UAE makes progress in its anti-money laundering drive

UAE continues progress and reconfirms its deep commitment to AML/CFT following FATF decision

By Staff Report

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The UAE has indicated its strong commitment to working closely with FATF to address remaining areas of improvement through the implementation of an action plan. — AP photo
The UAE has indicated its strong commitment to working closely with FATF to address remaining areas of improvement through the implementation of an action plan. — AP photo

Published: Sat 5 Mar 2022, 6:11 PM

Last updated: Sat 5 Mar 2022, 8:32 PM

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has recognised that the UAE has made positive progress in its anti-money laundering (AML), countering the financing of terrorism (CFT), and counter proliferation financing (CPF) efforts.

With the aim of ensuring the success and sustainability of the UAE’s efforts to strengthen its anti-financial crime framework, FATF has announced that it has placed the UAE under increased monitoring.


The UAE has indicated its strong commitment to working closely with FATF to address remaining areas of improvement through the implementation of an action plan. Noting that the UAE has “significantly strengthened” its anti-financial crime framework, the action plan builds on the firm foundations established and important efforts already underway.

“The UAE takes its role in protecting the integrity of the global financial system extremely seriously and will work closely with the FATF to quickly remedy the areas of improvement identified. On this basis, the UAE will continue its ongoing efforts to identify, disrupt and punish criminals and illicit financial networks in line with FATF’s findings and the UAE’s National Action Plan, as well as through close coordination with our international partners,” said the UAE’s executive office of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism.


Top officials reaffirm commitment

The UAE’s commitment to advancing efforts to combat money laundering and counter terrorist financing remains a key pillar underpinning the country’s status as an attractive global business hub that operates in line with international standards. Moreover, robust actions and ongoing measures taken by the UAE government and private sector are in place to secure the stability and integrity of the country’s financial system.

Senior officials have reaffirmed the UAE’s strong commitment and ongoing efforts in relation to AML and CFT. They said the UAE continues to implement an array of sophisticated and significant actions to combat financial crime and strengthen the effectiveness of the AML/CFT framework in line with the National Strategy for AML/CFT and the National Action Plan of the UAE.

Senior officials underscored the UAE’s commitment at the highest level and reiterated that combating financial crime following the global AML/CFT agenda remains a strategic priority for the UAE.

Lt.-General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, said the ongoing efforts to enhance the UAE’s anti-money laundering system are a testament to our strong commitment to combating this global problem as a strategic priority.

“I commend the tremendous efforts of the UAE’s Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Public Prosecution, Ministry of Economy, UAE Central Bank, UAE Security and Police Forces, Federal Customs Authority, Financial Intelligence Unit and all the UAE entities that are working closely and diligently together to fight financial crime,” he said.

“Our efforts to protect our security and economic prosperity will always come first. This means that the Ministry and the UAE law enforcement will continue to investigate and apprehend complex criminal networks and their assets in close coordination with our domestic and international partners,” Sheikh Saif said.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Chairman of the Higher Committee Overseeing the National Strategy to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, said the UAE is keen to accelerate the pace of the National Action Plan to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, as this file constitutes a strategic priority for the country.

“In my capacity as Chairman of the Higher Committee Overseeing the National Strategy to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, I would like to underscore the UAE’s commitment at the highest level by strengthening our national AML/CFT framework, including by working closely with FATF, our international partners, and the private sector on a sustainable and ongoing basis,” he said..

“Financial crime is a concern for all major economies, and we in the UAE are approaching this matter with the utmost seriousness. By continuing with our disciplined approach, we will make a genuine difference in our ability to prevent illicit financial flows and achieve our goal of making the UAE one of the strongest and most respected economies in the modern world,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

Sophisticated financial system

Mohamed Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, said the UAE remains firmly committed to further strengthening efforts to uphold the stability and integrity of the financial system.

“We will closely examine the detailed recommendations received from our international partners and FATF and ensure these are swiftly addressed and implemented in the coming period and over the long term,” he said.

“To ensure that implementation of our National Strategy and National Action Plan for AML/CFT continues to focus on improving effectiveness in key areas, I will ensure that AML/CFT reforms remain one of the key priorities in our 2022 federal budget and future federal budgets,” he said.

Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, said the interconnectedness of international organised criminal networks, often accelerated by technological advancement, is concerning for countries around the world.

“In the UAE, we are fighting back through the power of intelligence, advanced analytics, technology, investigations, and public-private partnerships. Our main objective has been to equip the public and private sectors in the UAE with the tools needed to strengthen our collective defences. This includes building the institutional capabilities set out in the UAE’s National Risk Assessment, National Action Plan, and National Strategy for AML/CTF,” he said.

“We have also worked closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to facilitate coordination with the international community on financial crime concerns, a cornerstone of embedding a sophisticated financial crime framework across the UAE economy and beyond,” the minister said.

Harnessing all resources

Abdullah bin Sultan bin Awad Al Nuaimi, Minister of Justice, said the Ministry of Justice has committed to harnessing all the resources available, including the federal and local courts, to combat money laundering.

“We are committed to preventing financial crimes and punishing the perpetrators as a top priority, and strengthening all efforts to prevent financial crimes and fraud. We have made breakthrough reforms in a short period to bring criminals to justice and continue to work efficiently and effectively to ensure the processing of the FATF’s outcomes,” he said.

To ensure proper legislation is in place to tackle money laundering typologies, the recently amended Federal Law No. 26 of 2021 and Federal Law No. 20 of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organisations were issued on 13th September, 2021. The UAE will continue to build upon existing cooperation with our international partners and private sector stakeholders so that justice is always served. Our future economic growth is protected in line with the UAE’s “Next 50” strategic roadmap recently established by our leadership.”

Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of the UAE Central Bank and Chairman of the National Committee for Combatting Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations, stated that the central bank’s regulations and policies for all licensed financial institutions in the UAE seek to address the worldwide challenge of money laundering and terrorist financing as a strategic priority.

“Much progress has been made in the financial sector’s supervisory initiatives and regulatory oversight to develop an effective and integrated structure to combat financial crimes of all kinds, which FATF has already recognised,” he said.

“As a significant regional and international financial centre, we will continue to work tirelessly with our global partners in this regard. Together, we are committed to ensuring that our regulated financial industry has effective AML/CFT controls to safeguard our financial system,” Balame noted.

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com


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