The Money Laundering Law under the State of Qatar Vs. JMLSC

Bachir El Nakib, (CAMS) Senior Consultant, Compliance Alert (LLC)

In the UK, the person charged with responsibility for a regulated firm's AML activity, procedures and practice is called the Money Laundering Reporting Officer. According to the Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA"), the MLRO's job within a regulated firm is "to act as the focal point for all activity within the firm relating to AML". This individual must be a certified person — one who is personally certified by the authorized firm and the FCA to carry out that role under the FCA's Senior Management Regime ("SMR").

The MLRO is designated as SMR17, and is the formal link between the firm and the regulator and appropriate national AML authorities. The term MLRO was coined by the Financial Services Authority (the regulator prior to the FCA), and is not used or referred to in either the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, which use the term "Nominated Officer".

Depending on the size and structure of the regulated firm the MLRO may work alone, as the head of an AML team, or for the largest regulated firms, within a group-type structure. Whether there is a branch network, say for the clearing banks, or a group structure for the large firms with few actual offices, there will still need to be an MLRO, (an approved person).

If in one of these larger structures the MLRO needs to delegate the functions and activities to those working for him, he or she will still retain the Compliance Oversight responsibility in relation to the FCA/PRA (Prudential Regulatory Authority).

The ultimate responsibility for a firm's AML controls lies with the controlled function of MLRO. The MLRO will need to delegate with care, as it will be the MLRO that the police, National Organised Crime Agency ("NCA") or the FCA will want to speak to should anything go wrong. These are primary law and cover issues such as:

  • Systems and training to combat money laundering;
  • ID procedures, e.g., documentation requirements;
  • KYC and KYB;
  • Record-keeping procedures;
  • Internal reporting procedures;
  • Applicable Sanctions.

In addition, there are Anti Money Laundering Directives issued by the European Parliament.

The FCA also requires firms to implement systems and controls to counter financial crime. These rules are set out in the senior management systems and control handbook. The coverage of AML in this document is, however, brief, and gives high-level rules and guidance only. 

The State of Qatar, also has a statutory objective to minimise the extent to which Bfirms can be used in connection with any type of financial crime. In keeping with its anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) objectives, the QFC Regulatory Authority maintains a dedicated unit for this purpose that monitors risks arising from financial crime, set the agenda for enhanced AML/CFT supervision of firms and to continue the process of effective implementation of the AML/CFT law and rules among others.

Under the auspices of NAMLC, QFC the Regulatory Authority has continued to work closely with other State AML/CFT agencies in further developing harmonised AML/CFT rules in line with the State Law and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards. It also contributed to Qatar’s on-going engagement with international standard setting bodies.

The QFC Regulatory Authority actively participates in the activities of NAMLC; it engages with Government departments and agencies to pursue the manner in which the standards on AML/CFT can be more effectively implemented by those departments and agencies.

To read more about the MLRO and DNFBPs under Qatar Anti Money Laundering see below:

Designated Non Financial Business Professionals (DNFBPs)

(1) Real estate brokers, if they act in transactions for customers in relation to buying or selling of real estate, or both.

(2) Dealers in precious metals or stones, if they engage with their customers in cash transactions equal to a minimum of 55,000 Riyals.

(3) Lawyers, notaries, other independent legal professionals, or accountants, whether sole practitioners, partners or employed specialists in specialist firms, if they prepare, execute, or conduct transactions for clients in relation to any of the following activities:

(a) buying or selling real estate.

(b) managing client money, securities or other assets.

(c) managing bank, savings or securities accounts.

(d) organising contributions for the creation, operation or management of companies or other entities.

(e) creating, operating or managing legal persons or legal arrangements.

(f) buying or selling business entities.


(4) Trust Funds and Company Service Providers, if they prepare, or conducts transactions for customer on commercial basis in relation to any of the following activities:

a) acting as a founding agent of legal persons.

b) acting as, or arranging for another person to act as, a director or secretary of a company, a partner of a partnership, or a similar position in relation to other legal persons.

c) providing a registered office, a business headquarter, or correspondence address or an administrative address, for one of the companies, partnerships or any other legal person or legal arrangement.

d) acting as, or arranging for another person to act as, a trustee for a direct trust fund. e) acting as, or arranging for another person to act as, a nominee shareholder on behalf of another person. 

(5) any other business or profession prescribed and regulated by a resolution issued by the Prime Minister upon the proposal of the Committee.  

The National Anti Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Article (10)

A committee named “The National Anti Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing” shall be formed at Qatar Central Bank, under the presidency of Qatar Central Bank Deputy Governor, and the membership of:

1. Two representatives of the Ministry of Interior, one of them to be chosen among the directors of the ministry’s competent departments and to be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Committee.

2. Head of the Unit.

3. Two representatives of the Ministry of Economy & Finance, one of them to be chosen from the General Directorate of Customs.

4. Representative of the Ministry of Business & Trade.

5. Representative of the Ministry of ٍSocial Affairs.

6. Representative of the Ministry of Justice.

7. Representative of the State Security Bureau.

8. Representative of the Qatar Central Bank.

9. Representative of the Public Prosecution.

10. Representative of the Qatar Financial Markets Authority.

11. Representative of the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority.

12. Representative of the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers. Each body shall nominate its own representative, provided that its grade shall not be lower than head of department or an equivalent grade. The Chairman, the vice-chairman and the members shall be appointed by a resolution issued by the Prime Minister who may also appoint other representatives from other bodies, upon the proposal of the Committee. The Committee shall have a secretary, and a number of Qatar Central Bank employees to accomplish secretarial tasks, and whose names to be mandated, functions and remunerations to be prescribed by a resolution by the QCB governor.

Article (11) The Committee shall have the following powers:

1. Set the national anti-money laundering and terrorism financing strategy for the State.

2. Facilitate coordination among the Ministries and authorities represented in the Committee.

3. Study and follow the international developments in fighting against money laundering and terrorism financing, and issue recommendations to the relevant government authorities regarding the improvement of the regulatory instructions and controls issued by the supervisory authorities in the State and suggest legislative amendments in line with those developments.

4. Monitor the implementation by competent authorities of the fighting against money laundering and terrorism financing legal and institutional framework.

5. Coordinate and host national training programs on anti-money laundering and terrorism financing.

6. Take part in anti-money laundering and terrorism financing international meetings and conferences.

7. Coordinate with the National Counter Terrorism Financing Committee, formed under the Council of Minister Resolution No. (7) of 2007, with regard to all what is related to international, regional and bilateral terrorism financing conventions and treaties and with regard to developing proper mechanisms for enforcement of the United Nations resolutions related to combating terrorism financing.

8. Coordinate with the National Committee for Integrity and Transparency issued by Emiri decree No. (84) of 2007, with regard to the committee’s activities.

9. Prepare and submit an annual report to the Governor of the Central Bank regarding the activities and efforts deployed by the Committee and the national, regional and international developments in the antimoney laundering and terrorism financing field and the Committee’s proposals to strengthen control systems and regulations inside the State. Article (12) The Committee shall be convened by its Chairman whenever needed. The meetings shall be held at non-official working hours, however meetings may be held at official working hours, if necessarily required. The meetings shall not be considered valid without the presence of the chairman or the vice-chairman.

The Committee issues its recommendations by majority of votes present. In case of tie vote, the Chairman shall cast the deciding vote. The vice-chairman will deputize for the chairman in his absence. The committee shall put in place its work system, including the rules required for the exercise of its functions. The Committee may select workgroups among its members or other members, or delegate any of its members to address specific tasks falling under its competences. It may also have recourse to experts selected from among the government’s employees or any other experts to assist the Committee in performing its duties.