Question on money transmitters and article on EU sanction list (July 2006)

Dear AML Group

(1) I am looking for webslinks to (reliable) information on the amount of money/value transmitted through money value transmitters globally or in a particular region (i.e. FATF special recommendation VI on alternate remittance services). It is for use in a training course to help keep the audience's attention.

(2) See below for an article appearing in the Irish Times on 14 July 2007 dealing with a Tunisian national resident in Ireland and his ill-fated but first attempt to be removed from an EU sanction list. Towards the end the reporter refers to a second dismissal involving a UK resident. Also, here is the link

but it is a subscription service, so it might not open for you (if not article is below).

Peter Oakes

Appeal against EU freezing of assets denied Jamie Smyth, European Correspondent 13/07/2006

A Tunisian national resident in Ireland has lost an appeal against an EU order freezing his financial assets on the grounds that he has links to the terrorist group al-Qaeda.

The European Court of First Instance yesterday dismissed the action brought by Bin Muhammad Ayadi Chafiq, a businessman suspected of funding terrorism. Mr Chafiq, who has lived in the Republic since 1997, was trying to force the Irish authorities to lift a freeze on his bank accounts ordered by the EU in October 2001.

The European authorities issued the order when his name was added to a UN list of people with links to al-Qaeda in the wake of the September 11th attacks in New York.

There are 212 people on the UN's list of people with links to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, although Mr Chafiq is the only individual who is living in the Republic.In total, the Central Bank has frozen the assets of six people for suspected links to international terrorism. In its judgment, the Court of First Instance, Europe's second-highest court, said the EU had the competence to order the freezing of an individual's funds in the context of the battle against international terrorism.

Such a measure did not infringe the universally recognised fundamental rights of the human person, said the 40-page judgment.

Last October at the hearing in Luxembourg, Mr Chafiq's counsel had argued that his human rights had been breached because he had been deprived of the ability to work or to earn money since being named on the list in October 2001.

For example, he had been refused a taxi licence in Ireland and had to rely on unemployment and rent allowances. This had prevented him from being able to provide for his wife and six children, who also live in the Republic, said Simon Cox, his counsel.

The judgment said it recognised that freezing funds constituted a particularly drastic measure, but it said the measure "does not prevent the individuals concerned from leading a satisfactory personal, family and social life, given the circumstances".

The court said people on the list were not forbidden to carry on a business activity, although the receipt of income from that activity was regulated. It said it was up to the Irish authorities to decide if they could grant Mr Chafiq a taxi-driver's licence.

The judgment says Mr Chafiq now lives with his wife, also a Tunisian national, and his two minor children. He denies any involvement with Osama bin Laden, it says.

Mr Chafiq has asked the Irish authorities to intervene on his behalf with the UN committee that is responsible for adding and removing names from the terrorist list on at least two occasions. In its judgment the court said people on the UN list had the right to ask member states to intervene on their behalf to allow them to present their case to the UN committee. It said any wrongful refusal by states to enable people to submit their cases to the committee could be challenged through judicial reviews brought in the national 

The Chafiq judgment comes as a new debate has emerged at the UN over whether there are enough safeguards to ensure that people on the suspect list are able to apply to have their names removed from the list.

For example, Denmark recently called for the creation of an ombudsman or independent review body to oversee the process. Meanwhile, a second appeal heard by the Court of First Instance, together with Mr Chafiq's case, was also dismissed on the same grounds. This case involved the freezing of the assets of Faraj Hassan, a Libyan national who is being held in Brixton prison in Britain.

© The Irish Time


I'm not aware of any reliable information on the volume of transfers through money transfer networks, although I've talked both to individual companies and a new industry association. 'Officially,' the information I've seen talks about $250bn per year; but my contacts in the industry say that this is a severe under-estimate, and that the real figure is at least $500bn per year (I understand that the figures were for 2004). You should bear in mind that this sector now includes not only the Western Union-type transfers, but also
on-line payment networks such as PayPal, and also stored-value card systems. 

I'm sorry I can't be more specific: this sector is not exactly transparent about its activities. 

Best wishes,

David Nordel
New Global Markets

Dear David


Thanks for that info.  I suspect you are right and that the estimate is at the higher end. I recently did some work for a small corner shop here in Ireland and I was shocked when informed that he earned €100,000 (US$125K) in commission per annum from sending money from Ireland to Nigeria .  At 5% this means his tiny corner store transmitted value of €2,000,000.  I will never look at my green grocer in the same light!





Peter Oakes