Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed reviews country's action plans to fight financial crimes

Higher Committee that oversees the National Strategy on Money Laundering and Countering Terrorism Financing discussed future plans to combat money laundering and terrorism financing

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, November 3, 2020.   The UAE flag, Corniche.
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Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, on Monday chaired a meeting of the Higher Committee that oversees the National Strategy on Money Laundering and Countering Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT).

Members of the committee reviewed the progress in implementing the country's action plans to fight financial crimes, according to the state news agency Wam. They also discussed future plans to combat AML/CFT and were briefed on the UAE's Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog.

The committee was briefed on the outcome of the first follow-up meeting on the UAE, which had requested a “re-evaluation of its compliance” to the four technical recommendations from the Middle East and North Africa office of FATF.

The UAE received preliminary approval to end the evaluation of all target recommendations from Mena FTAF, which is an “achievement and affirms the country’s serious efforts to develop its anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism system”, Wam reported.

Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs; Hessa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development; Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State, and Khaled Al Tameemi, governor of the Central Bank of the UAE, also attended the meeting along with senior government officials.

Earlier on Monday, the CBUAE said the National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations (NAMLCFTC) approved six-risk assessment reports in addition to guidelines for financial institutions, designated non-financial businesses and professions at its third meeting of the year.

The reports relate to terrorism financing, trade-based money laundering, misuse of legal persons, non-profit organisations, lawyers and the gold sector.

They will help "align the legislative and operational frameworks and priorities with the current risks and enhance understanding of risks and to boost cooperation among the competent authorities", the central bank said in a statement.

The UAE has strict laws to deal with money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The country launched a new agency to combat money launderers and those suspected of financing terrorists and organised crime earlier this year.

In November, the ministry of economy also set up an AML department to ensure all non-financial businesses and professionals comply with local laws. In addition, a court was set up in Abu Dhabi to tackle money laundering and tax evasion cases.