The Financial Action Task Force has accredited Emirati banking expert Dr Waleed Al Hosani as an assessor to help combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Dr Al Hosani, who serves as an advisor to the chairman of the UAE's National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations, was named in the fourth round of assessment of its member countries.
His participation in the work carried out by the force reflects the UAE's efforts and its firm commitment to thwarting financial crimes, the Central Bank of the UAE said in a statement on Thursday.
The inclusion of Emirati expertise in the force — which is an intergovernmental organisation — also reflects the active role the UAE is playing in maintaining the stability and integrity of the global financial system and the effectiveness of its strategy based on co-operation with relevant international organisations.
“The accreditation of Al Hosani by the FATF embodies the confidence of the international community in the UAE’s efforts in combating money laundering and terrorist financing crimes, at both local and international levels,” Khaled Balama, governor of the Central Bank of the UAE and chairman of the committee, said.
“It also highlights the UAE’s keenness and commitment to preserve the integrity of the financial system, in line with the national strategy on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.”
Al Hosani has joined the task force's team of seven assessors to conduct an assessment process for one of the member countries over a period of 18 months.
The assessment includes field visits and interviews with all entities concerned with combating money laundering and terrorist financing in that country, according to the statement.
The UAE, which has strict laws to deal with anti-money laundering and combatting financing terrorism, has made significant progress in combating money laundering, the financing of terrorism and weapons proliferation over the past few years.
The Arab world’s second-largest economy seized and confiscated assets worth more than Dh4.73 billion ($1.29 billion) in the 12 months to the end of July last year, as it stepped up its fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Assets worth Dh2.54 billion were seized by authorities while assets worth Dh2.19 billion were confiscated in that one-year period, Hamid Al Zaabi, director general of the Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism told The National in October.
Established in February 2021, the Executive Office is charged with overseeing the enforcement of the UAE’s National AML/CFT Strategy and the National Action Plan.
The country has issued various regulations over the past couple of years to fight financial crimes and has signed co-operation agreements with international bodies and bilateral treaties with other countries to share information to strengthen frameworks.
The Central Bank issued new guidelines last month for licensed financial institutions — including banks, finance companies, exchange houses, insurance companies, agents and brokers — to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The guidelines focus on the use of digital identification systems by licensed financial institutions to address customers' due diligence obligations.
The Central Bank also instructed all hawala providers — informal fund transfer agents operating outside the banking system — to register with it to broaden the oversight of money transfers.