Qatar criticized for inadequate action against crypto firms.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) criticized Qatar Central Bank (QCB) for not doing enough to enforce its own rules against virtual asset service providers. The global watchdog for money laundering and terrorist financing published a report on May 31, stating that Qatar needs to improve its abilities to combat various forms of criminal activity, including sanctioning virtual asset service providers. The report highlighted that Qatar needs to understand more complex forms of money laundering and terrorist financing.

If you missed it, learn more about the effectiveness of Qatar’s measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in the FATF-MENAFATF mutual evaluation report ➡️ https://t.co/CwEJTZnb0M #moneylaundering #terroristfinancing #aml #cft #FollowTheMoney pic.twitter.com/IFiaCRxWju

— FATF (@FATFNews) June 1, 2023

In December 2019, the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) stated that virtual asset services could not be conducted in or from the Qatar Financial Centre. The regulatory authority warned that penalties would be imposed on any firm that provides or facilitates the provision or exchange of crypto assets.

Although Qatar has made “positive and sustained progress” in gathering beneficial ownership information for its near-complete unified register, there is still more work to be done, according to the FATF report. The report indicated that there are not enough controls to ensure that all information collected remains accurate and up-to-date. Qatar’s authorities were urged to improve their investigative efforts toward money laundering and to use their “sophisticated analysis capabilities” to identify instances of money laundering more effectively.

While Qatar has banned virtual asset service providers, it has revealed that it is actively exploring potential use cases for implementing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The QCB is reportedly in the “foundation stage” of issuing a CBDC. The governor of Qatar’s central bank, Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saoud Al Thani, said that the QCB is “evaluating the pros and cons” of CBDCs and working out the right technology and platform.