Global Money Laundering Watchdog: Qatar’s Crypto Ban Enforcement Found Lacking

FATF

According to the Financial Action Task Force, the country’s central bank must actively identify and penalize service providers that violate the 2019 ban.

A global anti-money laundering watchdog reported on Wednesday that Qatar has shown minimal action against cryptocurrency companies that are disregarding a ban imposed in 2019.

Accusing the country of being lenient in combatting terrorist fundraising, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) urged the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) to enhance its efforts in identifying and penalizing virtual asset service providers (VASPs) that violated the crypto prohibition. This call for greater proactivity was made in a report by the FATF.

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The report highlights that Qatar has failed to showcase proactive measures by competent authorities in identifying and enforcing actions against potential violations of the crypto prohibition declared by the Qatar Financial Center Regulatory Authority in 2019. However, the report does mention that 2,007 transactions were rejected and 43 accounts were closed due to their association with digital assets.

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Despite the alleged presence of an unlicensed crypto provider operating in the country, no formal sanctions have been imposed on individuals or entities for violating the prohibition, according to the report. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global watchdog based in Paris, highlighted significant discrepancies between Qatar’s risk profile and the limited prosecution and conviction of terrorist financing activities.

The FATF aims to monitor and mitigate illicit financial flows, including through the implementation of a contentious “travel rule” that mandates the identification of participants in crypto transactions.

While Qatar may be considered less crypto-friendly compared to neighboring countries like the United Arab Emirates, the governor of Qatar’s central bank has acknowledged the advantages of faster payments and expressed interest in exploring a digital riyal.

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The central bank released a statement on its website stating that the assessment, which indicated the country’s compliance or substantial compliance with forty technical requirements, highlights its dedication to combating illicit financing.

Important: This article is intended solely for informational purposes. It should not be considered or relied upon as legal, tax, investment, financial, or any other form of advice.

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