UAE vows to take robust action against financial crime, money laundering

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Senior officials in the United Arab Emirates reaffirmed the Gulf country’s commitment to combat anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported on Saturday.

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“Our efforts to protect our security and economic prosperity will always come first,” Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan – who is also the UAE’s Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister- was quoted as saying in a tweet by Dubai Government’s Media Office.

“This means that the Ministry [of Interior] and the United Arab Emirates law enforcement will continue to investigate and apprehend complex criminal networks and their assets in close coordination with our domestic and international partners.”

“The ongoing efforts to enhance the UAE’s anti-money laundering system are a testament to our strong commitment to combating this global problem as a strategic priority,” he added, commending the UAE’s various ministries that are involved in combating financial crime for their efforts.

The UAE has been implementing an array of sophisticated and significant actions to combat financial crime and strengthen its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing framework, which is in line with the country’s National action Plan and National Strategy for AML/CFT.

To date, the competent UAE authorities have made unprecedented progress in adopting international standards for AML/CFT.

They will continue to increase their efforts, including close and ongoing inter-agency coordination, international cooperation, and collaboration with the private sector.

Senior officials underscored the UAE's commitment at the highest level and reiterated that combating financial crime following the global AML/CFT agenda remains a strategic priority for the UAE.

“The UAE is keen to accelerate the pace of the National Action Plan to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, as this file constitutes a strategic priority for the country,” Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Chairman of the Higher Committee Overseeing the National Strategy to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, said.

“In my capacity as Chairman of the Higher Committee Overseeing the National Strategy to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, I would like to underscore the UAE's commitment at the highest level by strengthening our national AML/CFT framework, including by working closely with FATF, our international partners, and the private sector on a sustainable and ongoing basis.”

The country promised “robust actions” against money-laundering and terrorist financing after it was placed on a grey list of countries subject to heightened scrutiny.

The wealthy Gulf country, which includes the freewheeling trade-to-tourism hub Dubai, was named on the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force’s 23-strong list on Friday, joining the likes of Yemen, Syria and South Sudan.

Grey-list countries are “actively working with the FATF to address strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing,” the global watchdog said in a statement released on Saturday.

UAE officials said they would strive to meet a list of requirements laid down by the taskforce, including increasing prosecutions and identifying sanctions evasion.

“The UAE takes its role in protecting the integrity of the global financial system extremely seriously,” a statement released by the UAE’s Executive Office of AML and CFT read.

With AFP

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