UAE committed to financial action task force standards, central bank governor says

The country has strict laws and mechanisms to deal with money laundering and the financing of terrorism

The Central Bank of the UAE in Abu Dhabi. The UAE is committed to FATF standards. Sammy Dallal / The National
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The UAE is committed to Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards and will develop policies to strengthen the local banking sector to combat all types of financial crimes, according to the country's central bank governor.

The FATF is a Paris-based, intergovernmental body that acts as the global money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog.

"CBUAE will continue to work alongside central banks and monetary authorities to develop plans and policies aimed at swiftly and effectively responding to crises," Abdulhamid Alahmadi, governor of the Central Bank of the UAE, said in a statement on Tuesday following a meeting of the Council of Arab Central Banks and Monetary Authorities Governors.

"In our supervisory role mandate, we shall continue to adhere to FATF standards in order to ensure the UAE’s financial system is sound and inclusive, taking into consideration the Bank for International Settlements guidelines in this regard.”

The UAE has strict laws to deal with money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Recently, it rolled out a new smart tool named ‘Fawri Tick’ to monitor and curb terrorism financing. The tool integrates and aggregates various anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing cases across federal and local authorities and facilitates communication among all relevant authorities in an effort to combat financial crimes.

Earlier this month, the UAE also made it mandatory for all hawala providers – informal funds transfer agents that typically do not use banks – to register with the Central Bank to "enhance transparency in financial transactions" and strengthen the oversight of money transfers.

Other efforts include the establishment of a dedicated department aimed at supervising licensed financial institutions and facilitating cooperation at the national and international level, in accordance with FATF’s standards.

Mr Alahmadi highlighted the importance of addressing this issue as part of the UAE’s national agenda and stressed the need to take appropriate actions to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

FATF's president Marcus Pleyer also commended the efforts of Arab nations in fighting financial crimes but urged them to "undertake further actions" ... noting that this matter should be a top priority, especially amid the spread of Covid-19.