UAE begins hosting Egmont Plenary as part of efforts to curb financial crimes

Event will discuss how financial intelligence units can use technology to prevent money laundering

The UAE Central Bank has passed several regulations to ensure strict adherence to AML/CFT guidelines by financial institutions in the country. Photo: UAE Central Bank
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The annual Egmont Group Plenary has started in Abu Dhabi this week to support global efforts to curb money laundering and financial crimes.

The event, which has more than 500 participants this year, is being hosted by the UAE Financial Intelligence Unit.

It is focussing on how advanced IT technologies can be used by global financial intelligence units to enhance their operations.

"The UAE’s hosting of the EG Plenary is in line with country’s robust efforts to protect the UAE and wider global financial system from money laundering, the financing of terrorism and financial crimes," the UAE Central Bank said in a statement on Tuesday.

"It strives do so by bolstering co-operation with international counterparts, enhancing the exchange of information and expertise with competent authorities."

The UAE has passed strict laws to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism, and has issued a number of regulations over the years to clamp down on financial crime.

The country issued fines of more than Dh115 million ($31.3 million) in the first quarter of the year to combat money laundering, state news agency Wam reported in April.

The 161 fines were handed out to 76 entities in the first three months.

Confiscations have also increased, with frozen assets worth more than Dh925 million seized from November 2022 to February 2023.

Hamid Al Zaabi, director general of the Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism, told Wam in April that the organisation was working closely with the Financial Action Task Force.

He said the UAE was an important trade and investment hub and the federal government was working closely with authorities and the private sector to ensure they were using effective measures against money laundering and financing terrorism.

Meanwhile, the UAE Central Bank has passed several regulations to ensure financial institutions adhere to money laundering and financing terrorism guidelines.

The Egmont Group, which has 166 members from across the world, seeks to enhance communication and collaboration between financial intelligence units, with its members receiving thousands of reports of suspicious transactions annually.

Financial intelligence units are "instrumental in ensuring that financial systems remain sound", and the annual event seeks to facilitate enhanced co-operation and exchange of information between Egmont Group members, the statement said.

The event in the UAE will host discussions around topics including the use of privacy-enhancing technologies, using artificial intelligence for effective collaboration, best practice in financial information exchanges and training programme development.

Members will also discuss Egmont Group's reports and policies and produce "actionable financial intelligence for the fight against money laundering".

Updated: July 04, 2023, 10:06 AM