UAE boosts efforts to combat money laundering

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Sheikh Mansour has chaired a high-level coordination meeting on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) to discuss the UAE’s progress in countering financial crime, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

The UAE is closely coordinating with its international partners to identify, disrupt, and punish criminals and illicit financial networks to tackle money laundering and terror financing.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, chaired a high-level coordination meeting on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) to discuss the UAE’s progress in countering financial crime.

During the meeting, representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) and the Executive Office for AML/CFT presented on the UAE’s strategy to strengthen its longstanding efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Participants discussed the numerous ways in which the UAE is closely working with its international partners. Extending from its commitment to protecting the integrity of the global financial system, the UAE has enacted notable reforms to prevent financial crime in recent years and will continue strengthening its approach in line with international standards and the global AML/CFT agenda.

The achievements of the UAE Expert Group for AML/CFT, which has successfully conducted 44 meetings with counterpart jurisdictions, were also discussed, with a particular focus on the training and advancement of AML/CFT experts in the UAE as part of efforts to develop a strong talent pool of anti-financial crime professionals.

This has led to raising awareness around the UAE’s substantial progress in the field of countering financial crime and establishing direct lines of communication between UAE experts and key counterparts in international jurisdictions.

Moreover, participants addressed significant areas of improvement in the UAE’s AML/CFT efforts, including its progress in enacting targeted financial sanctions to combat terrorism, terrorist financing, and proliferation; increasing transparency on beneficial ownership of legal arrangements and entities; and strengthening relevant laws and regulations to improve national coordination and cooperation.

Concerning the UAE’s commitment to international cooperation on this file, the country’s partnerships in the AML/CFT field were noted, such as the UAE-UK Partnership to Tackle Illicit Financial Flows and the EU Structural Dialogue.

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The UAE has worked with the UK government to launch a toolkit to support financial institutions in tackling illicit financial flows in Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT). Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, UAE Minister of State, has partnered with UK Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon to launch the toolkit, which was launched at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The toolkit provides key guidance to institutions in combating the illegal wildlife trade, from large institutions with significant compliance departments to smaller institutions with less experience or fewer resources in countering this trade.

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The toolkit was developed with a focus on the Africa to Asia route, and highlights the importance of public-private sector cooperation in global financial centres, including the UAE, Hong Kong, and Singapore, to combat this trade. The IWT Financial Flows Toolkit has been translated into Arabic and Mandarin by the UAE Government and TRAFFIC’s China office.

In addition, capacity building sessions and workshops with key jurisdictions were cited, including 31 capacity building sessions, which have led to an enriched exchange of best practices on AML/CFT at the international level.

The meeting was attended by Mohamed Bin Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs; Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development; Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; Abdullah bin Sultan Al Nuaimi, Minister of Justice; Ahmed bin Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State, along with other senior officials.