UAE: Central Bank launches campaign to enhance standards of payment transfers

It aims to ensure transaction transparency through registered 'Hawala Providers'



by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Thu 14 Jul 2022, 2:53 PM

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and a number of law enforcement partners, has launched an awareness campaign aimed at enhancing community awareness about laws, regulations and standards for money remittance.

The campaign aims to ensure transparency and integrity of transactions through registered "Hawala Providers."

The UAE adopts an approach of transparency, follow-up and governance in financial transactions. The concerned authorities are also working in unison according to a system to enhance efforts to combat money laundering and related crimes. The approach is based on the strategy and directives of the UAE government seeking to enhance security and safety, provide the appropriate environment for economic and investment growth and enhance the state's reputation in international forums.

Ministries, national authorities, agencies and institutions are striving to support the efforts of the Supreme Committee overseeing the national strategy to counter money laundering and terrorist financing. The Committee aims to enhance the efforts of the UAE in raising the capabilities of countries and strengthening their systems by combatting such crimes. It also steps up the capabilities of national human resources in areas of investigations and financial analysis, control and governance connected with related crimes.

The campaign features a series of legal and awareness messages broadcast on the platforms of all participating entities and through the media in several languages. Their content is based on the main objectives of the campaign in enhancing the protection of society, and individuals and introducing legal frameworks and legislation in areas specialised in money transfers inside and outside the country.

The Central Bank of the UAE, the supervisory authority governing the hawala providers in the country, is committed to ensuring that every hawala provider adheres to the laws, regulations and standards in the country. CBUAE works closely with other authorities and entities in the UAE to monitor hawala providers and ensure they are registered and obtain the certificate of registration that allows remittance activities to be carried out using the commercial name they have chosen, and submit the details of these activities to the CBUAE on a daily basis.

Any hawala provider who practices the activity without registration shall be deemed to be operating illegally and shall be subject to investigation and legal prosecution by law enforcement authorities. The certificate is issued after fulfilling all the conditions for registration in the goAML system for reporting suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit in the country and in the remittance system of the Central Bank of the UAE. Failure to comply with these requirements also entails administrative and financial penalties such as non-renewal or cancellation of the registration certificate.

CBUAE: Relentless efforts to enhance transparency and financial governance Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of the Central Bank of the UAE, said: "The Central Bank of the UAE launched the hawala providers registration system with the aim of ensuring transparency, integrity and financial governance in transactions executed through hawala providers registered with us, and to put in place measures to counter money laundering and combat the financing of terrorism, and to protect the UAE's financial system ."

He added, "The Central Bank of the UAE will continue to take all measures that guarantee the integrity of the financial system and ensure that all outgoing financial transactions from the UAE are compatible with the systems and regulations included in the Registered Hawala Providers Regulations ."

MoI: Continuous efforts to combat money laundering crimes Brig. Gen. Abdulaziz Al Ahmad, Deputy Director-General of the Federal Criminal Police at the Ministry of Interior, head of the Subcommittee for Investigating Money Laundering Crimes, said, "The efforts made by the Ministry of Interior in combating crimes related to money laundering and terrorist financing are going on according to a vision and firm plans. The ministry has achieved positive and tangible results through well-prepared operations and proactive, preventive and executive plans, based on studying the patterns and trends of these crimes. These operations track them them down and monitor and analyse suspicious activities through advanced systems, tools and techniques, leading to the arrest of the perpetrators, bringing them to justice, and cutting off their sources of funding with cross-border cooperation and coordination."

He then referred to the Ministry of Interior's keenness, in continuous coordination with the concerned authorities, on tracing and monitoring suspicious activities and methods developed by money laundering gangs and their attempts to finance suspicious activities and threaten the society's security. He stressed that the Ministry is closely monitoring the downfall of these gangs across the country, as they have no place to operate in the UAE, knowing that they will face the full brunt of justice once they engage in criminal activities.

Cases discovered After being alerted by the CBUAE, the relevant authorities of the Ministry of Interior conducted investigation and research and discovered a fraud attempt by a company that engages in unlicensed money transfer activities, which may create an environment conducive to illegal operations that are not subject to proper oversight. However, the keenness and follow-up of the relevant authorities bring these illegal activities and operations to justice, as the company was referred to the judicial authorities and deterrent sentences were rendered for such crimes, including imprisonment, fines, financial fees, deportation and confiscation of all seized amounts.

In a related case, a company was engaged in transferring sums of money to another country. The accused was arrested during the receipt and delivery. It turned out through a report by one of the relevant authorities that a suspicious banking transaction with a high turnover rate was received. After deep investigation, the accused was sent to the Judicial Authority where was sentenced to a fine, confiscation of the seized amount and three years imprisonment.

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In another case, and after being alerted by the CBUAE, the Ministry of Interior conducted a research and investigation process to find out that there were people who practiced financial activity without a license and it was found that the accused was engaging in illegal activities. Research and investigation indicated that the accused was dealing with a trading company that practices unlicensed financial activity by sending the amounts to another country. With the support and coordination with the competent authorities, all financial transactions were tracked down. The accused was convicted by the Public Prosecution for engaging in illicit criminal activity and money laundering, while all amounts were confiscated.

On June 28, the Central Bank of the UAE decided not to renew the certificate of seven hawala providers for failing to report the data to the CBUAE through the different systems.


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