UAE property agents and gold dealers urged to register before March 31 with AML systems

Non-compliance with anti-money laundering regulations could result in penalties from Dh50,000 to Dh1m, the ministry of economy says

Real estate agents, gold dealers, auditors, and service providers for companies need to register in anti-money laundering systems before March 31, according to the Ministry of Economy. Pawel Dwulit / The National
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Real estate agents, gold dealers, auditors and corporate service providers have been urged to register with the relevant anti-money laundering system before the end of March to avoid revocation of licences, the ministry of economy said on Wednesday.

Failure to register with the Financial Intelligence Unit (goAML) and the Committee for Commodities Subject to Import and Export Control system during the grace period could also result in major penalties and closure of non-compliant organisations, officials cautioned.

Fines for not adhering to AML regulations could range from Dh50,000 ($13,613) to Dh1 million and can be doubled to Dh5m.

“The initiative falls within the framework of the awareness campaign organised by the ministry to encourage the registration of the target groups in the government systems adopted to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism in the UAE,” the ministry said.

The UAE, which has strict laws to deal with money laundering and the financing of terrorism, has issued various regulations and adopted numerous measures to fight financial crimes.

The country launched a new agency to combat money launderers, entities and people suspected of financing terrorists and organised crime last month. The Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing will be affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.

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 established in Abu Dhabi to tackle money laundering and tax evasion cases.

The Central Bank of the UAE also instructed all hawala providers – informal funds transfer service providers for individuals utilising non-bank methods – to register with the central bank to strengthen the oversight of money transfers last year.

The banking regulator has adopted a tough stance on non-compliance and have been quick to penalise banks and exchange houses if they did not adhere to anti-money laundering regulations.