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UAE anti-money laundering efforts make notable progress in 2023

The Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (EO AML/CTF) held a meeting to conclude its year-end progress review for 2023, which included participation from Hamid Al Zaabi, Director General of EO AML/CTFand members of the EO AML/CTF Executive Committee.

Hamid Al Zaabi, Director General of the EO AML/CTFsaying,

“I am pleased to report that a detailed review in 2023 has shown that the UAE AML/CFT system is more dynamic, responsive to threats and more effective as a result of the hard work carried out over the 12 months. The UAE is firmly on track towards the objectives set out in the National Strategy and Plan, and key metrics demonstrate a high level of performance and compliance with international standards. The 2023 year-end review also highlighted that the UAE is coordinating closely with international partners bilaterally and through multilateral organizations and memberships.

Al Zaabi aggregate,

“We are building a national AML/CFT system that is sustainable and long-term, with capabilities to counter emerging risks.

“Looking ahead to 2024, engagement with the private sector will continue to be a key part of our strategy with the participation of the national Public-Private Initiative, the UAE AML/CFT Partnership Forum, which now has more than 50 organizations as members. “And in 2023 it published an important white paper on strategic information sharing. Additionally, the EO AML/CTF sponsored major industry events in 2023, such as the Risk 4.0 forum at Abu Dhabi Finance Week and the Global Police Summit in Dubai.”

Highlights of 2023 included the conclusion of new Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, bringing the total to 45, and bilateral continental visits to more than 20 countries and agencies. In the period from January 2023 to October 2023, the UAE sent 200 requests for outbound mutual legal assistance to facilitate the investigation of the typologies of terrorist financing (TF), money laundering (ML) and predicate crimes.

The United Arab Emirates became the first Arab country to join the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and was granted “observer” status. The total value of AML/CFT fines imposed by the country’s supervisory authorities during the January-October period reached more than AED 249 million, up from AED 76 million in 2022, representing a more than three-fold increase.

Another key step is the implementation of Cabinet Resolution No. (111) of December 2022 on the Regulation of Virtual Assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASP) to enhance a robust regulatory framework and support innovation in the sector. The VASP risk assessment has been updated to identify and assess money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF) risks arising from VASPs. He Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE), the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) and the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) were identified as the supervisory authorities of the VASPs.

In addition, several memorandums of understanding against financial crimes were signed with counterparts from the Republic of Egypt, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Kazakhstan. The United Arab Emirates began its latest National Risk Assessment, which is now at an advanced stage with the support of the World Bank Group.

Other highlights include major extraditions carried out, including the notable case of British hedge fund manager Sanjay Shah to Denmark, where he is wanted by judicial authorities for cases of tax fraud and money laundering.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates Public-private partnership The initiative, the AML/CFT Partnership Forum, saw its membership grow to more than 50 and published a white paper on strategic information sharing.

The EO AML/CTF also contributed to COP28, which took place in Dubai, as its International Climate Law Enforcement Initiative (I2LEC) had high-level participation, with experts from UNODC, INTERPOL and ESRI.

EO AML/CTF experts also participated in an industry panel discussion on the illegal wildlife trade and its impact on climate change.

News source: Emirates News Agency

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