UAE: More than Dh113 million in fines imposed on banks, exchange houses in 2023

The Central Bank governor emphasises that the regulator aims to ensure the integrity and safety of the financial system in the UAE and globally


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sun 3 Mar 2024, 3:37 PM

Last updated: Sun 3 Mar 2024, 10:22 PM

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) carried out 181 field examinations of licensed financial institutions in 2023. It plans to further expand its inspections in the future to ensure that all entities comply with rules regarding anti-money laundering and combatting financing of terrorism and financing of illegal organisations (AML/CFT).

Last year, the regulator imposed fines amounting to Dh113.675 million on banks, exchange houses, insurance companies, and 'hawaladar's for non-compliance with regulatory requirements for combating money laundering and terrorism financing.

Moreover, 40 awareness sessions were organised for the private sector with the participation of more than 35,000 attendees to exchange information and mitigate risks.

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All these efforts by the Central Bank and other public and private sector entities ensured that the country came out of the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

“The FATF’s announcement of the UAE's completion of the required standards and recommendations reflects the UAE's steadfast commitment to combating money laundering and terrorism financing. It underscores the efforts made by various committees, entities, and national bodies to combat financial crimes, including the Central Bank and the National Committee for Combating Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing, and Financing of Illegal Organisations,” said Khaled Mohamed Balama, governor of the CBUAE and chairman of the NAMLCFTC.

Mohamed Daoud, Industry Practice Lead at Moody’s Analytics, said the removal of the UAE from the grey list will boost trust in its financial system and would lead to smoother foreign currency transactions, lower inter-bank fees and increased trade and investment.

The Central Bank governor emphasised that the regulator aimed to ensure the integrity and safety of the financial system in the UAE and globally.

The Central Bank said the Financial Intelligence Unit processed over 8,300 requests from law enforcement authorities and public prosecution through the Integrated Enquiry Management System during the years 2022-2023.

It sent 710 technical reports to the public prosecution, mostly comprising requests for search, freeze, and obtaining information from counterpart global financial intelligence units, in addition to other requests to support ongoing investigations into money laundering.

The number of memoranda of understanding and agreements signed between the Financial Intelligence Unit and counterpart global units reached 68.


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