Muscat – The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) has called for a review of legislation governing property investments and protecting the sector from money laundering crimes.
During OCCI’s Ramadan Nights event held last week to discuss money laundering and its impact on the real estate sector, Redha bin Juma al Saleh, Chairman of OCCI, said that money laundering is a crime that threatens global economies.
The discussion was held under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Mohammed bin Salim al Said, Head of the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The crime of money laundering, which is the transfer of funds from the proceeds of crime with the aim of concealing and legitimizing its illegal source, threatens global economies,” Saleh said.
“The funds from money laundering represent purchasing power that is not generated by real economic activity, and therefore a source of pressure on domestic prices and leads to inflationary pressures that threaten the future of the economic and social development.”
According to the president of the OCCI, the real estate sector is used by people involved in money laundering crimes. “This requires an awareness of the methods used by money launderers to enter this vital sector, especially as many countries grant residency to property investors.”
Saleh stressed the need to review legislation governing real estate investments and secure the sector against such crimes. “OCCI is playing a major role in combating this crime through outreach efforts and emphasizing caution and care in dealings, before entering into foreign partnerships.”
For his part, Salim bin Nasser al Busaidi, a member of the public prosecutor’s office, said that the judicial authority has dealt with four crimes related to money laundering this year and 14 in 2021.
He informed that crimes of this nature have decreased over the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global financial crisis and a noticeable decline in economic movement.
“Oman has a strong anti-money laundering law. The sultanate also has several internal laws and regulations that regulate the work of financial and non-financial institutions that are required to report all suspicions related to the crime of money laundering,” said Busaidi.
Hassan bin Khamis al Ruqaishi, Chairman of OCCI’s Real Estate Development and Construction Committee, said: “Money laundering in the real estate sector includes converting dirty money into clean money by buying real estate with that money even if it is double its real price. . Often these amounts are paid in cash.
Ruqaishi stressed the need to activate the real estate brokerage system set up by the Ministry of Housing and Urbanism, to intensify the sensitization of the authorities concerned and to create a partnership between the real estate brokerage companies and the authorities concerned to curb the phenomenon of money laundering.
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