OMAN BACKGROUND CHECK

General Information

GDP USD81.8bn (World ranking 65, World Bank 20142)
Population 3.93 million (World ranking 129, World Bank 2014)
Form of state Monarchy
Head of government His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said
Next elections 2019, Consultative Assembly (shura)

CURRENT LOCAL TIME

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PRODUCTS IN OMAN

Oman – Know Your Customer (KYC) Rules

Oman is not a regional or offshore financial center and does not have significant money laundering or terrorist financing concerns. Due to its location on the tip of the Strait of Hormuz, Oman is home to a small number of smugglers operating between Musandam, the northern-most exclave of Oman, and Iran. Omani authorities are aware that growing Iranian overtures toward Oman for increased trade and engagement may create conditions for AML/CFT concerns. Trade is generally financed in small amounts of cash and features mainly consumer goods. There is no indication this activity is tied to terrorist financing. There is also a small amount of narcotics trafficking in Oman, although the government is proactive in tracking and prosecuting drug traffickers. Sources of illegal proceeds are generally small and derived from smuggling or drug trafficking activities. Smugglers are generally Iranian while drugs are trafficked by Omani citizens. Oman-based hawaladars that have been involved with illicit transfers for terrorist financing purposes have been closed down by Omani authorities. Corruption, primarily in the form of cronyism or insider operations, remains a concern.

Money laundering is centered in the formal financial system, rather than in the port free zones or informal sector. In 2011 the Central Bank of Oman licensed Islamic Banking. There is no offshore financial center in Oman.

KNOW-YOUR-CUSTOMER (KYC) RULES:

Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs:

A PEP is an abbreviation for Politically Exposed Person, a term that describes a person who has been entrusted with a prominent public function, or an individual who is closely related to such a person. The terms PEP, Politically Exposed Person and Senior Foreign Political Figure are often used interchangeably

    • Foreign PEP: NO
    • Domestic PEP: NO

Oman – KYC covered entities

The following is a list of Know Your Customer entities covered by Omani Law:

    • Banks
    • Foreign exchange companies
    • Investment and credit companies
    • Insurance companies
    • Companies and individuals providing financial services
    • Stock and securities brokers
    • Real estate brokers
    • Dealers in precious metals and stones
    • Notary publics
    • Lawyers and accountants

Oman – Suspicious Transaction Reporting (STR) Requirements:

Number of STRs received and time frame: Not available

Number of CTRs received and time frame: Not available

The following is a list of STR covered entities covered by Omani Law:

    • Banks
    • Foreign exchange companies
    • Investment and credit companies
    • Insurance companies
    • Companies and individuals providing financial services
    • Stock and securities brokers
    • Real estate brokers
    • Dealers in precious metals and stones
    • Notary publics
    • Lawyers and accountants

MONEY LAUNDERING CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS/CONVICTIONS:

Prosecutions: Not available
Convictions: Not available

ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND COMMENTS:

The Government of Oman (GOO) has been improving its AML/CFT regime, beginning with a 2010 overhaul of its legislation. To implement the 2010 law, Oman has retooled its legal, regulatory and enforcement mechanisms. In response to corruption issues, the government empowered the State Audit office with greater investigatory power.

Currently Oman‘s financial intelligence unit (FIU), located within the Royal Oman Police, receives few STRs from non-bank entities. In practice, about 95% of STRs are received from banks, mostly foreign. The FIU does not have access to daily transaction flows via the Central Bank database. The FIU recognizes its lack of capacity in forensic analysis, compromising its ability to analyze financial data and seriously pursue AML cases. The Omani government openly discusses its AML/CFT enforcement efforts, although it does not publish information regarding suspicious transactions and criminal prosecutions. The Financial Investigations Unit in the Royal Oman Police is the responsible entity for enforcing AML/CFT laws and regulations, and law enforcement authorities generally respond to requests for assistance from foreign counterparts.

Under the 2010 AML/CFT law, Oman introduced a declaration system for bulk cash, bearer negotiable financial instruments, and precious metals and stones, requiring all amounts over OMR 6,000 (approximately $15,600) or its equivalent to be declared to the authorities. However, Omani authorities, from the FIU to law enforcement, have no central database; more than 70 databases currently receive and analyze different data sets with no connectivity.

Oman issued Royal Decree 104/2011 on October 23, 2011 ratifying the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism; Oman became a party to this convention on November 10, 2011.

To enhance their operational capabilities, the Omani authorities should hasten efforts to finalize steps aimed at empowering the FIU and law enforcement authorities. These authorities should undertake training to improve analytical and investigatory capacity. The FIU should perform outreach to non-bank financial institutions to improve reporting from the non-bank sectors. It is critical that the GOO enhance and integrate its databases to ensure access by the Omani interagency authorities to the information stored in them. The GOO also should require enhanced due diligence procedures for politically exposed persons, and collect and publish statistics indicating numbers of STRs, prosecutions, investigations and convictions in line with international standards. The GOO should ratify the UN Convention against Corruption.

Police Background Check Procedures

Who can apply?

•Nationals, residents and non-resident expatriates may apply.
•Third party applicant cannot apply.
•Disclosures of criminal records are only issued through official channels when the individual is
wanted for a heinous crime, and via a bilateral disclosure agreement.

Where?

•In person at local Royal Oman Police station.

What must the applicant supply?

Omani nationals:

•Completed application form
•Copy of passport or identity card
•Two photographs
•Payment of fee

Resident expatriates:

•Letter from sponsor
•Completed application form
•Copy of passport
•Two photographs (against blue background)
•Fingerprints (taken at station)
•Payment of fee
For non-resident expatriates:
•Letter from applicant containing their name and postal address
•Two photographs
•Copy of passport including Omani residence stamp page
•Receipt for transfer of fees

What are the costs / turnaround times?

For Omanis and resident expatriates:

•Omani Rial 3.000 (approx. GBP£ 3.00)For non-resident expatriates:
•Transfer of USD $12 (approx. GBP£ 8.00)
•Turnaround is up to two weeks.

Contact Details

Applications sent to:
Director of Criminal Evidence
Directorate General of Inquiries and Criminal Investigations
Royal Oman Police
P.O. Box 446 Muscat
113 Sultanate of Oman
Website:http://www.rop.gov.om/english/
Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman
167 Queens Gate
SW7 5HE
Tel: 020 7225 0001
Fax: 020 7589 2505
Monday-Friday 09:00-15:30

Risk

Sovereign risk

Lower oil prices threaten to erode the fiscal and external account buffers built up in previous years. The government has in the past primarily used oil income for project financing and is planning to raise a bond in 2015 (as an alternative). Moreover, debt-service commitments can be covered easily by the Central Bank of Oman’s foreign reserves and/or the sovereign wealth fund’s assets.

Banking sector risk

Strict regulation and supervision, as well as banks’ well-developed credit risk management systems, are supportive of the strong rating. The banking system is well capitalised and liquid, but profitable lending opportunities could be more difficult to come by as the government scales back on public investments owing to lower hydrocarbons revenue.

Political risk

Ongoing uncertainty about the succession process is the main risk to stability. Speculation about the sultan’s health (despite his return in March from medical treatment in Germany) and about who will replace him is increasing. The risk of further social unrest cannot be discounted despite government efforts to combat official corruption and provide employment opportunities for nationals.

Economic structure risk

Heavy reliance on oil and gas revenue poses the greatest risk to the economy. Nevertheless, the country has a relatively diversified economy compared with its neighbours in the Gulf, with growing tourism and services sectors.

Travel Risk

Security

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Terrorism

Although Oman has not been subject to terrorist attacks, reports emerge periodically throughout the Arabian Peninsula that terrorists plan to attack specific locations. These are typically accompanied by a visible increase in the presence of security forces. Targets could include government buildings, public areas, areas frequented by tourists and Western interests. Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness at all times, particularly near the Yemeni border.

On September 21, 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) released a statement threatening retaliation for the American -led coalition campaign against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. The statement encouraged opportunistic and indiscriminate attacks against citizens and interests of countries supporting the coalition, which includes Canada. Individuals and terrorist groups in the region may be inspired to carry out attacks in a show of solidarity with ISIL. Exercise a high degree of personal security awareness at all times, maintain a heightened level of vigilance and be aware of your surroundings.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations may occur as a response to regional developments and socio-economic conditions. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation and may turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Crime

The crime rate is low and violence is rare, including against foreigners. Robbery and auto theft can occur. To reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim, do not show signs of affluence and ensure that your personal belongings and passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Do not travel alone after dark.

Lock car doors and keep windows closed. Do not leave vehicles unattended. Inspect both the exterior and interior of your vehicle upon return to detect any attached device or suspicious package.

Treat mail and packages from unfamiliar sources with suspicion. Contact your visa sponsor or the police if you suspect anything unusual.

Road travel

Exercise caution when driving in rural areas, especially after dark, because of roaming animals, insufficient lighting and speeding drivers.

In the event of an accident, wait until the police have made an official report before moving your vehicle, except in the Governorate of Muscat, where drivers involved in an accident must move their vehicles to the side of the road to reduce congestion. Anyone deemed responsible for a motor vehicle accident may be detained for 48 hours. Consult the Royal Oman Police for more information on traffic rules.

Off-road driving can be hazardous. Undertake off-road driving in a convoy of four-wheel-drive vehicles and with an experienced guide only. Leave a travel itinerary with a family member or friend. Be well prepared and equipped with gasoline, water, food and a cellular phone if you are considering driving in the desert areas of Wahiba and Rub’ Al Khali.

Exercise caution when using taxis.

See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Piracy

Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.

General safety information

Carry identification documents at all times. Leave your passport in a safe place and carry a photocopy for identification purposes.

Cellular phone coverage may not be available in some parts of the country.

Emergency services

Dial 9999 for emergencies.

Address Format

RECIPIENT

[BUILDING]
[SUBBUILDING]
[HOUSE_NUMBER] STREET_NAME
POSTALCODE
LOCALITY
PROVINCE
OMAN

Sample

Mr Ahmed Al-Ballushi
108 Bait Al Wallaj Street
133
AL-KHOER
OMAN

Summary

Oman GDP Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
GDP 80.57 78.29 80.57 0.04 USD Billion
GDP Annual Growth Rate 2.80 11.50 13.10 2.00 percent
GDP Constant Prices 24815.10 23880.70 29797.70 2185.00 OMR Million
GDP per capita 13306.89 13881.61 15145.11 1262.14 USD
Gross Fixed Capital Formation 8182.80 7786.40 8182.80 1681.10 OMR Million
GDP per capita PPP 42649.19 44491.21 48540.79 29309.80 USD
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