UAE Central Bank issues new anti-money laundering guidelines

Licensed financial institutions have been urged to develop internal policies and procedures to manage risks linked to money laundering and financing of terrorism

The Central Bank of the UAE. Sammy Dallal / The National
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The Central Bank of the UAE has issued new guidance to help financial institutions combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

It says licensed financial institutions (LFIs) including lenders are obliged to develop internal policies, controls and procedures to manage risks linked to money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

LFIs must also put in place indicators to identify suspicious transactions and activities and file reports to the UAE’s Financial Intelligence Unit, the banking regulator said in a statement on Monday.

As we continue to enhance the effectiveness of AML/CFT measures to safeguard the UAE financial system, we expect licensed financial institutions to fulfill their duties as well,” Khaled Balama, governor of the CBUAE, said.

“This guidance serves as a key point of reference for licensed financial institutions to ensure their compliance with AML/CFT requirements.”

LFIs have also been asked to regularly screen their databases and transactions against names on lists issued by the UN Security Council and its relevant committees or by the UAE Cabinet before conducting any transaction or entering into a business relationship with any client, whether it is individual or corporate.

The latest guidelines came into effect on Monday, according to the regulator. LFIs have been given a month to comply.

The UAE has revealed various measures to fight and prevent money laundering in the last few months.

Dubai set up a specialist court in August that will focus on fighting money laundering and other financial crimes in a bid to strengthen the integrity of its financial system.

Last month, the Dubai Misdemeanour Court convicted eight individuals and three companies for cyber fraud and laundering stolen funds amounting to about Dh14 million ($3.81m).

The UAE has also joined other countries to clamp down on money laundering.

In August, the UAE’s Financial Intelligence Unit joined forces with the China Anti-Money Laundering Monitoring and Analysis Centre to exchange information and help crack down on global money laundering and terrorism financing.

The Ministry of Economy also urged real estate agents, gold dealers, auditors and corporate service providers to register with the relevant anti-money laundering system to avoid revocation of licences earlier this year.

Updated: September 13, 2021, 3:22 PM