https://central.asia-news.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_ca/features/2020/01/15/feature-01
| Security

Kyrgyzstan eyes stricter oversight of financial remittances

By Kanat Altynbayev

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The National Bank of Kyrgyzstan, the sign of which can be seen in this photo, is seeking to expand information required from senders of financial remittances. [National Bank of Kyrgyzstan]

BISHKEK -- The National Bank of Kyrgyzstan is seeking to expand the information that senders of financial remittances must provide as part of ongoing efforts against money laundering and terror financing.

The government has submitted the draft bill for public discussion, and the document is available on the regulator's website, 24.kg reported January 6.

The initiative is aimed at complying with the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a multi-national organisation that fights terrorism and money laundering.

"Currently, banks and remittance operators require from senders and recipients of remittances only their first and last name, year of birth, home address, passport or other identity document details," 24.kg reported.

If the bill becomes law, they will have to obtain information including the date and place of birth, residential address and taxpayer identification number.

Banks and other financial institutions will add the sender's information and transaction details to an automated banking system and provide them to the National Bank within three business days of a request.

These measures reflect the efforts of Kyrgyzstan to co-operate with the FATF and to fulfil its requirements.

Progress on fighting terror financing

A few years ago, the FATF rated Bishkek low on 13 out of 40 recommendations. At the beginning of last December, after Kyrgyzstan addressed the specified shortcomings, its ratings on those 13 indicators rose.

Kyrgyzstan was at risk of ending up on the FATF's list of high-risk countries if it failed to meet the requirements, which would threaten the country with a "reduction in foreign investment and an economic downturn", warned Aibek Kadyraliyev, chairman of the country's State Financial Intelligence Service, at a news conference in Bishkek in June 2018.

However, the country's efforts on this front avoided that eventuality.

The innovations proposed by the National Bank are necessary for a more effective fight not only against economic crimes but also against terrorism, say observers.

Stricter financial regulation policies and oversight of financial flows in the country will help stop possible illegal operations, including terror financing, said Elmira Suranchiyeva, an economist from Bishkek.

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