UAE makes it mandatory for hawala service providers to register

Dubai - Hawala, or hundi, is an unofficial and informal channel to transfer money mainly used among South Asians.

By Waheed Abbas

Published: Tue 1 Sep 2020, 6:50 PM

Last updated: Wed 2 Sep 2020, 11:33 AM

The UAE has made it mandatory for Hawala service providers in the country to register, as the country strengthens its anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CFT) framework, the Central Bank said in a statement on Monday.
The announcement was made following the sixth meeting of the National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations (NAMLCFTC) in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Hawala, or hundi, is an unofficial and informal channel to transfer money mainly used among South Asians whereby they give money to agents who then instruct their associates in the country to deliver it to the customer's house. With UAE being a one of the major markets for remittances, regulating this informal industry will help monitor money-laundering and counter terror funding. 
Chaired by Abdulhamid M. Saeed Alahmadi, governor of the UAE Central Bank and chairman of the committee, the meeting also discussed technology assistance and capacity building both in terms of human and financial resources to further strengthen the country's ability to implement targeted financial sanctions relating to the prevention and suppression of terrorist financing.
It also discussed proactive cooperation with countries that share commitment in implementing the strategy of combating money laundering and the financing of illegal organisations. In order to create an awareness about financial crimes that threaten the security and stability of the country, a new website has been developed to assist strategic partners and stakeholders in complying with international-standard reporting measures.
In addition, the committee also discussed the recent achievements of the UAE Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), an independent unit that investigates suspicious transactions that potentially involve money laundering, terrorism financing and similar criminal activities, underpinned by proactive collaboration with relevant national and international authorities and financial services institutions.
The FIU will launch a new brand identity and a dedicated website, reflecting its commitment to further promote anti-money laundering and counter finance terrorism and enhance transparency with international counterparts.

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