The Financial Information Unit (FIU)

Pursuant to Law No.(4) of Year 2010 on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, the Articles of Chapter 5 establishment of the Financial Information Unit, its powers and obligations as follows:

Article (14)

The Unit shall serve as a central national body which shall be responsible for receiving, requesting, analyzing and disseminating information concerning suspected proceeds of crime, potential money laundering or potential terrorism financing operations, as provided for by this law. The Unit shall have a database of all available financial data and information and the Unit may disseminate data and information to judicial and law enforcement authorities for investigation or action when there are grounds to suspect money laundering or terrorism financing operations.

Article (15)

The Unit has the authority to obtain from any entity or person subject to the reporting obligation in this law, any information it deems useful for the accomplishment of its functions. The information requested shall be provided within the time limits set and the form specified by the Unit, taking into consideration the professional obligations limits stipulated under the Advocacy Law, issued by Law No. (23) of 2006. The Unit may request, directly or indirectly, in relation to any report it has received, any additional information it deems useful for the accomplishment of its functions from competent authorities, supervisory authorities, and enforcement authorities. Whenever the Unit determines that a financial institution, non-profit organization, or any DNFBP is not complying or has not complied with the obligations set out in this law, it may notify the relevant supervisory authority accordingly.

Article (16)

The Unit may, spontaneously or on request, share information with any foreign counterpart agency that performs similar functions and is subject to similar confidentiality obligations, regardless of the nature of the agency, subject to reciprocity or pursuant to the provisions of international or bilateral treaties. The information provided shall be used only for the purposes of combating predicate offences, money laundering, and terrorism financing and shall be disclosed to another party only with the consent of the Unit.

Article (17)

The staffs of the Unit are required to keep confidential any information obtained within the scope of their duties, even after the cessation of those duties within the Unit. Such information may only be used for the purposes provided for in accordance with this law.

Article (18)

The financial institutions, DNFBPs and non-profit organizations and their personnel, shall report promptly to the Unit any suspicious financial transactions or any attempts to perform such transactions, regardless of the amount of the transaction, when they suspect or have reasonable grounds to suspect that these transactions include funds that are proceeds of a criminal activity or are linked or related to, or to be used in terrorist acts or by terrorist organizations or those who finance terrorism. Lawyers, notaries, other independent legal professionals have no obligation to report information they receive from or obtain through a client, in the course of determining the legal position for their client or performing their task of defending or representing that client, or information concerning judicial proceedings, including advice on instituting or commencing proceedings, whether such information is received or obtained before, during or after such proceedings.

Article (19)

The Unit, in coordination with the supervisory authorities, shall issue directives and guidelines to assist financial institutions, non-profit organizations and DNFBPs on implementing and complying with their respective anti-money laundering and terrorism financing requirements and with regard to filing suspicious transaction reports.

Article (20)

The Unit shall report to the Public Prosecution the findings of its examination and analysis when there are reasonable grounds to suspect that money laundering or terrorism financing acts have been committed. The Unit may request the Public Prosecution to apply preventive measures with regard to suspected proceeds of crime, potential money laundering, or potential terrorism financing in accordance with the provision of Article (126) of the aforementioned Code of Criminal Procedure.

Article (21)

The Unit shall prepare an annual report describing its activities in combating money laundering and terrorism financing field and providing an overall analysis and evaluation of the reports received and of money laundering and terrorism financing trends. The annual report shall be submitted to the Council of Ministers after being perused by the Committee.