Anti-money laundering bill of amendment past Expediency Council

January 5, 2019

TEHRAN - The Expediency Council on Saturday endorsed a bill of amendment to the anti-money laundering law, a council member announced.

Gholamreza Mesbahi-Moghadam said the bill will be sent to Majlis speaker Ali Larijani for declaration.

Larijani, Economy Minister Farhad Dejpasand, Chairman of Majlis Judicial and Legal Commission Allahyar Malekshahi and Laya Joneidi, the vice president for legal affairs, attended the council’s meeting, Mesbahi-Moghadam said.

However, President Hassan Rouhani were among the absentees of the council’s Saturday session.

According to IRNA, the bill to amend the anti-money laundering law had been approved by the cabinet ministers on November 8, 2017 and sent to the Guardian Council after a ratification by the Majlis.

However, the Guardian Council, after studying the bill, sent it back to Majlis after finding some faults with it. The Majlis insisted on its ratification and sent it to the Expediency Council, which acts as an arbitration between the Majlis and the Guardian Council.

The amendment was a preference of conservatives after the government introduced a bill on countering the financing on terrorism (known as the CFT) as a bid to facilitate the neutralization of Iran by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Rouhani’s government has been trying to implement standards set by the FATF, a global group of government anti-money-laundering (AML) and counter financing of terrorism regimes, in the hope it will be removed from a blacklist that makes some foreign investors reluctant to deal with it.

In October, the FATF gave Iran until February to complete reforms that would bring it into line with its norms or face consequences.

However, the conservatives prefer to revamp an existing domestic law over accepting a law that strictly reflects the FATF’s standards. So far two bills related amending the anti-money laundering law and the CFT have been confirmed.

‘Only two faults with CFT have been corrected’

Abbasali Kadkhodaei, spokesman of the Guardian Council, told a press conference on Saturday that the council found a series of faults with the CFT, but only two of them had been corrected.

“The Guardian Council found certain faults with the bill, and the bill was sent to the Majlis. Only two of the faults have been corrected and the other ones still remain,” he explained.

On October 7, the parliament (Majlis) voted in favor of the CFT. At the time, a total of 143 lawmakers, out of 268 ones present in the parliament, voted in favor of the bill. However, the oversight Guardian Council rejected the bill by finding 20 faults with it.

In December, the parliament made changes to the CFT. The bill was referred to the Expediency Council for further study.

‘Parliament to study CFT at presence of Kadkhodaei’

Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh told ISNA on Saturday that the committee will study the CFT at the presence of Kadkhodaei on Sunday.

“The Guardian Council found 22 faults with the CFT and three of them have been solved. The Majlis insisted to send seven items to the Expediency Council and the remaining 12 items will be studied in national security committee tomorrow [Sunday],” Falahatpisheh stated. 

Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, who was appointed as the chairman of the Expediency Council on December 30 by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, chaired Saturday’s meeting of the council. Larijani, the Judiciary chief, replaced Ayatollah Seyyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, who passed away at the age of 70 on December 24.

NA/PA

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