economy

The UAE stresses need to combat money laundering

A concerted global approach is needed to fight the threat, the central bank governor says

17:51 September 20, 2016
 Mubarak Rashed Al Mansoori

Abu Dhabi: With money laundering continuing to be a major concern across the globe, the UAE is making efforts to combat it by freezing and confiscating the relevant assets associated with the crime, the UAE Central Bank governor Mubarak Al Mansouri said on Tuesday.

Speaking at an event in Abu Dhabi, Al Mansouri said the UAE has criminalised money laundering by Federal Law no 4 of 2002, and has established a set of standards and control mechanisms to encounter such crimes.

“More recently, the law has been revised to take measures for identifying, freezing and confiscating the relevant assets that has been identified as proceeds of crime either domestic or transnational. Furthermore, the UAE has signed Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with various countries to combat the crime,” he said.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Suspicious Cases Unit at the central bank has established and finalised MoUs with 43 counterpart Financial Intelligence units and is in the process of signing more, he added.

Al Mansouri made these remarks while speaking at the joint conference between the UAE and the United Kingdom regarding financial crime and recovery of the proceeds of the crime.

The event takes place as terrorist threats increase across the globe and governments take measures to stop the funding support for people involved in criminal activities.

Earlier this year, the UAE Central Bank revoked the license of local money exchange firm, Al Zarooni Exchange, owing to anti-money laundering compliance violations. The move came after a special examination of the firm and its activities.

Challenges

The central bank governor also highlighted the challenges being faced by authorities in tracing the assets of criminals and its recovery. He said it is a complex process and becomes difficult when the financial asset changes its form, such as being converted into property, shares and other disguised assets.

“We therefore need to have clarity of the issues involved in money laundering in order to identify the areas where the UAE can work together with international partners more effectively to recover the proceeds generated from financial crimes,” he said.

Speaking at the event was also Mark Sedwill, permanent secretary at the UK Home Office. He said a robust structure is needed to disrupt terrorism financing. “Money laundering undermines our financial institutions, threatens economic growth and creates barriers for international trade.”

The two-day conference will focus on the legal frameworks of the UAE and the UK as well as the ways and means of sharing information related to the money laundering.