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London : Mo Farah petitions to save Somalia remittances

 Campaigners pressing Barclays to keep open cash transfer businesses to poorer countries have presented a petition to Downing Street signed by 25,500 people, including Olympic gold winner Mo Farah.

Barclays says it cannot police all such businesses effectively and they could be used for money laundering.

Protestors at Downing Street urged the government 
to help keep the money flowing into the country

Protestors say they are a lifeline for people in countries where there is not a proper banking system.
Farah came to the UK at the age of eight from war torn Mogadishu.
Businesses, including banks, pull out of countries like Somalia where war has disrupted normal life leaving people reliant on smaller, less formal monetarmedalk y systems for cash payments from relatives who live outside the country.
Relatives living in richer countries send cash for school fees,medical care and even basic food.
The companies having their Barclays accounts in the UK closed have branches in countries as diverse as Bangladesh, South Africa and Romania.
There is no suggestion that all the businesses whose accounts Barclays plans to close are transferring money from illicit sources.
The shadow international development minister, Rushanara Ali, was delivering the petition to Downing Street on Wednesday morning.
As well as Barclays, it asks government and regulators to help keep cash transfers going.
Double Olympic gold medallist Farah has been urging his 800,000-plus Twitter followers to support “vital” money flows to families in Somalia.
Ms Ali, Labour MP for the east London constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow, says many of her constituents and others across the country are worried.
“Many of my constituents are desperate to get money to their loved ones,” she said. “Shutting this vital lifeline runs the risk of money being sent through dangerous and alternative methods that are not properly regulated.”
Mr Farah said: “It is so important that the government and the banks realise the incredibly serious threat this poses, and work with the remittance industry to find a solution.
“Millions of Somalis as well as people across the developing world depend on it.”
Dahabshiil, the largest such business providing services to Somalia has said Barclays’ decision could see money transfers pushed underground into the hands of “unregulated and illegal providers”.
Barclays is the last major UK bank that still provides such money transfer services to Somalia, which has an estimated 1.5 million of its nationals living overseas.
The companies whose accounts Barclays has closed are thought to have found other bank account providers, and Barclays has not closed every such account.
Money laundering is illegal and can go on unnoticed.
Barclays rival HSBC last year agreed to pay US authorities $1.9bn (£1.2bn) in settlement over accusations that it allowed the laundering of billions of dollars of cash from drug barons and rogue states through its international branches.
Barclays has said in a statement: “Whilst Barclays makes no comment on specific companies, it is recognised that some money service businesses don’t have the necessary checks in place to spot criminal activity with the degree of confidence required by the regulatory environment under which Barclays operates.” BBC.

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