AML in Egypt

Egypt is one of the nations grappling with the challenges of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Since the late 1980s, money laundering has emerged as a significant global issue. In response, the United Nations established the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 1989 as an international organization dedicated to combating financial crimes. The primary objective of establishing the FATF was to formulate global standards aimed at addressing and curbing financial criminal activities.

In addition to international anti-money laundering policies, governments have implemented their own national AML policies. In 2002, the Egyptian Government introduced the Combating Money Laundering (CML) Law as a legal framework to combat financial crimes. Through this legislation, money laundering was officially recognized as a criminal offense in Egypt. Over the subsequent years, the CML Law was strengthened with the implementation of new AML regulations. As part of the CML Law, the Money Laundering Combating Unit (MLCU) was established in 2002, serving as Egypt’s financial intelligence unit. The primary responsibility of the MLCU is to analyze suspicious transaction reports received from financial institutions and other organizations. If any criminal activity is identified in these reports, the MLCU is responsible for reporting it to law enforcement authorities.

To further enhance regulatory oversight, the Egyptian Government established the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) in 2009. The FRA is tasked with auditing and regulating non-banking financial institutions. Its main objective is to promote the development and stability of non-banking financial entities. Additionally, the FRA takes measures to safeguard the non-banking financial sector from financial crimes.

In Egypt, anti-money laundering regulations have imposed various obligations on banks operating within the country to combat financial crimes effectively. Banks fulfill these AML obligations by conducting checks throughout the customer account opening and transaction processes. The compliance of banks and other financial institutions with these money laundering regulations plays a crucial role in the ongoing fight against financial crimes.

  • Account Opening:

Banks are required to adhere to the Know Your Customer (KYC) policy when opening customer accounts. They must obtain and verify customer information, and they are prohibited from opening accounts for individuals using anonymous or fraudulent identities. Banks are responsible for maintaining accurate and updated customer information.

  • Banking Transactions:

Banks are responsible for monitoring customer transactions. They need to exercise caution when dealing with high-value transfers involving individuals with whom the customer does not have a business relationship. If deemed necessary, banks should prepare suspicious transaction reports.

  • Reporting Suspected Money Laundering Transactions:

Compliance officers within banks are responsible for detecting and reporting suspicious transactions. They must report any customer transactions suspected of being involved in money laundering to the relevant authorities. Compliance officers committing tolerance towards suspicious transactions would be considered a serious offense.

  • Document and Record Keeping:

Banks have a responsibility to maintain customer records for a minimum of five years. It is the banks’ duty to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of the information. Authorized entities have the authority to access customer records during audits.

  • Training:

Banks are required to conduct training programs for compliance officers at least once a year. These programs provide information about money laundering methods and detection techniques. Banks must keep records of these training programs for at least five years.

To ensure compliance with anti-money laundering regulations, banks operating in Egypt must fulfill the aforementioned AML obligations. Failure to meet these obligations leaves banks susceptible to financial crimes.