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An informal system for transferring money, especially across borders, in which local agents disperse or collect money or goods on behalf of friends, relatives, or other agents without legal protection or supervision, trusting that all remaining obligations will be settled through future transactions.

[Arabic ḥawāla, bill of exchange, from ḥāla, to change, turn; see ḥwl in Semitic roots.]


(Banking & Finance) a system of money transfer based on promises and honour, practised in the Middle East and parts of Asia and Africa
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.hawala - an underground banking system based on trust whereby money can be made available internationally without actually moving it or leaving a record of the transaction; "terrorists make extensive use of hawala"
act of terrorism, terrorism, terrorist act - the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear
banking industry, banking system - banks collectively
References in periodicals archive ?
The words hawala and hawaladar are commonly associated with long-distance traders, very often Afghans who are frequently identified as Pathans (and vice versa), and a key distinguishing feature of Afghans and Pathans was and remains their use of the Pashto language.
hawaladars"), with one hawaladar located in the transferor's country and one in the transferee's country.
Kristoff said businessmen now pay for imports through the hawala system, paying cash to a hawaladar in the bazaar who then arranges a payment in a foreign city.
Ha) may not have a direct trading partner in the particular village, for example, and thus must first go through an additional hawaladar in Bombay.
If a terrorist organisation wants to transfer money from one location to another it is given to a hawaladar who credits it to himself.
In war-torn Afghanistan Soca officers have recently raided local Hawaladar banks which were transferring drug money.
Within these Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian communities, members trust local businessmen, including the hawaladar, a great deal.
The hawaladar in the UAE contacts a counterpart in Pakistan, who makes payment in rupees to the remitter's family or other beneficiary.
Detectives said Basra made only a nominal amount of money as a hawaladar and the annual turnover of his three businesses was less than pounds 30,000.
When you want to send $50 to your grandfather in a village near Mogadishu, you go to your neighborhood hawaladar and hand him cash.
Prosecutors said Safarha operated a hawala, a system whereby people transfer money to another country by paying cash to a person, the hawaladar, who then arranges for the money to be paid in the other country.
Informal remittance system Hawala is particular popular in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia that given it does not require identity verification of transferors, with transfers carried out through an unregulated network with no electronic or physical movement of money, but based on trust between the customer and the hawaladar, it is no surprise that it causes concern to AML practitioners.