Qatar criticized for insufficient action against crypto firms

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Key takeaways:

  • Qatar has been criticized for ineffective actions against money laundering and terrorism financing in the crypto sector.
  • FATF’s report praises Qatar’s awareness but calls for improved understanding of sophisticated forms of money laundering and terrorism financing.

Qatar, the affluent Middle Eastern country recognized for its impressive skyline and thriving economy, has gained considerable scrutiny due to its role in the international cryptocurrency sphere. 

Nevertheless, this attention has brought forth predominantly negative sentiments as Qatar faces mounting criticism for its perceived failures in effectively tackling concerns related to money laundering and the financing of terrorism associated with crypto companies.

In a report, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has called on the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) to adopt a more proactive approach in identifying and penalizing virtual asset service providers (VASPs) that violate its cryptocurrency ban. 

The report accuses Qatar of being too lenient in combating terrorist fundraising and highlights the country’s failure to demonstrate proactive measures in identifying and enforcing action against potential breaches of the ban on crypto firms, which was announced by the Qatar Financial Center Regulatory Authority in 2019. 

Although the report mentions that 2,007 transactions were rejected and 43 accounts were closed due to links with digital assets, it argues that Qatar’s authorities have not done enough to address the issue.

The regulatory body issued a warning at the time, stating that any company that provides, enables the provision of, or exchanges crypto assets will be subject to fines in accordance with the QFCRA’s rights and obligations.

Although Qatar has made “positive and sustained progress” in obtaining the beneficial ownership data for its nearly finished unitary register—a consolidation of data on its citizens—there is still work to be done, according to a recent FATF report:

“There are still not sufficient controls to ensure that all information collected remains accurate and up-to-date.”

While Qatar is conducting investigations into various cases of money laundering, the overall number of prosecutions for such offenses remains relatively low, according to the watchdog. 

The report suggests that there is room for improvement in Qatar’s investigative efforts to identify the country’s involvement in more intricate, sophisticated, and professional money laundering schemes and networks. It is important to note that Crypto in Qatar has experienced a recent breakthrough during the FIFA World Cup. The country has embraced the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment and financial transactions within the tournament.

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Aadrika Sharma
Aadrika Sharma

I enjoy writing and try to learn new things every passing day!

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