UAE Starts to Scrutinize Businesses to Ensure KYC/AML Compliance

  • Richard Marley
  • April 28, 2021
  • 2 minutes read
  • 201

The UAE’s Ministry of Economy now starts the inspections of Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) to make sure they are complying with the anti-money laundering and countering terrorism funding regulations. 

The businesses such as property agents, auditors, dealers, brokers, dealers of precious metals and stones, and service providers were previously asked to comply with the regulations by registering with the specific anti-money laundering bodies before April 30th or face the penalties. Now, as the 30th of April approaches, the ministry has already begun investigating the businesses that remain non-compliant. 

“The inspection campaign aims to ensure that the sector’s establishments follow the established regulations on anti-money laundering,” Safeya Al Safi, director of the anti-money laundering department at the Ministry of Economy, said. “Furthermore, it focuses on ensuring the integrity and transparency of commercial transactions within the DNFBPs sector, thereby addressing illegal and unsound financial practices and suspicious activities.”

The businesses failing to comply with the goAML system and the Automatic Reporting System for Sanctions Lists can now face major consequences including the hefty fines and closure of their organisations, the officials warned. 

The previous deadline was extended to April 30th as the number of businesses submitted their documents but the delay was from the regulator’s side. The deadline was also extended to provide more time to businesses facing circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The penalties for not complying with the AML regulations are from Dh50,000 ($13,613) to Dh5 million. The business that has been found non-compliant will be facing penalties from May 1st. 

The inspection campaign is being led by a newly appointed head to carry out field visits as well office inspection of the DNFBPs businesses and to follow up with them on their compliance issues. 

“Compliance and registration in the systems contribute to the development of the UAE’s business environment, improving various indicators at the global level,” Ms Al Safi said. “This will positively impact the business sectors by enhancing confidence in the UAE economy and increasing investment flows, business growth and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

UAE has been issuing strict measures against money laundering terrorism financing over the past couple of years. A new agency has also been launched by the country to fight these financial crimes.