Search

 

Cablegate: Update On Yemen's Anti-Money Laundering And

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHYN #1568/01 2661405
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221405Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANAA
TO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0340
INFO RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0896
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SANAA 001568

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR S/CT FOR GARY NOVIS
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ARP FOR ANDREW MACDONALD
DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC FOR FINCEN FOR DANIEL HARRIS AND
YAMAM FADL
DEPT OF JUSTICE FOR ASSET FORFEITURE AND MONEY LAUNDERING
SECTION FOR ROBERT STAPLETON
FBI FOR TERRORIST FINANCE OPERATIONS SECTION FOR JILL MURPHY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIN KCRM KTFN PREL PTER SNAR YM
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON YEMEN'S ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING AND
COUNTER-TERRORISM FINANCING EFFORTS

REF: A. 07 SANAA 1418
B. 07 SANAA 1423
C. 07 SANAA 1424
D. 07 SANAA 1425

1. This is an action request. Please see paragraph 7.

2. SUMMARY: The ROYG has recently taken some actions in the
field of anti-money laundering (AML), including forming a
Supervisory Committee to oversee AML efforts and
restructuring of the Central Bank's Anti-Money Laundering
Information Unit. Yemen, however, still does not have a
counter-terrorism financing law. It remains to be seen if
these steps will advance the state of play on this issue,
which has been otherwise stagnant for over a year. Post
recommends that AML training opportunities be provided right
away. END SUMMARY.

NEW SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE TO ASSIST IN AML AND CTF
--------------------------------------------- -----

3. In a September 14 meeting, Tax Authority Chair and
National Anti-Money Laundering Committee (NAMLC) member Ahmed
Ghaleb told Econoff that President Ali Abdullah Saleh is
fully committed to carrying out recommendations listed in
both the Financial Systems Assessment Team's (FSAT) and the
Middle East North Africa Financial Action Task Force's
(MENAFATF) reports. (Note: The multi-agency FSAT, led by
Gary Novis of S/CT, conducted an in-country evaluation of
Yemen's capacity to combat money laundering and terrorist
financing, in order to determine its most critical training
and technical assistance needs on March 1-7, 2007 (refels).
The FSAT team generated a report, which Econoff released to
Ghaleb on March 25, 2008. End note).

4. Ghaleb said that in early September, President Saleh
formed a "Supervisory Committee" to oversee Yemen's
anti-money laundering (AML) program, which would be chaired
by Minister of Finance Numan al-Suhaibi. This Supervisory
Committee is a separate institution from the NAMLC, but all
members of the NAMLC would serve on the Supervisory
Committee. According to Ghaleb, the Supervisory Committee
would have more authority than the NAMLC since it contains
more powerful members, including the Deputy Minister of
Interior, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, the
Deputy Minister of Communications, the Deputy Chair of the
National Security Council and the Central Bank Governor.
Ghaleb noted that the Supervisory Committee would meet on an
ad-hoc basis and will eventually appoint a technical
committee to carry out FSAT and MENAFATF recommendations,
which would serve as the ROYG's AML Action Plan. (Comment:
The sucess of the Supervisory Committee will depend on the
political will of its members and whether it complements the
NAMLC. End comment.)

RESTRUCTURING OF ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING INFORMATION UNIT
--------------------------------------------- ----------

5. In addition to forming a Supervisory Committee, the ROYG
has decided to restructure the Central Bank's Anti-Money
Laundering Information Unit (AMLIU). The Head of the AMLIU,
Abdo Hezam Saif, told Econoff on September 16 that the World
Bank released an assessment report in August 2008 that
outlined plans for restructuring the AMLIU. In accordance
with recommendations from the report, the World Bank will
help establish three units within the AMLIU: one to deal
with financial investigations, another for receipt of
complaints, and a third for database maintenance and exchange
of information. (Comment: The AMLIU already has these three
units within its structure, but is very understaffed. This
project will be beneficial if it improves efficiency of AMLIU
operations and addresses the personnel issue. End Comment.)


TRAINING NEEDED
---------------

6. Success of Yemen's AML program will depend on adequate

training. Unfortunately, since the March 2008 release of the
FSAT report, no anti-money laundering training has taken
place in Yemen. Ghaleb emphasized that training is crucial,
especially for the AMLIU. Abdo Hezam Saif added that twenty
ROYG offices will need to be trained in AML techniques,
including the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Industry and
Trade, the Customs Authority and the Prosecutor's Office. An
optimal location for training of ROYG officials, according to
Saif, would be Egypt. He said that the ROYG plans to
participate in a workshop sponsored by the U.S. Department of
Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen)
which will take place in Cairo in November.

7. ACTION REQUEST: Post recommends that S/CT and the U.S.
Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
organize training for officials from the AMLIU, the Customs
Authority and the Attorney General's/Prosecutor's Office in
conducting anti-money laundering investigations and other
areas, pursuant to recommendations from the FSAT Report.

COUNTER-TERRORISM FINANCING LAW STILL PENDING IN PARLIAMENT
--------------------------------------------- --------------

8. Despite progress in the field of AML, Yemen still does
not have a Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) law. A joint
technical committee (which was formed from the NAMLC and the
Central Bank of Yemen's Anti-Money Laundering Information
Unit (AMLIU)) completed a draft AML and CTF law in July 2007,
with assistance from the United Nations Office of Drugs and
Crime (UNODC), the IMF and the World Bank. The committee
submitted the draft law to the Cabinet in mid-August 2007.
Ghaleb informed Econoff on September 14, 2008, that the draft
law is still being reviewed by three committees in
Parliament: the Finance Committee, the Islamic Sharia
Committee and the Constitutional Committee. He added that
the NAMLC is consulting with the Yemen Lawyers Association
about the draft law and is "pushing hard to get the law
approved." One of the major reasons that the CTF legislation
is held up in Parliament, according to Ghaleb, is that some
Parliamentarians assert that the term "terrorism" is poorly
defined. Another stumbling block is the Yemen Lawyers
Association. According to the Central Bank's Anti-Money
Laundering Unit General Manager for Legal Affairs, Mustafa
Kaid, there is still a lot of misunderstanding about the
draft law among the lawyers. In order to increase awareness
of the law among Parliamentarians, the AMLIU sent three
members of the Finance Committee (one from the pro-government
General People's Congress (GPC) and two from the opposition
Joint Meetings Party (JMP)) to Beirut in June 2008 on a study
tour of Lebanon's AML institutions. GPC Finance Committee
member Mohamed Abdo Saeed confirmed to Econoff on September
15 that the draft law is in the late stages of review and may
be presented to Parliament for a final vote by the end of
2008.

COMMENT
-------

9. Not much action has taken place regarding AML and CTF in
Yemen since the release of the FSAT report. Post does not
expect rapid passage of the CTF law because Parliament's
attention is focused on other issues, like the April 2009
Parliamentary elections. President Saleh, however, appears
genuinely interested in AML and CTF as demonstrated by his
recent founding of a Supervisory Committee and the
restructuring of the AMLIU. Whether these two bodies will be
effective mechanisms for AML remains to be seen. Post will
continue to engage the ROYG through training opportunities
and possibly field visits by experts from the U.S. Treasury's
Financial Crime Enforcement Network.

SECHE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC