Dubai sets up special court to combat money laundering

The court, which was set up as per the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, will allow the emirate to implement the National AML/CFT strategy

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Dubai has formed a specialist court that will focus on fighting money laundering and other financial crimes, as the emirate seeks to strengthen the integrity of its financial system and support nationwide efforts to clamp down on money laundering.

The new entity will be set up within the Court of First Instance and Court of Appeal, the Dubai Media Office said in a statement on Sunday. The move comes after the UAE established the Executive Office of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), under directives from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to oversee the implementation of the country's anti-money laundering strategy.

“This move will enable our stakeholders to raise their efficiency in effectively implementing the National AML/CFT Strategy and National Action Plan and achieving its goals through an empowered and sustainable system,” said Taresh Al Mansouri, Director General of Dubai Courts.

“Reporting money laundering crimes is both an individual and collective responsibility. Society plays a critical role in safeguarding economic and social security and strengthening the efforts of various stakeholders in responding to such crimes.”

The UAE has strict measures to combat money laundering and other financial crimes. In November, the Ministry of Economy set up an anti-money laundering department, while a court was also established in Abu Dhabi to tackle money laundering and tax evasion.

The country's central bank also regularly issues guidelines to help companies and individuals assess money laundering risks. The regulator has also teamed up with other central banks and financial authorities to fight financial crimes.

The establishment of the new court will further improve the UAE’s and Dubai’s global competitiveness by “reinforcing the rule of law and upholding the values of justice and transparency”, the statement said.

The new court will also help the emirate develop its legislative framework and allow it to reinforce compliance with international anti-money laundering law enforcement standards.

Dubai has intensified its efforts to fight money laundering. On Saturday, the Dubai Misdemeanour Court convicted eight individuals and three companies for cyber fraud and for laundering of stolen funds amounting to about Dh14 million ($3.81m).

The individuals were penalised with heavy fines and prison terms while the court imposed a fine of Dh300,000 on each of the three companies involved in the crime. It also ordered them to return more than Dh9m that was stolen through fraudulent means from the victim's company.

Updated: August 22, 2021, 6:07 PM