AML/CTF in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
„Long Live my Nation“
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) stands at the forefront of combating money laundering and terrorist financing, having established a comprehensive and evolving legal framework to safeguard its financial systems. This guide delves into the UAE’s strategic approach towards Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF), highlighting key legislations, regulatory bodies, and initiatives that reinforce the nation’s commitment to global financial security standards.
The Cornerstones of UAE’s AML/CTF Framework
Federal Decrees and Laws: At the heart of the UAE’s AML/CTF efforts are the Federal Decree-Law No. (20) of 2018 and its subsequent amendment, Federal Decree-Law No. (26) of 2021. These laws establish a solid foundation for identifying, penalizing, and preventing financial crimes, underpinning the nation’s legal infrastructure against illicit financial flows.
Cabinet Decisions and Resolutions: The UAE Cabinet has issued several critical decisions, such as Cabinet Decision No. (132) of 2023 on administrative penalties and No. (109) of 2023 on beneficial ownership regulations. These decisions reinforce the legal framework, ensuring clarity and stringent enforcement of AML/CTF measures.
Specialized Departments and Committees: The establishment of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Supervision Department (AMLD) within the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) in August 2020 marked a significant stride in centralizing and strengthening AML/CTF efforts. The AMLD, alongside the National AML/CFT Committee, orchestrates the national strategy and action plans, reflecting a coordinated approach to combat financial crimes.
UAE’s International Compliance and Cooperation
The UAE’s AML/CTF regime is aligned with international standards, notably those set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The nation’s proactive engagement in mutual evaluations and adherence to FATF recommendations underscores its commitment to global cooperation against money laundering and terrorism financing.
Guidance and Enforcement
To ensure effective implementation, the UAE issues periodic circulars and guidelines, addressing updates on high-risk jurisdictions, reporting obligations, and sector-specific advisories. These communications are pivotal in maintaining a well-informed network of financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs), fostering a culture of compliance and vigilance.
Reporting and Sanctions
A critical component of the UAE’s AML/CTF framework is the emphasis on timely and accurate reporting of suspicious transactions. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), empowered by robust platforms like GoAML, plays a pivotal role in analyzing and acting upon such reports, ensuring a rapid response to potential threats.
- FATF „United Arab Emirates“ https://www.fatf-gafi.org/en/countries/detail/Émirats%20arabes%20unis.html
- FATF „The United Arab Emirates‘ progress in strengthening measures to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing“ https://www.fatf-gafi.org/en/publications/Mutualevaluations/Fur-uae-nov-2021.html
- The Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism
- Ministry of Economy, Taking Measures to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Crimes https://www.moec.gov.ae/en/aml
- Central Bank of the UAE, AML/CFT Supervision https://centralbank.ae/en/our-operations/anti-money-laundering-aml/
- UAE National Anti Money Laundering and Combatting Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organizations Committee (NAMLCFTC) https://www.namlcftc.gov.ae/en/
- UAE Financial Intelligence Unit https://www.uaefiu.gov.ae/en/