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Banks suspect transfers through SWIFT

KUWAIT: Local banks have told their money exchange company customers to stop all foreign money transfers through SWIFT operations, after receiving warnings from American banks that such dealings have a high risk of the possibility of money laundering and financing terrorism. Banking sources said dealings with exchange companies are now constituting a burden on banks and threaten their dealings with banks in the US, especially since transfers and dealings are in dollar worldwide, and are under American law.

They said dealings with exchange companies are done through opening a bank account where money is deposited to buy the required amount of dollars to be transferred from the bank. Such operations bring good returns for banks, but the cost will be higher if they lose their relations with American banks.

Sources said that some transfers made through exchange companies did not have all required documents, and some are doubtful, making some banks to decide to stop dealings with those companies, including a bank that officially informed its exchange company customers of the decision. The sources said repercussions may go beyond the banks and exchange companies, with a request from security authorities asking for information on the operations that were monitored. – Al-Qabas

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