UAE arrests 387 international suspects in two-year money-laundering crackdown

Authorities also seize Dh4 billion in illicit funds

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, July 31, 2012:  
UAE dirhams. (Silvia Razgova / The National)
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Nearly 400 international suspects have been arrested on charges of money laundering in the past two years, the Ministry of Interior has announced.

The ministry on Monday said it had received 521 complaints of money laundering crimes in 2021 and 2022, which led to the arrest of 387 suspects and the confiscation of Dh4 billion ($1.1 billion) in illicit funds.

The two-year investigation was conducted in collaboration with law enforcement agencies around the world.

Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, praised the executive office and supreme committee's efforts of monitoring the national strategy to tackle money laundering and terrorism funding, led by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

"We are working to enhance the safe living environment to work and invest in the country," Sheikh Saif said in a statement on Monday.

"We will continue to work with the concerned authorities to boost the local and international efforts to combat money laundering and financial crimes to protect the integrity of the global financial system.

Investigations aim to expose the source of funds, their movement and the real beneficiaries
Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior

"The figures are a result of the work system spotting criminal activities. Investigations aim to expose the source of funds, their movement and the real beneficiaries."

Sheikh Saif said the inquiry led to uncovering criminal networks around the world.

The UAE is keen to combat organised crime in collaboration with the world's police agencies, said Maj Gen Abdullah Al Marri, Commander in Chief of Dubai Police.

"Fighting money-laundering and terrorist-funding crimes requires developing the capabilities of our officers through designated training courses" he said in a statement.

"We have international diploma in anti-money laundering and terrorist funding, which was launched with the United Nations.

"The diploma programme has 116 members from different authorities in the UAE to enhance the abilities and mechanisms of investigation and gathering information."

About 1,628 items of intelligence information related to money laundering have been exchanged between the UAE and international law enforcement agencies, such as Interpol, Europol, Gulf Police Agency and the Anti-Money Laundering Operational Network, between November 2022 and February this year.

Since 2020, the UAE has been asked 3,061 times to assist in either the extradition of criminals or thwarting criminal activities in relation to money laundering and terrorism financing.

UAE authorities have extradited 899 criminals since 2020, of which 43 were involved in money-laundering crimes.

Ten of those were terrorists or were financing terrorist activities.

In the first quarter of this year alone, the UAE issued fines of more than Dh115 million in its fight against money laundering and terrorism financing, a sharp increase from last year's Dh76 million.

Updated: August 15, 2023, 6:43 AM