Economy, Business And Markets

CBI to Take Firmer Action Against Money Laundering

CBI to Take Firmer Action Against Money Laundering CBI to Take Firmer Action Against Money Laundering

The Central Bank of Iran plans to step up its fight against money laundering and terrorism financing to meet Financial Action Task Force’s standards, a CBI official said on Tuesday.

FATF is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 to develop policies to combat money laundering.

“The parliament already approved a bill in this regard and sent it to the Guardians Council for the final decision,” Trend quoted Vice CBI Governor for Supervision Hamid Tehranfar as saying.

He also said that in line with plans to promote electronic banking, commercial banks closed 250 branches across the country over the last year.

“The trend will gain further momentum this year despite the difficulties that may arise with continued reduction in the number of banking branches,” he said as reported by ISNA.

As to the extension of the deadline for registering bureaux de change with the CBI, Tehranfar said the deadline had ended on August 19 and “it was not within his authority to further extend it.” To that end, the bureau de change operators that have managed to register with the regulator within the deadline are considered as certified and the remaining that failed to show up will be labeled as uncertified, he added.

On the revised tax law requiring banks to disclose their account information to tax officials, the official once again assured that the “the goal of new amendment to the direct taxation law is not eying people’s account information, rather the government and the regulator want to create more transparency in the country’s economic activities.”

He also noted that under the law and existing capacities within the banking system, the National Tax Administration can utilize the information.

On the efforts to organize financial institutions, Tehranfar said, “Out of the 7,000 financial institutions, only a few are as large as Askarieh and Kowsar.”

Interest-free funds, bureax de change, leasing firms and credit cooperatives account for a large portion of financial institutions in the country. There are about 1,000 interest-free funds operating under the supervision of Islamic Economy Organization. They hold around 17 trillion rials in capital collectively, which is not even half the capital held by one branch of a commercial bank or a credit institution, Tehranfar noted.

Last year the CBI managed to curb speculative activity by banks with only one exception that relates to a state-owned bank that engaged with two new enterprises in return for cash, he said, without identifying the bank.

According to Tehranfar, commercial banks provided the central bank with a list of their properties.

“Commercial banks are now required to sell their surplus properties or face disciplinary measures,” he said.

He touched upon toxic loans saying that the loans’ pace of growth slowed down last year. He also said that measures have been taken to stop commercial banks from borrowing from the central bank.