Eastern Networks secures Arab Bank’s money laundering protection

Arab Bank has signed an exclusive deal with Eastern Networks and its worldwide partner SIDE to implement an anti-money laundering solution across all of its branches worldwide.

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By  Paul Barthram Published  March 24, 2003

In a move designed to protect against money laundering crime, Arab Bank has signed an exclusive deal to implement Eastern Networks’ worldwide partner SIDE’s anti-money laundering solution in all of its branches.

The solution offered by Eastern Networks and SWIFT interface and Data Extraction (SIDE) is an online filter process, which compares selected character strings to the Office of foreign assets control (OFAC) list and other lists such as the European Commission list or ones created internally by the institution itself, when identifying criminal characteristics of monetary movement.

The UAE Central Bank has urged banks to set up such advanced systems to watch the algorithms of money, which indicates criminals at work. The key to the success of the anti-money laundering law is the banks' abilities to implement total compliance, since detailed monitoring of all payments is required for the full effect of the law to take place.

With provision for ongoing software maintenance, upgrading and staff training in place, Eastern Network is set to integrate the anti-money laundering solution into Arabic Banks current network of twenty-two branches across the globe in regions ranging from the Middle East to Europe and Australia.

Commenting at the start of the new agreement Hazem Mulhim, CEO of Eastern Networks said to beat money-launderers, financial institutions must be prepared to be proactive in security arrangements and embrace the new technology:

“Many regional governments have finalised laws on making money laundering a serious crime, but the big question facing financial institutions is how to apply the law and protect themselves while preventing illegal financial activities from taking place in their institutions. The solution lies in taking preventive steps to detect cases of money laundering through a shared platform of advanced technology and access to shared solutions,” he said.

Eastern Networks has achieved a good success rate with banks in the Middle East region seeking similar solutions. Kuwait Finance House (KFH) was the first to sign up with Eastern Networks to install SIDE OFAC, SIDE Access and Duplicate Data Application (DDA), with the aim of bringing in a higher level of protection and online vigilance, KFH also currently looking to implement the advanced anti-money laundering solution adopted by the Arab Bank.

Mulhim feels that although the threat of money laundering is in the region, protection can be found through banks and financial institutions embracing technology and security solutions:

“Banks and financial institutions in the Middle East are vulnerable to the threat of money laundering because of the lack of advanced monitoring systems. The availability of SIDE solutions is changing the scenario and most banks are convinced that it is no longer a matter of choice but rather a necessity to acquire these systems,” Mulhim confirmed.

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