar

In Qatar, the regulatory framework established by Law on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing is overseen by multiple authorities. However, primary responsibilities are vested in the following entities:

  • Qatar Central Bank (QCB)

Primarily supervises financial institutions, ensuring their compliance with AML and CFT regulations.

  • Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA)

Oversees non-banking financial institutions and capital market participants.

  • Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA)

Regulates firms operating in the Qatar Financial Centre, a separate financial and business hub.

  • National Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Committee

This is a higher committee that coordinates national efforts in this field.

  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry

This body regulates and oversees non-financial businesses and certain professions, ensuring their compliance with the AML/CFT provisions applicable to them.

Law No. [20] of 2019 On Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing

Customer Due Diligence (CDD) 

  • Identification: Entities must collect personal data like names, addresses, and occupation.
  • Risk Assessment: Evaluate the potential risks associated with a customer or transaction.

Reporting Suspicious Transactions

  • Financial institutions must report transactions that are suspicious or exceed a certain threshold to designated authorities, typically within a specific timeframe.

Record Keeping

  • Specifies the duration (often 5 years or more) for which customer and transaction data should be retained. This includes all business correspondence, identification documents, and account files.

Internal Controls and Compliance

  • Establish written internal policies for AML/CFT.
  • Regular training sessions for employees to recognize and handle potential money laundering or terrorism financing threats.

International Cooperation

  • Collaboration mechanisms with foreign counterparts, including information exchange, mutual legal assistance, and coordination in investigations.

Penalties and Sanctions

  • Administrative Penalties: Fines or bans for non-compliance.
  • Criminal Penalties: Jail terms or more substantial fines for more severe violations or for those who engage in money laundering or terrorism financing.

Oversight and Supervision

  • Details on the supervisory bodies, their powers, and their roles. Typically, this would include powers of inspection, investigation, and sanctioning.

Asset Recovery and Freezing

  • Tracing: Identifying assets derived from criminal activities.
  • Seizing/Freezing: Temporarily taking control of assets to prevent any transactions.
  • Confiscation: Permanent transfer of ownership of assets to the state after due legal process.

Decree Law No. [19] of 2021 Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing

Due Diligence & Record Keeping

  • Financial institutions and DNFBPs must promptly provide all information obtained during due diligence and any transaction records to relevant authorities upon request.

National Risk Assessment Coordination

  • Procedures for risk assessment are to be coordinated, and results documented and circulated.
  • Relevant authorities must provide requested data to the Committee and collaborate in the National Risk Assessment process.

Legal Entities & Ownership Information

  • Authorities must obtain and maintain ownership details for every legal entity and arrangement.
  • This information includes basic and beneficial ownership data.
  • Such data must be made available to public and relevant entities.
  • Legal entities are required to maintain detailed registers of their information and inform competent authorities about their location.

Retention of Records

  • Information must be kept for at least 10 years after a legal entity is dissolved or ceases to exist.
  • Directives and circulars will be issued for the implementation of these provisions.

References:

  1. Al Tamimi & Co
  2. Qatar Contracts Department
  3. Qatar Financial Information Unit
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