As a committed member, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) contributes to global anti money laundering efforts and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), and strives to fully implement the standards set by the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF). In 2018, the UAE, with the extensive participation of all concerned authorities, conducted its first national risk assessment on money laundering and terrorist financing. The assessment identified a number of areas in which the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing are high. In 2019, FATF also evaluated the UAE in accordance with international requirements and found a number of areas that will benefit from a national framework for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, in order to develop further.
Federal Decree-Law No. (20) of 2018 on Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organizations, and its Implementation Regulation was issued. It is the basic legislative framework that criminalizes money laundering and terrorist financing operations and capitalizes on the effectiveness of the legal and institutional framework in the implementation of procedures and measures that contribute to anti-money laundering efforts and combating the financing of terrorism and illegal organizations.
Money laundering is defined as any financial or banking transaction aimed at concealing or changing the identity of illegally obtained funds by passing them through the financial and banking system in order to make them appear as originating from legitimate sources, and then re-pumping and investing them in a legal manner contrary to their real nature.
The UAE is fully committed to combating money laundering and terrorism financing and detecting and deterring them in accordance with established legislation. The competent authorities in the country have put in place an institutional system to oversee, control, and collect information on all practices that may lead to financial crimes to address them, including money laundering and terrorism financing. The authorities realize that the national framework and coordination to AML/CFT must continue to be enhanced and developed to improve their effectiveness.
The national institutional framework is represented in the National Strategy to AML/CFT, with a view to continuously improve governmental operations in a comprehensive institutional manner and implement it effectively to counter the risks of money laundering, terrorism financing and the risks of illegal organizations in the UAE.
The UAE must be viewed as a country in which criminals cannot carry out money laundering and terrorism financing operations, neither as a transit route to transfer proceeds originating from any criminal activity.