UAE gold refiners urged to follow due diligence to avoid penalties

Emirates continues to boost efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism

One kilogramm fine gold bar are pictured in the Pro Aurum KG in Munich, Germany, on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. Photographer: Michaela Handrek-Rehle/Bloomberg
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The Ministry of Economy has urged UAE gold refiners to follow due diligence regulations before supplying the precious metal as the country continues to boost efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The regulations, which came into force in January this year, apply to all gold refiners operating in the country, the Ministry of Economy said on Sunday.

“The purpose of implementing the due diligence regulations for the responsible supply of gold is to protect the interests of companies that engage in such activities from the penalties and administrative sanctions resulting from their failure to comply with the UAE’s AML/CFT legislation,” Safiya Al Safi, director of the AML department at the ministry said.

The regulations will help companies identify risks in the supply chain, design and implement a strategy to mitigate the risks and arrange an independent third-party audit of the supply chain's due diligence.

The latest move comes as the UAE continues to take strict measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Earlier this year, the UAE suspended one of the country's biggest gold refineries, Emirates Gold DMCC, from its approved “good delivery list”, a certification scheme that sets responsible sourcing rules.

The country unveiled the UAE Good Delivery Standard for gold in November 2021, a voluntary national standard for the sector to establish a framework that favours ideal specifications.

Refiners must meet anti-money laundering and responsible sourcing standards to be included on the list, which grants them access to the nation’s gold market.

The UAE Central Bank has also fined financial institutions and banks for not complying with AML rules in the past few months.

In August, the regulator penalised an exchange house operating in the country for failing to achieve appropriate levels of compliance with AML.

It imposed a fine of Dh5.2 million ($1.4 million) against the exchange house in accordance with the law on AML/CFT and the financing of illegal organisations.

“Companies are required to conduct due diligence on their customers and suppliers and vet them by collecting a set of data to identify AML/CFT risks, as well as adopt measures to assess and identify risks, control transactions, shipping and associated documents,” the Ministry of Economy said.

Gold trade and trading fall under the designated non-financial business or professions category and is one of the activities classified as high risk.

The Ministry of Economy periodically monitors this sector to ensure its compliance with the legislation.

In 2022, the Ministry of Economy announced the due diligence regulations for the responsible supply of gold in accordance with Federal Decree Law No. 20 of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations and its executive regulations.

These regulations were the latest addition to a series of initiatives and policies launched by the UAE with an aim to develop and govern gold trade and trading in line with international standards and to enhance the UAE's position as a leading global hub in the gold trade.

Updated: November 19, 2023, 12:26 PM