The MENA Regional Chapter is headed by Ibtissem Lassouad and Michael Matossian and focuses on fighting financial crime across the entire Middle Eastern and North African regions.
The MENA Chapter was established by the GCFFC in 2021 to offer MENA specific insights and solutions while building on the capacities and resources of the GCFFC. The chapter is aligned with the MENA Financial Crime Compliance Group (MENA FCCG). Both organisations bring complementary strengths to joint initiatives, with the GCFFC-MENA drawing on its international infrastructure to provide world-leading technical support, and the MENA FCCG contributing the expertise and outreach of its network of leading banks.
One of its initial focus areas was identifying Trade Based Financial Crime (TBFC) as a key area of collaboration with MENA FCCG. This collaboration crystallised in the issuance of a TBFC Reference Guide, released in October 2022, providing comprehensive knowledge for professionals in the field, focusing on MENA-specific typologies and risks. Building on this success, the Chapter and MENA FCCG developed a two-level Certificate program in collaboration with the American University of Beirut (AUB) covering foundational concepts and advanced techniques in combating TBFC, designed to deliver a paradigm shift in skills and knowledge of risks, typologies, best practices, and regulatory priorities. Level I (Foundation Trade Finance) course will be launched in 1Q 2024 while level II (TBFC) will be launched in 2Q 2024. The Chapter also promotes the establishment of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the MENA region at the domestic level and participates in various training and awareness sessions.
Chair - Ibtissem Lassoued
Ibtissem is a Partner and Head of Advisory in the Regional Financial Crime Practice at Al Tamimi & Company. She advises clients on complex cross-border criminal matters such as corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing, economic sanctions, cybercrime offences, fraud and extradition. She is also an active international speaker, contributing to thought leadership on the governance, commercial and regulatory aspects of financial crime and associated geopolitical issues.
Vice Chair - Michael Matossian
Michael Matossian has more than 30 years of experience in regulatory risk management, anti-money laundering, and compliance. Prior to becoming the Global Head of Group Regulatory Compliance for Arab Bank, he served as Chief Compliance Officer, as well as SVP and Director of Regulatory Risk Management, Director of Anti-Money Laundering, BSA Officer, and General Auditor at three different leading U.S. financial institutions. He has also spent 10 years working at a “Big Eight” public accounting firm, and two years with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).