UAE Ministry of Economy to impose penalties on firms that failed to register with AML systems

The penalties ranging from Dh50,000 to Dh5m will come into effect from Saturday

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, Feb 28: Gold rings at Pure Gold shop in Gold Souq in Deira Dubai. (Pawan Singh / The National) For Stock.

Some businesses that have failed to register with the UAE's anti-money laundering system will be penalised following the end of the extended grace period on Friday.

The Ministry of Economy earlier this month urged businesses including brokers, property agents, auditors, dealers of precious metals and gemstones, and corporate service providers to register with the relevant anti-money laundering bodies before April 30 to avoid being fined.

“Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) establishments that have not registered themselves in these systems will be penalised starting from tomorrow, May 1,” the Ministry of Economy said in a statement.

The ministry extended the deadline granted to relevant companies to register with the system until the end of April as a large number of businesses had submitted documents just ahead of the previous deadline at the end of last month. It also took into account the circumstances faced by many businesses as a result of the pandemic.

Fines for not adhering to AML regulations could range from Dh50,000 ($13,613) to Dh5 million, the officials said.

A new head of inspection campaigns has also been appointed to lead a series of field visits and office inspections of relevant businesses and to follow up on any compliance issues.

The UAE, which has strict laws to deal with money laundering and the financing of terrorism, has issued various regulations over the past couple of years to fight financial crimes.

The country launched a new agency to combat money launderers, entities and people suspected of financing terrorists and organised crime earlier this year.

The Central Bank of the UAE also instructed all hawala providers – informal fund transfer agents operating outside the banking system – to register with the central bank to strengthen the oversight of money transfers last year.