Regulatory Body of Kuwait
Kuwait's Financial Intelligence Unit (KwFIU)
According to the provisions of Kuwait Law for preventing money laundering, the Kuwait Financial Intelligence Unit (KwFIU) is an independent legal entity responsible for receiving, requesting, analysing, and disseminating information concerning suspected proceeds of crime or funds related, linked to, or to be used for money laundering or terrorism financing.
This unit's mission is to protect the integrity of Kuwait's banking and financial sector from money laundering, predicate offenses, and terrorism financing by adhering to international standards, and ensuring effective cooperation with competent authorities in order to achieve national and international peace and security.
Setting up an AML program in Kuwait
While many factors may influence the size and shape of the AML program, it should be based on a set of key criteria.
- Risk Assessment, which is a cornerstone of AML compliance and the first step toward establishing an effective program. The AML program should take into account factors like the products and services offered, the clients, and the geographic location because no two institutions face the same set of AML risks.
- Officer in Charge of Compliance - AML programs should designate a principal compliance officer to oversee the general implementation of AML policy for the institution.
- Internal Assurance, which is used by the institution to detect and report financial crime should focus on the AML compliance program. A regular review of this assurance should be part of the program in order to assess its effectiveness in meeting compliance standards.
- Audits by Third Parties - a schedule of independent testing and auditing by third-party organisations should be included in any effective AML compliance program. Independent testing should be required every 12-18 months, though institutions working in particularly high-risk areas might consider testing more frequently.
- Training - while every employee in a financial institution should have a working knowledge of AML procedures, specific employees will be held more accountable for the compliance program's implementation.
Confidentiality of Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) in Kuwait
SARs inevitably involve clients' confidential personal information and can result in serious legal consequences, therefore, it is critical that the reporting process is kept private. As a result, when SARs are submitted to Kuwait's Financial Intelligence Unit (KwFIU), the subjects of the reports are not notified, and it is illegal to discuss the SAR with third parties, such as media organisations. The confidentiality of the SARs process is also protected by a number of other factors:
- Financial investigators, management personnel, and attorneys review SAR documents.
- Employees who initiate SARs are granted special privileges to protect their anonymity.
- All reporters are granted immunity for the statements they make during the SAR process.