Anti-Money Laundering Department
Central Bank of the UAE established a dedicated department in August 2020 to handle all anti-money laundering matters and to combat the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).
AML/CFT serves three key objectives:
- examining Licensed Financial Institutions (LFIs)
- ensuring adherence to the UAE’s AML/CFT legal and regulatory framework and
- identifying relevant threats, vulnerabilities and emerging risks concerning the UAE's financial sector.
Read more on AML/CFT.
Federal anti-money laundering courts
In November 2020, Minister of Justice issued ministerial resolutions on setting up specialised courts for money laundering crimes within the framework of federal judiciary in the courts of Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah.
Each court will have minor, major and appeals circuits for hearing these types of crimes.
Read related news coverage on WAM.
Local anti-money laundering court
H. H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, issued a resolution to establish a court specialising in money laundering and tax evasion crimes in Abu Dhabi.
The establishment of the court will support the UAE’s efforts to combat finance-related crimes and persecute perpetrators, through legitimate procedures in coordination with relevant authorities.
Read related news coverage on WAM.
Anti-money laundering laws
Federal Decree No. 20 of 2018 (PDF, 500 KB) on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism was issued to develop the legislative and legal structure of the nation to ensure compliance with international standards on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. The law aims to:
- combat money-laundering practices
- establish a legal framework that supports the authorities concerned with anti-money laundering and crimes related to money-laundering
- counter the financing of terrorist operations and suspicious organisations.
The Decree-Law defines a perpetrator of a money-laundering offence as any person who is aware that the money was derived from a crime, and intentionally commits one of the following acts:
- transferring or transporting proceeds of crime with intent to conceal or disguise its illicit origin
- concealing or disguising the true nature, origin, location, way of disposition, movement or rights related to any proceeds or the ownership thereof
- acquiring, possessing or using such proceeds
- assisting the perpetrator of the predicate offence to escape punishment.
The Law stipulates that money laundering is independent of the predicate crime and that the punishment of the person who has committed a predicate offence shall not protect him or her from being penalised for money laundering.
Executive Office of the Anti-Money Laundering
In December 2020, the UAE Cabinet adopted the formation of the Executive Office of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism with an aim to follow the international requirements in this sector.
The Office will ensure the UAE’s active collaboration with companies and partners that are engaged in combatting money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.
Read related news coverage on WAM.
The National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations (NAMLCFTC) oversees the national risk assessment process. The UAE identifies and assesses the money laundering and terror financing risks it faces, in line with its obligations under the Financial Action Task Force Standards.
The committee has the mandate of:
- Preparing and developing a national strategy to combat crime and proposing related regulations, policies and procedures in coordination with the competent authorities, and monitoring their implementation
- Determining and assessing the risks of crime on the national level
- Coordinating with the relevant authorities and referring to related international sources of information in order to identify high-risk countries in relation to money laundering and financing of terrorism. It is also mandated to instruct the supervisory authorities to ensure adherence to the due diligence procedures by financial institutions, designated non-financial businesses and professions, and non-profit organisations which are under their supervision
- Facilitating the exchange of information and coordination among the various bodies represented in the Committee
- Collecting and analysing statistics and other information provided by the competent authorities to assess the effectiveness of their regulations on combatting money laundering, and the financing of terrorism and illegal organisations
- Representing the UAE in international forums related to anti-money laundering
- Proposing the implementation of regulations covering the work of the Committee and submitting it to the Minister of Finance for approval.
NAMLCFTC was formed as per the directive of H. H. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Interior. The Committee derived its legal framework from Federal Law No. 4 of 2002 regarding the Criminalisation of Money Laundering in Articles 9 and 10.
In 2014, the Committee’s mandate was expanded to include combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism, following the issuance of Federal Law No. 9 of 2014. In 2018, the Committee’s mandate was further expanded to cover anti-money laundering, combating the financing of terrorism and illegal organisations, following the issuance of Federal Law No. 20 of 2018.
Anti-money laundering platform
The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Central Bank of the UAE launched the anti-money laundering platform 'goAML', which is developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to report and curb organised crimes. All financial entities and Designated Non-Financial Businesses or Professions (DNFBPs) have to register on this system. The platform will help prevent money laundering, financing of terrorism and other illicit financial activities. The platform will act as an integral part of the FIU by elevating its IT infrastructure and strengthening a countrywide cooperation against criminal activities.
Fawri Tick – a smart system to prevent financial crimes
Fawri Tick is a smart system that integrates details of financial crimes with various federal and local authorities concerned and facilitates communication and decision-making among them. It enables the authorities to take necessary action within few hours.
Fawri Tick helps the UAE’s authorities to apply strict control measures to respond effectively to financial crimes relating to money laundering, financing of terrorism and other illegal activities. It helps to achieve the National Strategy for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism.
Fawri Tick is developed by Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and under the supervision and management of the sub-technical committee comprising members of National Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organizations Committee and FANR.
Updated on 03 May 2023