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More caught in web of laundering

Prosecution only authority to seize funds

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 9: The money laundering issue in Kuwait keeps weaving a spider’s web as the ‘Iranian Fouad Network’ keeps trapping social personalities and officials in it, in addition to names of MPs and other influential people who appear to have links to the suspects, reports Al-Seyassah daily.

In this context, the Ministry of Interior has announced that the State Security police had arrested a bedoun, identified only as S.T. He was picked from his posh ‘Al-Salam’ house in South Surrah on suspicion of money laundering, after investigations proved his wealth was beyond his means and was referred to the Public Prosecution for investigation. Security sources revealed the task force which raided his home ‘found in his possession some precious jewels, noting that investigations have proven that he has vast relations with a large number of influential people in the country and worked in partnership with a sitting Member of Parliament.

The sources explained, the man holding meetings and seminars in his diwaniya and was given wide media coverage. Taking part in the seminars were parliamentarians and representatives of civilian organizations. The value of his house is estimated at more than one million Kuwaiti dinars. In addition to this he boasts of possessing expensive vehicles worth about one million dinars.

The sources added, the bank accounts of the accused have ballooned significantly in recent years as a result of suspicious business deals, although he stated that he has accumulated his wealth by trading in lamps, watches and other things.” The interesting fact is that the suspect’s father is Iraqi, and holds proof that he is an Iraqi national.

In the new ‘Fouad Network’, informed security sources confirmed that investigations with the suspended employee from the Capital traffic department concluded that he was transferring vehicles registered in the name of Fouad Salehi to other people, as well as issuing vehicle registration documents for luxury vehicles through manipulation and forgery.

It stated that the suspect transferred vehicles to the names of people outside the official working hours and in the last hours before Fouad was arrested at the airport while attempting to leave the country as he became aware that the arrest process was imminent.

The Central Bank of Kuwait affirmed its close monitoring of the bodies subject to its control to verify the extent of their commitment in implementing all the legal requirements stipulated in Law No. 106/2013 regarding combating money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as the instructions and decisions issued by the Central Bank in this regard, reports Al-Qabas daily.

In response to a parliamentary question on the case of money laundering in the Malaysian Fund, the Central Bank explained that it is not within its competence to grant approvals to banks regarding the financial transfers that clients request to make. This is the responsibility of the bank in accordance with the instructions stipulated, as it must continuously follow up the movement of clients’ accounts with it. It must also verify that the executed transactions are in line with the information available about them.

The bank must also identify the purpose for which the funds are transferred abroad. Regarding measures taken by the Central Bank and the Financial Intelligence Unit regarding the sums transferred to Kuwait from abroad on Aug 26, 2017 and deposited in a Kuwaiti company’s account in a foreign bank in Kuwait or any other bank, the Central Bank said the concerned bank, in accordance with the existing obligations under the provisions of Law No. 106/2013, has performed the role entrusted to it in terms of following up these transactions, as it notified the Financial Investigation Unit about it without any delay, procrastination or laxity on its part in that regard. Regarding seizing the amounts, Law No. 106/2013 does not give financial institutions or the Central Bank the authority to reserve or seize suspicious funds, but rather this authority in accordance with Article 22 is given to the Attorney General or whomever he delegates from among the attorneys, if he has sufficient evidence related to a money laundering crime or a terrorist financing crime or a predicate offense.

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