Somali transfer firm wins right to keep banking with Barclays

Marion Dakers
A SOMALI money transfer group has won an injunction to keep its banking services with Barclays open, having launched a campaign against closure that won support from Olympic athlete Mo Farah, the United Nations and several charities.

Dahabshiil, which says it is the largest African money transfer operator and has around 100,000 customers in the UK, said the temporary injunction allowing Somali remittance payments to continue “is a victory for the millions of Somalis and other Africans, many of whose livelihoods depend on our services”.

A full High Court hearing will take place next year. Barclays was refused permission to appeal the injunction.

Barclays had planned to cut off services to Dahabshiil and other remittance services over the summer.

The bank said it had made the decision based on “the well-known risks of money-laundering and terrorist financing”.

Oxfam welcomed the injunction but called on the Treasury to put in place a long-term plan to ensure legal remittance payments continue.

“The ruling provides a small window of opportunity for Somalis living in the UK to send money home to loved ones in one of the poorest countries in the world,” said campaigns and policy director Ben Phillips.

Oxfam estimates that Somalis living abroad send $1.3bn (£810m) a year back to family and friends in the country, dwarfing international aid. The country’s gross domestic product is less than $6bn or around $600 a head at purchasing power parity, according to US estimates.