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UAE’s anti-money laundering bodies: All you need to know

UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan intended to oversee the country's plan to reduce money laundering

By establishing specialist prosecution bodies, the UAE is stepping up its efforts to combat money laundering and improve financial transparency.

The UAE has declared that it will establish bodies to combat such economic crimes after being added to the Financial Action Task Force’s grey list of nations with strategic inadequacies in anti-money laundering systems in March 2022, according to Emirates News Agency, better known as WAM.

This action will aid the UAE in gaining the confidence of international investors and further entice them to use the environment of the Gulf nation as a hub for their operations.

The declaration was made at the Supreme Committee’s 18th meeting, which was presided over by UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and was intended to oversee the country’s plan to reduce money laundering.

Director General of the Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing, Hamid Al-Zaabi, went over a presentation that included the FATF action plan, the processes and plans followed by each regulatory agency, and the advancements made in this area during the meeting.

By the end of the second quarter of 2023, more than 130 million dirhams ($35 million) had been fined by the regulatory authorities, showing the efficiency of the actions taken to punish violators, according to the items under examination.

Al-Zaabi also discussed an increase in notifications of suspicious transactions made to the Financial Information Unit compared to 2022 data.

According to the presentation, this illustrates how the private sector’s understanding and awareness have grown as a result of ongoing efforts made by the relevant national authorities.

The presentation mentioned an improvement in both the calibre and quantity of money laundering investigations.

In addition to examining the results of the FATF plenary session that was conducted in Paris in June 2023, the meeting was closed with a presentation on the most recent advancements in the work of the national plan.

A memorandum of understanding was signed in February by the Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing in the UAE and the Egyptian Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit, according to WAM.

The MoU sought to increase cooperation between the two nations, especially in risk understanding and the sharing of knowledge, skills, and best practices in the areas of anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing, in order to improve both nations’ responses to common threats and risks.

Through training sessions, workshops, seminars, and conferences, the agreement also sought to deepen understanding on a national and regional level.

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