The UAE has fined three companies Dh2.25 million ($612,000) for breaching provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT) law.
Two of the organisations, which were not named, are in the gold and gemstones sector while the third is in the real estate sector.
Imposing sanctions on companies and property found to be in breach of the law supports the UAE's efforts to strengthen the compliance of designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs), said Abdullah Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary responsible for the Monitoring and Follow Up Sector at the Ministry of Economy.
The ministry said it had conducted inspections of economic activities under its supervision, those enlisted within the business sector and DNFBPs in the last stage.
These include brokers, estate agents, gold and gemstones merchants, auditors and service providers. The number of companies working in these fields stands at about 15,000, all operating under the ministry’s supervision.
The UAE has made significant progress in combating money laundering, terrorism financing and the proliferation of weapons over the past few years.
The country's Financial Intelligence Unit — the central agency that works closely with authorities to determine links between possible proceeds of crime, money laundering or terrorist financing — reported a 51 per cent annual rise in the number of suspicious transaction reports (STRs) logged in the first quarter of 2022.
The UAE has seized and confiscated assets worth more than Dh4.73 billion ($1.29bn) in the 12 months through to the end of July.
Assets worth Dh2.54bn were seized by authorities while assets worth Dh2.19bn were confiscated in the one-year period, Hamid Al Zaabi, director general of the UAE’s Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing, told The National in an interview last month.
In August, the UAE introduced new reporting requirements for “certain real estate transactions” conducted in the country to fight money laundering and terrorism financing.
As part of the directive, all real estate agents, brokers and law firms are required to file reports to the Financial Intelligence Unit on the purchase and sale transactions of freehold properties that involve three methods of payment, whether for a portion or the entirety of the property value.