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Money laundering webinar: Money laundered Equal to Yemen's Budget for 3 Years!

 The participants in the webinar on "money laundering...the most dangerous outcome of the conflict" disclosed the amount of money laundered during war period in Yemen exceeds 30 billion US dollars, a figure equivalent to Yemen's budget for three years under peacetime.

In the webinar organized by the Studies & Economic Media Center, the participants clarified that money laundering operations in Yemen are being carried out clearly and apparently, and that money laundering practitioners do not need to hide because of the collapse of the anti-money laundering and terrorist financing system as a result of the war in Yemen.

  The participants recommended to essentially rebuild the anti-money laundering system in Yemen and activating its role in monitoring and ending money laundering and terrorist financing operations. They also recommended to raise the control efficiency of the anti-money laundering and terrorism financing units in the Central Bank of Yemen and national banks, as well as the unit of information collection about fighting money laundering and terrorist financing.

 In the opening, the head of the Studies & Economic Media Center, Mustafa Nasr, said that the report disclosed the widespread phenomenon of money laundering in Yemen due to the ongoing war for seven years, which damaged the anti-money laundering system.

Nasr pointed out that the signs of money laundering during the war appeared as unlicensed exchange companies, exploiting the unregulated real estate market, trading in oil derivatives, smuggling money abroad and seizing the money of political opponents by factions and parties to the conflict.

 "We concluded through this paper that there is a direct impact of the money-laundering process on the national economy. It became clear that the process is organized and companies from multiple sectors are involved in all regions of Yemen, especially the Houthi-controlled areas," added Nasr.

 For his part, the member of the Financial Information Collection Unit in the Central Bank in Aden, Osama Omar, said that the Central Bank is making great efforts to fight the money laundering despite the limited capabilities because of the country’s situation. However, we are facing great challenges, foremost of which is the state of financial division that reinforces the money laundering worsening the living conditions of the citizens.”

Omar called for the necessity of uniting efforts and the participation of all government agencies in fighting the money laundering operation and informing the Central Bank of any suspected money laundering operation.

 Associate Professor of Economics, PhD. Amin Al-Humaidi, pointed to various aspects and methods of money laundering and terrorist financing, their negative impacts on the national economy and on financial and monetary policy, damaging the reputation of the banking sector, and coursing the cash outside the monetary cycle.

The economic expert, Abd al-Salam al-Athwari, stressed that the war in the country and the resulting division in authorities, policies, resources, and public institutions led to damaging the anti-money laundering and terrorist financing system. The available legislative system for money laundering was lost, which was managed to some extent by coherent official institutions. The war and the various warring parties also contributed to expanding the circulated illegal funds and creating special illegitimate and illegal outlets.

"Neither the central bank nor the government, in their current state, is able to curb the money laundering, even by using legal frameworks, because we live in a complex situation and the tools of fighting are weak and unable to win," added al-Athwari

  PhD. Samia Al-Agbari, Professor of media at Sana'a University, presented many recommendations about the roles that the electronic press plays in fighting the money laundering and terrorist financing.  She pointed the awareness among media workers of this serious issue is important.  She explained that money laundering is fertile issues for investigative journalism specialists to work on.

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ali Atef, pointed to the importance of holding such a webinar, stressing the Ministry of Industry and Trade is careful not to permit the establishment of companies except after verifying the sources of funds through an official statement from Yemeni banks. He pointed out the importance of having joint work among all those concerned with fighting money laundering and terrorist financing, on top of them are specialists in the National Security Agency and the Central Bank of Yemen.

The webinar included many participations by those interested and observers, which focused on the contents of report issued by the Center on the spread of money laundering in Yemen going through the war for seven years. Many interventions were made by the head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Aden, Abu Bakr Baabid, PhD. Ahmed Mubarak Bashir, businessman Abdul EIlah Sallam and others.

The participants called on all parties to assume their responsibility towards the spread of money laundering in Yemen, and to fight this phenomenon, which negatively affects the national economy.

The participants also recommended to end the currency division, which helped spread the money laundering and downfall the local currency and its repercussions on commodity prices. They also recommend to work to develop quick solutions, with absolute transparency, to ensure that a humanitarian disaster is avoided in the country due to the continuous collapse of the national economy.

A recent report by the Studies & Economic Media Center had disclosed the spread of money laundering and the disruption of the anti-money laundering system in Yemen due to the ongoing war.

  It is noteworthy that the Studies & Economic Media is a non-profit NGO that works for rehabilitation and awareness of economic issues, promoting transparency and citizens' engagement in decision-making, working to create professional media, empowering youth and women economically and promoting their role in building peace.

  For more information, visit the link to the webinar on Facebook:



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