Abu Dhabi —The Ministry of Economy (MoE) has announced the development of a strategic plan and initiatives within the framework of its role in supporting the efforts to combat money laundering practices in the country.
MoE is the authority entrusted by the UAE Cabinet with the supervision of designated non-financial businesses and professions sector at the national level and commercial free zones with regard to countering money laundering.
The Ministry had recently established a specialised department called the ‘Anti-Money Laundering Department’ within its structure to follow up and implement its strategic plan, create awareness, and to regulate all activities listed under the business sector and specific non-financial professions. These measures fall within the framework of the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 20 of 2018 on combating money laundering crimes; financing of terrorism and illegal organisations; and the implementation of the regulations.
Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy, said that the UAE, thanks to the vision and directives of its wise leadership, has succeeded in establishing an integrated legislative system capable of driving economic and social development. The country has also been keen to implement highly efficient development policies in accordance with its principles of knowledge, innovation, transparency and sound business practices and economic stability.
He further explained that combating money laundering has always been among the priorities of the UAE government’s concerns and that the first federal law for anti-money laundering was issued in 2002. The country’s financial sector has been implementing these measures for many years, and the Ministry of Economy and its partners from the concerned authorities have been keeping pace with ongoing developments in international standards to combat money laundering. The Anti-Money Laundering Department within the Ministry will add further value to the progress made in strengthening the legislative and regulatory framework to confront money laundering in the country during the past three years, which is leading by the Supreme Committee for Combating Money Laundering is chaired by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The designated non-financial business and professions sector, which is supervised by MoE with regard to combating money laundering, includes a wide range of non-financial sectors and activities that are most exposed to the risks of money laundering. They are also prone to the misuse of commercial transactions and the funds circulating for the purposes of money laundering or other illegal practices, given that the nature of the services it provides or the products it deals with, in line with international standards issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The categories under this sector are divided into four main categories according to the nature of the activity. These are independent accountants and account auditors; real estate brokers and agents; dealers of precious metals and gemstones; and companies’ service providers.
Abdullah Bin Ahmed Al Saleh, undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, said that the Ministry is eager to develop its efforts and contribute to supporting the UAE’s anti-money laundering efforts to enhance the country’s technical commitment to international recommendations and treaties in this field and raise its performance across relevant global indicators. These will be achieved through efficient supervision of the country’s business sector; designated non-financial professions; and free trade zones. He affirmed that the Ministry is keen on intensifying communication with this sector to educate it about the dangers of money laundering; create awareness on the Federal Law No. (20) of 2018 regarding anti-money laundering; combat financing of terrorism and illegal outfits, and ensure its compliance with its provisions. The Ministry also seeks to create awareness on the penalties for violation, in addition to ensuring the implementation of recognised global practices for these businesses and professions.
“The Ministry of Economy operates within an integrated system that divides roles among various federal and local authorities and committees, and coordinates with all these partners to ensure the success of supervisions and control over the targeted sectors and activities,” he said.
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