Qatar-controlled bank investigated by UK over money laundering
26 Aug 2019

The UK’s finance watchdog is investigating a British Qatari- controlled bank that has been acting as a platform for extremists’ interests in Europe.

The British-registered, Qatari state controlled bank Al Rayan, is being investigated over its money laundering controls.

The bank told shareholders that its “anti-money laundering processes and controls have been placed under formal review by the Financial Conduct Authority”, The Times reported.

The bank has come under scrutiny after it was revealed its client list included at least 15 controversial entities – four of which have had their UK accounts closed by leading banks including HSBC and Barclays.

Its client list includes groups accused of links to extremists including Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

It is believed the investigation was launched last year and has led to restrictions placed on the bank preventing it from opening new deposit accounts for anyone “categorised as high risk for the purposes of financial crime risk”.

An Al Rayan spokesman told the paper the bank voluntarily agreed to place a temporary restriction on new deposit accounts for certain people after discussions with the financial authority.

The battle against money laundering “is an ongoing challenge for all banks and Al Rayan is fully committed to the fight against financial crimes in all its forms,” the spokesman said.

“UK regulators regularly review financial institutions’ systems and processes. We continue to work with them to constantly improve our capability in this critical area.”

The bank’s clients include Finsbury Park Mosque, which was formerly run by hate cleric Abu Hamza who is serving a life sentence for terror offences in the US, and had its account closed by HSBC in 2014.

It has been listed as being associated with terrorism on the banking system World-Check, which institutions use when deciding on clients and their risk.

Read more at The National

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