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UAE set to be removed from the list of countries under financial crime scrutiny

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recently announced the approval of the UAE’s compliance inspection, acknowledging the nation’s significant steps in implementing measures to combat money laundering. As part of this development, the FATF is planning an on-site visit to the UAE before February next year.

The UAE’s progress in various areas, such as aiding money-laundering investigations, enforcing penalties for non-compliance in financial institutions, and increasing prosecutions, has contributed to its efforts to be removed from the FAFT list of countries under close observation.

In response to this news, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, the UAE Minister of State, expressed enthusiasm for the forthcoming FATF assessment visit. He emphasized the UAE’s continued commitment to reinforcing its anti-money laundering and terrorism financing framework. Al Sayegh emphasized the importance of international collaboration in combatting financial crime and its various forms.

Success in the upcoming inspection could lead to the UAE’s removal from the FATF grey list, aligning it with other jurisdictions such as Barbados, Gibraltar, and Uganda. The UAE had been placed on the grey list last year, indicating a need for more stringent compliance measures.

Khaled Mohammed Balama, the Governor of the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) and Chairman of the UAE National Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organizations Committee, stressed the UAE’s unwavering commitment to preserving the integrity of the global financial system. He highlighted the increased resources and expertise deployed to enhance the UAE’s capabilities in combating economic crimes both domestically and internationally.

Recent efforts by the UAE in combating money laundering and terrorism financing have yielded positive results. Notably, the UAE confiscated assets worth over Dh1.3 billion ($354 million) between March and mid-July 2023, underscoring the nation’s heightened determination. Additionally, fines totalling Dh199 million were issued in the first half of the year, surpassing the combined fines issued in the previous years (Dh76.2 million in 2022, Dh8.4 million in 2020, and Dh800,000 in 2019), illustrating the UAE’s strengthened resolve in combating financial crimes.

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