UAE reviews progress on anti-money laundering strategy

Committee welcomes decision to regulate digital currencies to further mitigate money laundering risks

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. Silvia Razgova / The National
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The UAE has reviewed its ongoing efforts to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing ahead of the country's submission of a post-observation report to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in October, according to state news agency Wam.

Achievements and challenges related to anti-money laundering and terrorist financing as per the FATF's recommendations were highlighted at the meeting chaired by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.

The UAE has taken various efforts to curb money laundering as it seeks to raise its global competitiveness by reinforcing justice and transparency. The Central Bank of the UAE also regularly issues guidelines to help companies and individuals assess money laundering risks. The regulator has teamed up with other central banks and financial authorities to fight financial crimes.

The UAE set up a dedicated agency earlier this year to identify money launderers and those suspected of financing terrorists and organised crime.

The FATF is an intergovernmental organisation developed by the Group of Seven countries to combat money laundering around the world. The organisation's mandate was later expanded to include terrorist financing.

At its latest meeting, the committee reviewed studies relating to "the legislative framework of non-conviction-based confiscation mechanisms and the confiscation of foreign proceeds of the original crime and the guidance for government agencies to implement targeted financial sanctions", Wam said.

The entity also welcomed the decision "to adopt the general framework for the regulation of virtual assets at the state level" to reduce risks from the increased use of digital currencies.

Efforts to fight and prevent money laundering have picked up pace in recent months.

Dubai set up a specialist court in August that will focus on fighting money laundering and other financial crimes in a bid to strengthen the integrity of its financial system.

Last month, the Dubai Misdemeanour Court convicted eight individuals and three companies for cyber fraud and laundering stolen funds amounting to about Dh14 million ($3.81m).

The UAE has also joined hands with other countries to clamp down on money laundering.

In August, 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: September 11, 2021, 12:55 PM