March 14, 2017 A compilation of recent and topical MassPoint publications and updates on compliance, governance, and the climate around foreign investment in the United States.
On February 13, 2017, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced in the Senate the “Stop Terrorist Operational Resources and Money Act” (the “STORM Act”). The purpose of the STORM Act is to “establish a designation for jurisdictions permissive to terrorism financing, to build the capacity of partner nations to investigate, prosecute, and hold accountable terrorist financiers, to impose restrictions on foreign financial institutions that provide financial services for terrorist organizations, and for other purposes.” The STORM Act would permit the President to designate a country as a “Jurisdiction of Terrorism Financing Concern” upon determining that “government officials know, or should know, that activities are taking place within the country that substantially finance the operations of, or acts of international terrorism by, foreign terrorist organizations.”
It has been reported that Muhammad Ali’s final resting place is marked with a gravestone that bears only his name. “In keeping with [the] Muslim tradition” of simple funerary practices, “there are no dates or loving tributes.” This is most appropriate, as Muhammad Ali needs no special inscriptions or tributes. The name he chose for himself as a young man is the epitaph that describes him best. “Worthy of all praises, most high.”
Hdeel Abdelhady proposes a multilateral food security waqf, a type of Islamic trust or endowment, as a vehicle of investment in the future food security of the Middle East. This article focuses on the rationale and objectives of a waqf-based framework currently under development by the author, for application by governments, institutions, and private entities. The structures under development combine the waqf (as a foundational framework to allocate funding and other assets) with Islamic financing structures, Islamic and conventional asset management approaches, Shari’ah- and civil law-based legal frameworks, and effective governance and operational models to achieve measureable impact, in a manner that equitably and rationally distributes rights and responsibilities among parties across the food supply chain, from government consumers to small farmers.
Recent investigations of financial institutions for "corrupt" hiring of foreign officials' family members highlight links between anticorruption and AML compliance and enforcement. Financial institutions dealing with politically exposed persons and state-owned enterprises should leverage AML expertise to bolster anticorruption compliance.
Ultimately, the success of Egypt's political transition will be measured not at the ballot box, but at the breadlines. Egypt needs a national economic vision to transform its political aspirations into reality. But first the country must undergo a national mindset revolution. Egyptians must ask themselves and their leaders the clichéd question: where do they see themselves in the next five, 15, or 50 years? Will Egypt remain a foreign aid recipient whose fortunes twist in unpredictable political winds? Will its economic path continue to be paved with off-the-rack structural adjustments thought up in the halls of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund? Will Egyptians continue to accept -- and expect -- economic mediocrity? The answers, and Egypt's future, will depend on the health of the national mindset.