In The News

Transactions Tied to Afghan Government Risky, Humanitarian Aid Safe, Former U.S. Sanctions Official Says

Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence

01 Sep 2021

John Smith was featured in Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence’s coverage of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists’ recent webinar, where John discussed banks updating their automated sanctions screening systems to flag payments tied to the Taliban-controlled Afghan government and sanctioned parties while allowing other transactions to keep humanitarian aid flowing into Afghanistan.

If banks simply enter the word “Afghanistan” into their screening filters, “then virtually everything will get stopped,” John said during the webinar. Instead of erecting such a broad barrier, some banks are focusing their screening on known state-owned entities.

“Government of Afghanistan entities are put into their filters so [transactions] can be stopped and reviewed by the bank to see ‘Is there a potential connection to the government? Is there a potential connection to the Taliban?’”

John added: “There is no jurisdictional prohibition on doing business with Afghanistan. There are no problems with dealing with NGOs or others on the ground in Afghanistan so long as you don’t identify a hook with a sanctioned entity like the Taliban or any government of Afghanistan entity.”

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