Ministry Of Justice Announces New Measures for Combating Money laundering and Terror funding
The Ministry of Justice is to require mandatory notification to the follow-up and monitoring unit (Interior Ministry’s Financial Investigation Directorate) by lawyers’ offices, foreign legal offices and firms about any suspicious or abnormal activities, when conducting transactions on behalf of their customers – including real estate transactions, fund and asset management and all types of banking accounts.
The decision comes in compliance with existing legalisation in the Kingdom of Bahrain on prohibiting and combating money laundering and terror funding. It is also in line with the criteria set by the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing as well as the UN conventions and agreements and the UN Security Council resolutions.
As a result, lawyers’ offices, foreign legal offices and firms are required to verify the information provided by their customers as well clients who demand legal opinion regarding the powers of attorney and write down details in special records accredited by the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments and inform the follow-up unit about any suspicious information.
Additionally, the new rules make it mandatory for licensed lawyers and foreign firms to open accounts for professional purposes in a bank accredited by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) – all payments or funds collected from or on behalf of customers shall be deposited in the bank.
lawyers and foreign firms are also required to set up special e-records to register all lawyers’ activities, legal opinions provided to customers – citing the following details (customer’s name and data, subject of the power of attorney or legal opinion and date of the service provided to customers, amount of money paid to the legal firm, financial transaction serial number, name of the bank and date of the transfer).
It is worth noting that the Ministry of Justice defines suspicious and abnormal activities as being “the operations which are suspected to be linked, directly or indirectly, to the crimes involving money-laundering and terror funding”.