UAE Central Bank revokes licence of Dirham Exchange for anti-money laundering misconduct

The banking regulator also removed the registration of Hawala provider RMB Commercial Brokers

The UAE Central Bank building in Abu Dhabi. The UAE has made significant progress in combating money laundering and financing of terrorism over the past few years. Photo: Central Bank of the UAE
Powered by automated translation

The UAE Central Bank has revoked the licence of UAE-based exchange house Dirham Exchange and struck its name from the register, as the banking regulator continues to crack down on financial misconduct.

It also revoked the registration of Hawala provider RMB Commercial Brokers.

The administrative sanctions followed an appeals procedure in line with laws regulating the combating of money laundering crimes, financing of terrorism and financing of illegal organisations, the Central Bank said on Wednesday.

Sanctions were levied against the two companies after examinations conducted by the Central Bank found “serious regulatory misconduct, including anti-money laundering misconduct and collusion in evading the central bank's instructions to the exchange house not to engage in remittance transactions with certain countries”.

“The findings showed that they had a weak compliance framework and failed to comply with their regulatory obligations and to report regulatory breaches to the CBUAE.”

The UAE has made significant progress in combating money laundering, the financing of terrorism and weapons proliferation over the past few years.

Last month, the UAE announced plans to establish federal prosecution offices dedicated to money laundering and other economic crimes.

The new offices are viewed as a “first step towards investigating and cracking down on economic crimes and money laundering”, state news agency Wam said at the time.

They will deal with corporate crimes, bankruptcy, regulation of competition, financial markets, intellectual property and trademarks, and customs evasion offences.

The Arab world's second-biggest economy has sought to counter the threat posed by economic crimes.

UAE authorities have extradited 899 criminals since 2020, of whom 43 were involved in money laundering. Ten of those were terrorists or were financing terrorist activities.

The UAE has issued fines of more than Dh115 million ($31.3 million) in the first quarter of this year in its fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Last month, the UAE’s Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism held a workshop with the World Bank to boost its framework against financial crimes.

During the workshop, the UAE authorities discussed, identified and evaluated money laundering and terrorist financing risks to draft effective mitigation policies.

Updated: August 09, 2023, 7:03 AM