UAE and Egypt to co-operate in fight against money laundering and terrorism financing

The Emirates is focusing on international collaboration and knowledge exchange to fight financial crime

Officials from the UAE and Egypt discussed joint actions to fight against illicit financial activity. Wam
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Top officials from the anti-money laundering task forces of the UAE and Egypt met as the two countries seek to strengthen co-operation in the fight against illicit financial activity.

The two sides reviewed the “most prominent regional developments and co-ordination between them” in the sector, UAE state news agency Wam reported on Thursday.

The UAE has continued its efforts to “inform international and regional partners on the latest developments in its national action plan and notable projects and initiatives” that it is working on, said Hamid Al Zaabi, director general of the UAE's Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT).

The measures are designed to ensure a “sustainable framework to combat money laundering and counter terrorism financing”, he said.

The UAE has been at the forefront of the fight against illegal financial activity as it seeks to promote a secure ecosystem in the country.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to an increase in money laundering and terrorist financing, fraud, cyber attacks, bribery and corruption across the financial system, the UAE Central Bank said in September.

This week, the Central Bank issued guidelines to help licensed financial institutions to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, as well as mitigate risks related to payments and politically exposed persons.

Licensed financial institutions, including lenders, are now obliged to develop internal policies, controls and procedures to manage such risks to remain compliant with AML/CFT regulations.

Last month, the UAE's AML/CFT committee announced that it had imposed fines of more than Dh41 million ($11m) in the first six months of 2022 as it continued to rein in illicit financial activity.

In June, Dubai Police arrested brothers Atul and Rajesh Gupta after an Interpol Red Notice was issued against them on charges of allegedly looting billions from state-owned companies in South Africa.

Days before that, the emirate's authorities arrested hedge fund trader Sanjay Shah after an international arrest warrant issued by Denmark alleged that the British citizen was a central player in a scheme in which foreign businesses pretended to own shares in Danish companies and claimed tax refunds for which they were not eligible.

“The successful extradition of key suspects demonstrates the UAE's commitment to working with our international partners to pursue those who abuse the financial system,” Mr Al Zaabi said.

“Continuous communication with our partners is one of the priorities of our national agenda in the executive office. International co-operation and knowledge exchange are at the core of the UAE's efforts to fight financial crime.”

During the meeting, the UAE's AML/CFT committee presented key steps taken by the Emirates in developing an effective system to fight financial crime and strengthen its partnership with the private sector.

“The UAE has achieved outstanding results through its strategic focus on asset recovery and rapid implementation of targeted financial sanctions,” Mr Al Zaabi said.

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International co-operation and knowledge exchange are at the core of the UAE's efforts to fight financial crime
Hamid Al Zaabi, director general of the UAE's Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing

The meeting is part of efforts to strengthen the strategic relations between the UAE and Egypt, both of which are pursuing a policy to establish peace and stability while fighting financial crime, Ahmed Khalil, chairman of the board of trustees of the Egyptian Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Unit, said.

In June 2021, the central banks of the UAE and Egypt signed an agreement to strengthen the supervision of licensed financial institutions.

“We welcome the fruitful partnership in recent years with the UAE's national agencies,” said Hatem Aly, the regional representative of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime for the Gulf region, who also attended the meeting.

“The UAE is one of the economically and commercially pivotal countries in the region and the world.”

Updated: August 04, 2022, 8:35 AM
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