KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has reportedly issued new guidelines for banks to prevent the misuse of the banking channel for trade based money laundering (TBML) and terrorist financing through solar panel imports.

The SBP said that it conducted an industry-wide assessment of solar panel import transactions and found serious regulatory concerns. Therefore, it has advised the authorized dealers (ADs) to incorporate additional controls in their TBML related systems and procedures while executing import transactions of solar panel and allied accessories.

The new controls include carrying out enhanced due diligence of the exporters and importers of solar panels, especially if they are not Tier-I manufacturers or suppliers, or if they are related parties or operating from high-risk areas or tax havens. The ADs are also required to establish the beneficial ownership of the foreign suppliers and ensure a reasonable price variance acceptance threshold for solar panel imports.

The ADs are also directed to ensure that their transaction monitoring systems are adequately equipped with TBML related scenarios and that they have complete details of all the items to be imported, such as HS code, item description, etc. The ADs are also instructed to strengthen their pre- and post-trade transaction price assessment mechanism through the use of technology and other available sources of information.

The SBP warned that any non-compliance with the new guidelines may attract necessary enforcement actions under the relevant provisions of the law. The SBP also advised the ADs to ensure a similar monitoring mechanism for import of items vulnerable to the risk of TBML.