Monday, June 24, 2013


The uproar, from Somalia, over Barclays decision to exit all its Somali money service business accounts, conveniently fails to take into account the valid reasons for such action. Money transmitters/money service businesses in Somalia, which receive an estimated $1.2bn a year, consistently receive a failing grade when it comes to anti-money laundering and counter of terrorist financing. Indeed, they are financing designated terrorist organisations in that country, who extort millions of dollars from them, upon pain of violence. Al-Shabaab officials also have accounts at these MSB, which means there are issues of providing material assistance to a terrorist organisation.

If $500m of the remittances come from the United Kingdom, and we know that a portion is being given to terrorists, in effect funding their operations, Barclays is eminently correct in shutting down all the remittance accounts.  Canada and the United States are also experiencing issues with the unknown disposition of remittances to Somalia, and links between Somali expats and Al-Shabaab. If the Somali MSBs will be universally blacklisted, perhaps the domestic banking industry will return; what is needed is banks, with real AML & CFT, not MSBs under the thumb of terrorists.

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