UAE reinforces commitment to combat money laundering and terrorist financing

The private sector is a strategic partner in helping the country achieve its goals, Ministry of Economy says

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, July 31, 2012:  
UAE dirhams. (Silvia Razgova / The National)

The UAE’s Ministry of Economy on Tuesday reaffirmed its commitment to fighting money laundering and the financing of terrorism and illegal organisations, in line with its aim of fully complying with the International Financial Action Task Force obligations.

The private sector is a strategic partner in achieving the country's goals including compliance with regulation and supervision of the Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

DNFBPs include professions outside the financial services sector that have higher anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) exposure.

“We count on the partnership and cooperation of the DNFBPs to achieve the highest levels of oversight and compliance and contribute towards protecting these sectors’ investments from money laundering risks,” Mohamed Al Janahi, head of AML Supervision at the Ministry of Economy, said.

The UAE has introduced strict measures to combat money laundering, setting up a dedicated agency earlier this year to identify money launderers and those suspected of financing terrorists and organised crime.

The Central Bank of the UAE also regularly issues guidelines on how companies can assess money-laundering risks.

The ministry is collaborating with 17 registrars of companies across the country and has formed a team of 97 inspectors to ensure supervision and compliance across businesses the DNFBPs, Mr Al Janahi said.

A crucial step forward in fighting money laundering is determining the ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) of commercial establishments, Obaid Al Muhairi, an anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing consultant, said.

“This contributes to the development of governance and disclosure systems in the country’s business environment, which would provide greater protection from financial crimes, money laundering and commercial fraud,” he said.

“The procedures for providing the UBO data required of establishments are simple" and records must be submitted to the registrars of companies, he said.

The Central Bank of the UAE last month issued new guidelines governing the implementation of sanctions related to anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.

Earlier this month, 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.

Updated: August 17th 2021, 6:15 PM