The UAE's new Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing and its UK counterparts have completed a two-week programme focused on improving processes to tackle money laundering operations and stem the flow of funds and commodities used for illicit means.
Representatives from UAE institutions, including the executive office, the central bank, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the economy, interior and justice ministries held meetings with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs as well as the Serious and Organised Crime Network, SOCnet.
“In working with international stakeholders such as [Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs], we’ve been able to learn a lot while sharing our respective challenges as financial and commodity-based centres,” Hamid Al Zaabi, director-general of the executive office, said.
“By continuing to work in close collaboration, it is the shared view that we will be more effective in our fight against corruption, organised crime and terrorism.”
The UAE has taken a number of steps to strengthen efforts to fight financial crime, having set up the executive office in February and a special court in Abu Dhabi to handle cases related to money laundering and tax evasion.
The Central Bank of the UAE issued new guidance to financial institutions for spotting and reporting illicit transactions this month, and the Ministry of Economy has embarked on a series of campaigns and inspections to make sure non-financial firms like precious metals dealers, property agents and company formation agents – all susceptible to money launderers – are registered on a platform where suspicious activity can be reported.
The collaboration with the UK builds on an inter-governmental conference held last year that brought together policymakers, regulators and other interested parties to share best practices.
"There is much we can learn from each other, given our respective statuses as international financial centres," said Kevin Newe, assistant director of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.