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Cablegate: Bahrain: Usg Concern Over Illicit Cash Couriers

VZCZCXRO4673
OO RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHMK #0168 0531327
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221327Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6453
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS MANAMA 000168

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EB/ESC/TFS KLEAHY AND LCANNON,
S/CT FOR GNOVIS, PHILL, AND GALER, NEA/RA FOR DMONOSSON
ABU DHABI FOR OFAC JBEAL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KTFN EFIN PTER ETTC PREL BA CTR ECTRD
SUBJECT: BAHRAIN: USG CONCERN OVER ILLICIT CASH COURIERS

REF: STATE 16120

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED; PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY. NOT
FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION.

1. (U) NEA/ARP Office Director Alan Misenheimer and Econoff
February 14 delivered reftel demarche concerning the threat
posed by cash couriers and bulk cash smuggling used to
finance terrorism and other illicit activity to Central Bank
of Bahrain (CBB) Director of Financial Institution
Supervision Abdul-Rahman Mohammed Al-Baker, Head of
Compliance Directorate Ahmed Bumtaia and Compliance Unit
Analyst Bushra Al-Haddad.

2. (SBU) Al-Baker said regulations implementing Article 5 of
Bahrain's Anti-Money Laundering Law, which addresses cash
couriers, were being finalized and would be completed in
coming weeks. Bumtaia added that these regulations were
comprehensive and reflected collaboration with every relevant
government entity, including Customs and the Ministries of
Finance, Industry and Commerce.

3. (SBU) Al-Haddad noted that Bahrain's imminent
implementation of cash courier regulations was consistent
with the GOB's desire to protect its strong banking
reputation. She noted that Bahrain had recently reviewed its
mutual evaluation with MENA-FATF and that the results of the
evaluation had just been published on the CBB's website,
www.cbb.gov.bh. She said that the MENA-FATF and the IMF were
also expected to publish the evaluation soon.

4. (SBU) Director Misenheimer noted that Bahrain's record on
banking oversight presents a commendable story and solicited
Bahrain's continued close cooperation. "Rest assured,"
responded Al-Haddad, "we will do everything in our power" to
maintain Bahrain's high banking regulatory standards.

5. (SBU) Director Misenheimer and EconOff also delivered
reftel demarche to the Ministry of Interior Economic Crime
Directorate's Anti-Money Laundering Unit (AMLU) Director
Captain Bassam Al-Miraj. (Note: The AMLU is the U.S. FINCEN
equivalent. It is responsible for investigating suspicious
transactions, money laundering and terrorist finance cases
but does not have regulatory authority. End Note.) Al-Miraj
pledged his support and echoed the CBB's description of the
status of regulations to implement cash courier provisions of
Bahrain's Anti-Money Laundering Law.

********************************************* ********
Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/manama/
********************************************* ********
MONROE

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