UAE tackling dirty money menace well

ABU DHABI - A three-day seminar for bankers and law enforcement agencies of South Asian countries for the establishment of a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) kicked off in the capital, in which officials from international institutions combating money laundering spoke on how to check the worldwide phenomenon of dirty-money which is used to finance terrorism.

By Haseeb Haider

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Published: Sun 6 Jun 2004, 9:45 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:00 PM

Opening the seminar, Governor Central Bank of the UAE, Sultan bin Nasser Al Suwaidi appreciated that the officials from international law enforcing agencies with rich experience in combating the money laundering would discuss establishment of a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is an important pillar in the fight against the menace and terrorist financing.

Highlighting the UAE 's success story in establishing an FIU, he said: "When we started seeing some suspicious transcations including traces of money transfers from some fraud cases...a team was formed within our Banking Supervision and Examination Department to examine suspicious cases and to help the courts with fraud investigations."

He said that because Banking Supervision and Examination Department (BSED) is organised based on separate examination teams, hiving-off the team responsible for financial crime or suspicious cases to form the Anti-Money Laundering and Suspicious Case Unit (AMLSCU) in 1998.

"The links between BSED and AMLSCU continued to be stronger and BSED teams continued to serve the AMLSCU when it needed some examinations to be carried out. The establishment of the AMLSCU was essential in UAE fight against financial crimes," Governor Al Suwaidi said.

He said that the unit provided a formal link between the Central Bank, Public Prosecutors and law enforcement authorities across the UAE. Inter-Institutional communications both on the federal and the local government levels improved with each passing day and concerned authorities thought that such communications should be institutionalised through the establishment of a special committee which ultimately lead to the establishment of the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee.

The Committee, he said, comprises officials from Central Bank of the UAE, Ministries of Interior, Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Foreign Affairs, Economy and Commerce, Finance and Industry, Customs Authority, trade bodies, banks and money changers.

Later, speaking to reporters, Al Suwaidi said that the committee has traced many transactions which were considered suspicious and the cases were referred to the courts for hearing.

Al Suwaidi said that the UAE has pioneered the campaign against money laundering in the Gulf and Middle East which has now made the country to be able to tighten the noose against unscrupulous elements.

He told reporter that his committee over the years has acquired great expertise in tackling money laundering cases which can be shared with the South Asian nations, as UAE's contribution towards rooting out the problem.

On the first day, Senior Intelligence Research Analysts for FinCen, Ms Mary Jo Melancon and Ms Lisa Holtyn along with Oliver John, Chief of Economic Section, US Embassy in Abu Dhabi gave the opening remarks highlighting the joint efforts to combat against the crime.

Presentations were made by officials of participating countries in which they explained the status of their anti-money laundering regimes. Ms Celina Realuyo spoke of pivotal role of US in Anti-money laundering regimes; Ms Mary Jo Melanco gave an overview of FinCen and Egmont Group while Ms Lisa Holtyn discussed the FIU Interface with law enforcement and regulators.

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