The UAE’s Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing has hosted a three-day workshop to spread awareness about financial crimes.
The Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force workshop was held in Abu Dhabi and included more than 100 participants from 21 countries.
It focused on issues related to regional anti-money laundering and efforts to counter the financing of terrorism, bringing together regional and international experts who shared experiences and new challenges.
The workshop aimed to share knowledge between regional partners and identify the main opportunities and threats in an effort to tackle financial crime, said Hamid Al Zaabi, director general of the Executive Office.
“There is no doubt that the large number of participants at this year’s workshop is a clear indication of how much importance is paid to combating financial crime in the region,” he said.
“Only by working closely together can we improve the effectiveness of our efforts and protect our economies.”
The UAE 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 2022, as it stepped up its fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Established in 2004, the task force plays a critical role in co-ordinating the regional fight against financial crime.
The exchange of information played an important role in enabling countries to keep pace with financial criminals using new tactics, said the task force's executive secretary, Suliman Al Jabrin.
“Criminals innovate their techniques and methods to find new ways to circumvent AML/CFT laws and operate at a fast pace.
“Understanding these techniques and analysing new trends, which is the main purpose of this workshop, is an effective manner of addressing the threats we jointly face," he said.
The workshop covered various themes of regional and international importance, including beneficial ownership, asset recovery, terrorism financing risks with a focus on non-profit organisations, and money laundering and terrorism financing risks in relation to new technologies and virtual assets.