Arab Times - 18/5/2006
For the first time in the history of Kuwait, a conference on fighting money laundering will be held in Kuwait. It will address the dangers of this phenomenon and the international trends to fight it. The conference will be held between Nov 4-7, 2006, with the participation of some distinguished specialists from all over the world. Engineer Badr Naser Al-Kharafi, chairman of the board of “UNIEXPO,” which will organise the conference said: “By holding this international event, Kuwait will be the focus of attention of official and private circles; as these circles seek, by all means, to make the world of finance more clean and safe. Those imposing targets indicate that Arabs are anxious to participate more actively in this world workshop that seeks to fight one of the most dangerous epidemics.”
Al-Kharafi added that the conference will be held under the auspices of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Muhammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and the presence of the Minister of Finance. It will be considered seriously by governors of Arab central banks, leaders of commercial and Islamic banks in the region, as well as such as ministries of Interior and Justice and customs authorities. Al-Kharafi said that on his occasion, there will be an exhibition that includes booths for sponsors and participants from regional and international financial firms to show the latest advances in the financial industry.
Some of the big technologies companies specialized in data analysis, and offering the best solutions and modern financial services will participate in the exhibition. The aim is to improve the local and regional economic atmosphere in accordance with the global rivalry in this field. Al-Kharafi added that some distinguished entities and groups will come to Kuwait on the occasion of the conference and the exhibition, which will guarantee its success.
* Terrorism Financing and Financial Crimes Fighting Unit, Treasury Department, USA (FINCN).
* Department of Trade, USA.
* International Monetary Fund and The International Bank.
* International Financial Activity Committee.
* Egmont Group for Inter-national Financial Inspection.
In addition to officials in the Arab and Kuwaiti financial sector, some of businessmen who are concerned with money laundering will also participate in the conference, because they are, each in his field, concerned with the safety of their transactions. Al-Kharafi confirmed that Arab Chambers of Commerce and Industry will participate in the conference to look at all possible consequences of money laundering and all modern ways in fighting the phenomenon on for a cleaner business in the Arab world. Some Arab experts from Kuwait, Egypt and Lebanon and several bankers and security and customs officials will also participate in the conference.
Al-Kharafi indicated that laws are the first different against money laundering, so parliamentarians will be present to get acquainted with the latest laws in this field. He said there will be comparative studies of the laws of some countries to come out with recommendations that boost fighting money laundering. A board of trustees will be established to sponsor the conference, boost its prospects and come out with active and feasible results. The board will consist of (25) members including (5) ministers or government officials as well as (15) distinguished businessmen.
The conference will include side sessions and workshops in which senior experts will talk about money laundering. These activities will be as a response to those who seek consultations locally and in the Arab area. These dialogues will be important and will provide the possible advices. The best which the conference is going to provide will be the direct consultations offered by world experts to the participants who asked for them, whether they are individuals or organizations.
The advices which are offered on request will be discussed in separate meetings within closed rooms and halls equipped with the suitable implements, while the meeting designed for specific questions will provide answers concerning executive, legislative and banking issues related to money laundering operations and how to confront them. Al-Kharafi referred to the importance of the conference as a good opportunity to explore the human and civilized sides of the Islamic Charity Works which have been often accused, by some Western forces, of helping in money laundering and financing terrorism.
The lectures and debates will include a detailed discussion of the different sides of charity works through complete explanations and answers about this sensitive and complicated issue. Engineer Badr Al-Kharafi said that our world now is at the crossroad, referring to the changes in our world and to globalization which affect every aspect in our life. What happens in our area means that we must be attentive to the cleanness of money and separating it from the political consequences in general and violence in particular, taking into consideration the international interest in the events of our areas.
The conference will discuss the risks caused by money laundering operations when used to finance international terrorism activities. There will be also an evaluation of the regulations and efforts against this phenomenon in the Middle East, though it concerns all the world. But developing countries are more directly concerned since it affects development efforts directly. Due to its comprehensiveness, the conference will be a great source of information about the legislative, accountancy, technological, social and political forms about fighting money laundering. There will be suggestions which refer to the weakness and how to deal with them.
By hosting this conference, Kuwait will directly be a partner in fighting the most dangerous phenomenon in the 21st century, and will be one of the first Arab countries trying to fight against dirty money coming from corruption and trafficking. It will be also the first Arab country in draining the sources of terrorism. By organizing this conference regularly, Kuwait will be one of the pillars of joint Arab and international effort to find a clean and safe financial and commercial environment.
Al-Kharafi concluded that the conference will be organized with a high level of professionalism, so that it will be a model for Arab and international conferences of this kind. It will also give Kuwait a high rank on the map and agenda of international conferences. This means that Kuwait will be able to compete with regional and international capitals which try to host such events … But Kuwait, with its financial and economic capacities as well as its advanced political regime will be proud to organize such a great conference trying to be one of the supporters of creating the welfare and the real development of the society.