Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT)
Sultanate of Oman is committed to international initiatives in combating money laundering and financing of terrorism. Besides being early Party to UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988 and UN Convention against Transnational Organization Crime, 2000 and member in FATF through GCC forum, it has updated itself in legal, institutional and procedural requirements over the period.
Sultanate is a founding member of Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENA FATF).
While customer due diligence requirements had been a pre-requisite with banks in Oman from the beginning, Circular BM 610 dated 5th June 1991and BM 880 dated 29th December 1999 stressed on the enhancement of the role of the financial system in combating money laundering – referring specifically to FATF’s Forty recommendations. Among others, they required customer identification and record keeping and special attention to large, unusual and suspect transactions, development of policies, programs, training and audit and compliance functions.
There has been constant improvement in coverage and intensity by adopting recommendations for CFT (BM 923 dated 25th December 2001), setting up additional requirements like regular reporting of suspicious transactions, follow up, review, information-sharing etc.
There is no Informal Funds Transfer System in Oman.
There are bilateral and multilateral treaties for cooperation and interactions. Oman was subjected to FATF assessment in 2003, resulting in confirmation of acceptable standards as well as recommendations for improvement. They are worked upon diligently.
Follow-up actions on relevant UN Resolutions (Blocking of accounts and the like) are made.
There is a separate AML/CFT Unit, functioning in Banking Development Department of the Central Bank, for focused attention and interactions on the subject.
Licensed institutions are monitored/supervised through periodical reports and also on-site examinations. While annual examinations cover the licensees, special appraisal/investigation visits are undertaken too.
Anti-Money Laundering Law (Royal Decree 34 of 2002) and Executive Regulation (Royal Decree 72 of 2004), together with Penal Code and other laws, mandate extensive requirements and enable wide-ranging actions with National Committee for Combating Money Laundering, constituted with high-level representatives from concerned Ministries, Regulators and Law Enforcement Authorities, spear-heads AML/CFT regime in the Sultanate.