A British bank owned by Qatar and linked to Islamist organizations is under investigation over its money laundering controls.
Al Rayan has been restricted on who can open deposit accounts with it following the launch of a probe by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) last year.
According to the Arab News website, Al Rayan has Islamist groups on its client list. Among its account holders are groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a charity banned in the US as a terrorist entity, groups that promote hard-line preachers, and a mosque whose trustee is a Hamas leader.
The bank’s annual report filed in May said Al Rayan’s “anti-money laundering (AML) processes and controls have been placed under formal review by the Financial Conduct Authority, which has led to ongoing investment in enhanced AML processes.”
The FCA restrictions mean the bank must not accept or process any new deposit account applications from a “person categorised as high risk for the purposes of financial crime risk” and “politically exposed persons” or their families and close associates.
A spokesperson for Al Rayan said it “voluntarily agreed to place a temporary restriction on new deposit accounts for individuals classified as high risk or politically exposed”, following discussions with the FCA. The bank “is committed to ensuring that our risk management policies and practices remain appropriate for a bank of our size and complexity”, the spokesman said.