UAE drafts new law on charity fundraising to combat money laundering

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The UAE is developing a new law that will further regulate fundraising and donations for charity in the country to tackle money laundering.

The legislation – or the ‘Fundraising Regulatory Law’ – will apply to non-government organizations soliciting funds in the country, according to a senior government official.

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Nasser Ismail, assistant undersecretary of Social Welfare at the Ministry of Community Development (MOCD), told state news agency WAM it is part of ongoing efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

“We must refer to a new federal law being formulated by the ministry… which will stipulate a set of conditions and regulations for licensed charitable and humanitarian authorities within the UAE,” Ismail said.

He also said the MOCD will also announce soon “another series of awareness programs” about the new law, which is intended to “ensure the safety, security and stability of the community.”

“These measures will support social development and encourage humanitarian giving, based on the values and traditions of Emirati society,” he said.

There are already strict measures in place for fundraising and donating money for charity in the UAE.

According to existing regulations, anyone can legally contribute funds for humanitarian reasons through registered charitable organizations, while those who want to raise funds can only do so after obtaining the approval from the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments at the national level or Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai.

However, the government has been ramping up efforts to combat money laundering.

The OECD had warned in a report that charities are being used for money laundering and tax evasion.

“There is evidence to suggest that the abuse of charities for tax evasion and money-laundering purposes is organized in many cases, and is not only individualistic,” the report said.

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