The announcement, by the Bank of Palestine, that it intends to open a branch in Santiago de Chile in 2017, may raise Country Risk issues for the Republic of Chile. Chile, which has a large population of descendants of Palestinian immigrants, has heretofore not been the subject of concern for terrorist financing, by Hamas & Hezbollah.
The opening of a facility of a financial institution, which was formed in Gaza, but now has its headquarters in Ramallah, with offices and branches in both territories, could provide a new funds pipeline for terrorist financiers who are funding Hamas and Hezbollah, to move criminal proceeds, earned in Latin America, into the Middle East. Such acts could result in the Bank being excluded from the US banking structure, which could be fatal to its business.
Though the bank has had a good reputation for avoiding Hamas-controlled charitable organizations, and Islamic associations, and refrains from accepting them as clients, the use of third party corporate entities, in Chile, not known to either internal compliance, or Israeli regulators, or American regulators, could result in quietly but efficiently funneling drug profits of Hamas into Gaza, or Hezbollah money into the West Bank (Judea & Samaria). Country Risk for Chile may be affected; the prudent move is to watch the Bank's activities closely, and initiate enhanced due diligence on any and all international funds transfers, for the first six months of operation.
|Bank of Palestine headquarters, Ramallah.|