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UAE stepped up and seized $354 million worth of assets from March to mid-July 2023 in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has shown great progress in its fight against money laundering and terrorist financing activities. According to a senior official, they seized $354m worth of assets from March to mid-July 2023, and regulatory authorities have also issued a fine totalling $5.4m in the first-half of the year, which is higher than the combined 2022, 2021, and 2019.
The director general of the UAE’s Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (NAMLCFTC), Hamid-Al-Zabbi, stated, “The UAE has completed a comprehensive review of AML/CFT [Anti-money laundering/Countering the financing of terrorism] progress made in the first half of 2023 which shows significant improvement across the board.” He also emphasised that UAE authorities are preventing illicit transactions and it is a “high priority” for the authorities to prevent and confiscate criminals money from entering the financial system again to damage the integrity of UAE economic ecosystem.
The UAE has made significant progress in the past years against money laundering and terrorist financing by issuing millions of fines to various illegal businesses and individuals for not complying with the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and other regulations. The Arab has become the second-largest economy in the world, passing strict AML/CFT laws to defend its financial system; they also obligated several strict rules to crack down on crimes related to money laundering.
To successfully combat financial crimes, the UAE prioritised large-scale, complicated money laundering cases for investigations and prosecutions between March and mid-July 2023. The appropriate inquiry and criminal prosecution bodies nationwide launched 183 new money laundering cases during this time. To ensure that the National Action Plan and the National AML/CFT strategy are being implemented in the UAE, the Executive Office was established in February 2021. Hamid-Al-Zabi addressed in an interview that the Executive Office, which works as a national policy and coordination body for AML/CFT initiatives, has a broad remit to guarantee that the UAE has a robust and sustainable system and is now in coordination with more than 80 government bodies and law enforcement agencies in the nation.
The Director General also stated, “The UAE will continue to build its long-term, sustainable AML/CFT capabilities to detect, investigate and understand the money laundering and terrorist financing and will continue to broaden its international cooperation.”