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UAE authorities have taken “significant steps” to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes, and their efforts are “providing fruitful results”, says the Islamic Central Bank’s Governor.
Khaled Balama, chairman of the Abu Dhabi-based National Commission on Counter-Terrorism Financing and Illegal Organisation Financing, stated at the opening of the Egmont Group Plenary in Abu Dhabi that the country had taken steps to combat financial crime.
The committee places “great importance on leveraging modern technology to facilitate the reporting of suspicious transactions, enable efficient communication, expedite procedures and make informed decisions regarding issuing fines”, Mr Balama said.
“This stems from our awareness of the negative repercussions of financial crimes on the financial system and society, requiring us to work closely and enhance international co-operation to fight against these issues. We are pleased with the tangible progress achieved in this regard, which has been regarded by several relevant international bodies, namely the Financial Action Task Force [FATF] and the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force [MENAFATF]. The regulator is also developing new systems and standards, such as supervisory and regulatory technology, to fortify our operations and bolster the resilience of our financial system”, he further added.
In order to supplement its regulatory oversight functions, the UAE Central Bank has issued new guidelines. Xolisile Khanyile, chairwoman of the Egmont Group, stated, “The annual Egmont Group Plenary is a pivotal event to promote international co-operation and intelligence sharing in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.” This year’s event highlighted “the need to adopt and integrate digital technologies to increase information sharing between financial intelligence units around the world”, she said.
According to a statement issued by the central bank of the UAE, hosting the Egmont Group Plenary is part of a nationwide effort to prevent fund laundering, terrorist financing, and financial crimes. The department is enhancing cooperation, exchanging information, and expertise through its international counterparts.
MENAFATF upgraded three FATF recommendation ratings in May as a result of UAE efforts amid terrorism financing and money laundering concerns.
Following the steps taken by the Arab world’s second-largest economy, the FATF has upgraded recommendations 1, 19 and 29 to “compliant” or “largely compliant.”
Mr Balama said the UAE now complies with 39 of the 40 FATF recommendations. “Rapid technological advancements present formidable challenges, including diverse financial crime methods. Overcoming these challenges necessitates close cooperation, continuous communication with international partners, diligent implementation of decisions and optimal support to financial information units. They serve as the bedrock for achieving desired progress among member countries,” he stated.