Senior UAE judges outline action taken to tighten anti-money laundering controls

Strengthening legal mechanisms and diligence of officials is key to fighting financial crime

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, July 31, 2012:  
UAE dirhams. (Silvia Razgova / The National)
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Senior judges in Abu Dhabi have spoken about the UAE’s efforts to fight money laundering and ensure protection to all from financial crime.

Mansour Al Marzouqi, chief justice of the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court, said reinforcing anti-money laundering mechanisms was an important step and part of efforts to strengthen controls in the fight against such crimes.

He spoke during a seminar organised by the Abu Dhabi judicial department, reported Wam, the state news agency.

The online conference follows swift action taken by law enforcement in the Emirates to combat financial crime.

There have been several high-profile arrests made recently by UAE authorities including Dubai Police arresting South African brothers Atul and Rajesh Gupta for allegedly looting billions from state-owned companies.

Police also arrested Sanjay Shah, a hedge fund trader in a $1.7 billion tax fraud case last month.

The meeting in Abu Dhabi focused on the strategies in place to tackle money laundering, terrorism financing and the obligations of legal professionals and officers of the court.

Key measures to fight financial crime

Mohammad Al Hassani, chief prosecutor at the major financial matters prosecution, emphasised how international co-operation was key to identify risks, backed by co-ordination and prosecution of crime linked to money laundering, terrorist financing and arms proliferation.

Mr Al Hassani, who is also the head of the international co-operation section in the attorney general’s office, touched on fortifying preventive measures in the financial sector, granting powers to authorities for investigation, law enforcement and improving transparency.

He pointed out the challenges and solutions to combat money laundering, the history, nature of the crimes and the business sector’s role.

Speakers also outlined strengths of the Abu Dhabi money laundering and tax evasion crimes court.

Ridha Khemakhem, a judge at the Abu Dhabi Court of Appeal, spoke of the work being done to bolster the judicial system in the emirate to deal with such crimes, prosecute criminals and bring them to justice.

He also reviewed the UAE's efforts from developing legislative, institutional mechanisms to the international agreements and treaties the country had signed.

The UAE has said it is committed to working with international partners to identify and punish criminals and curb illegal financial networks.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, leads a high-level co-ordination committee that checks on progress to counter money laundering and terrorist financing.

A global anti-money laundering body, the Financial Action Task Force, had said in March that the UAE had made significant progress and “made a high-level political commitment” to work with the organisation and strengthen controls.

The international watchdog said there would be “increased monitoring” of the UAE’s implementation of its action plan to counter money laundering and terrorism financing, also referred to as the grey list.

The country has brought in several reforms to prevent financial crime in recent years and strengthened its approach in line with global standards.

The Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing said the UAE had confiscated Dh2.33 billion ($634 million) last year in a purge on financial crime.

Updated: July 03, 2022, 12:04 PM
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