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UAE to Track More Money Transfers

November 6, 2002

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ After complaints by the United States that informal money transfers could be used to aid Muslim terrorists, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates announced Wednesday that all transfers through the so-called ``hawala″ system must now be reported to the government

An announcement published in all major newspapers said that ``hawala″ brokers will be required to provide the Central Bank with details of those sending and receiving money transfers, both transfers originating here and those sending money into the country.

The brokers also will be required to report ``suspicious transfers,″ the announcement said.

Hawalas, which move money around without leaving a paper trail, are used by low-wage Asian workers in countries like the UAE to send money home. They are also used by criminal gangs and others to move large amounts of money without wire or other records.

The United states maintained that money sent by Islamic charities throughout the world, including Dubai, actually wound up in the al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s accounts.

The system came under scrutiny after last year’s Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. U.S. officials also suspect the system is used by money launderers to transfer funds. The United States has been pressing countries like the Emirates to regulate the ``hawala″ system.

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