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The UAE has plans to take a strict stance on firms operating in the region over money laundering to introduce reinforced AML and CFT systems.
According to the UAE Executive Office of AML/CFT, illegal criminal proceedings of over Dh3 billion were expropriated from 270 different organisations for violating the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws on Monday (26 Feb 2023).
The Director General of the department, Hamid Al Zaabi revealed that company registrars also imposed penalties on non-compliant firms and fined 3,000 firms. Al Zaabi stated that the regulatory authorities have conducted more than 750 on-site inspections in 2022, in addition to off-site reviews. This led to further enforcement actions and penalties worth Dh75 million.
The UAE Minister of Economy, Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, stated last year, that these inquiries were conducted on nearly 400 firms from the designated non-financial businesses and professions sector. This led to 125 fines and 42 warnings summing up to Dh9.45 million for non-compliant companies.
Following the revelations, Al Marri also added that the Ministry is planning to move forward with implementing the reinforced AML/CFT systems in an effective and strict manner to ensure a safe and welcoming economic environment for businesses operating in the UAE.
The top officials spoke at the 17th meeting of the Higher Committee Overseeing the National Strategy on AML/CFT chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In the meeting, the officials presented different developments in National Strategy on AML/CFT measures. The FATF (Financial Action Task Force) action plan was also part of the meeting, covering the developments in the use of financial intelligence in criminal investigations and the increase in FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit) resources.
During the meeting, a work plan for the upcoming period was approved, including requirements to fulfil FATF recommendations and the action plan. Also the preparations for on-site visits, training and qualification initiatives for the concerned authorities.