UAE holds dialogue with EU on stamping out financial crime

Event was the third in a series of three that began in July last year

The dialogue between the EU and the UAE is aimed at strengthening the frameworks for tackling financial crime. Pawan Singh / The National
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The UAE and the EU have held a dialogue on strengthening the frameworks used to tackle money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The online event, aimed at sharing best practices for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) focused on a number of areas, including the EU's planned Legislative Package on Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, which is an attempt to introduce a uniform set of policies across the trading bloc. The UAE's efforts to develop an effective AML/CFT framework , including the implementation of beneficial ownership rules, were also discussed.

The dialogue was the third between the two parties, following previous meetings in November and July last year.

"The UAE sees great value in this platform. I find it remarkable how this dialogue has evolved over only one year... to achieve a number of significant tangible outcomes, including the provision of impactful training sessions led by experts from the EU Global Facility,” Amna Fikri, director of the economic and trade affairs department at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, said.

The UAE has been strengthening both the regulation and oversight of entities that could be targeted by money launderers.

The Central Bank of the UAE has held campaigns to make sure licensed financial institutions are registered with the goAML platform for reporting suspicious activities and in April it fined an exchange house Dh500,000 for failing to meet appropriate levels of compliance.

The Ministry of Economy has also held campaigns targeting Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions – such as precious metals dealers, real estate brokers and other professionals susceptible to being targeted by money launderers – to make sure they also comply with rules governing the declaration of beneficial ownership of assets.

The dialogue with the EU was co-chaired by Ms Fikri and Raluca Pruña, head of the financial crime unit at the EU's commission directorate-general for financial stability, financial services and capital markets. Officials from the UAE's executive office for AML/CFT, the finance, justice and economy ministries, and the Federal Customs Authority, also attended.

“As of today, 88 per cent of companies in the UAE have registered their beneficial ownership information in a consolidated database overseen by the Ministry of Economy. This success is a reflection of the ministry’s supervision efforts, which aim to ensure there is accurate information on all companies operating in the UAE," Safeya Al Safi, director of the Ministry of Economy's anti-money laundering department, said.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to engage with our EU counterparts and to hear from them on how we can further minimise the misuse of legal persons for the purpose of money laundering.”

Updated: July 13, 2021, 4:47 PM