Dubai News Report
The UAE is a global hub for international trade and business, attracting infinite financial transactions that may include illegal transactions, which in turn, generate risks to the global financial system.
The UAE government has taken precautionary measures to combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. Anti-Money Laundering laws are implemented to prevent businesses and entities from being involved in activities of taking illegal money to make it appear from a legit source through various commercial transactions.
Over the years, the UAE has established laws to combat illegal financing and money laundering activities under the regulations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organisation based in Paris, founded in 1989. The Financial Intelligence Unit is a special unit established by the Central Bank of UAE for investigating fraud and suspicious transactions in the UAE.
The Federal Decree No. 20 of 2018 on Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organisations (the AML-CFT Law) was issued. Cabinet Decision No. (10) of 2019 is the implementing regulation of the AML-CFT Law.
In November 2020, the Ministry of Justice issued ministerial resolutions on setting up specialized courts in Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, and Fujairah for money laundering crimes within the framework of federal judiciary. The instruction applies to both domestic and international companies, divided into three categories in the UAE:
Non-profit organisations (NPO)
Licenced Financial Institutions (LFI) such as private banks, cash brokerage, trading, investing, virtual banking services, electronic payments for retail and digital cash, money transfer and exchange services
Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions include audit and accounting firms, company service providers, precious metals and gemstone dealers, real estate agents, and brokers.
Moreover, legal consulting companies that do not plead in judicial courts or engage with them (such as lawyers, notaries, and entities registered with the Ministry of Justice) are required to get registration under these provisions.
The AML-CFT guidelines mandates organizations to comply with its provisions and make an AML registration on the goAML portal. The government stipulates heavy penalties and punishments for entities who fail to comply with the guidelines.
How can companies prevent money laundering in the UAE?
Business entities must appoint an independent and qualified compliance officer to enforce these regulations. Organizations must develop and implement strong internal policies and control procedures to ensure the following:
With Know Your Customers (KYC)/Employee policies, companies must collect relevant documents from the employees/clients/associates etc. before onboarding them with the company. Conduct sanction screening, provide training and monitoring guidance to employees, and risk management.
Companies must report suspicious transactions by registering on the goAML portal.
The goAML platform was launched by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Central Bank of the UAE and developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The platform aims to act as an anti-money laundering platform by enabling reporting to combat organized crime.
There are three types of goAML registration: reporting entity, stakeholder, and supervisory body. All the Designated Non-Financial Businesses or Professionals must register on goAML as Reporting Entities. The platform supports the Financial Intelligence Unit to ensure that every organization can report and monitor money laundering and financial terrorism.
Documents required for goAML registration:
Authorisation letter of the company
Copy of commercial trade licence
Copy of passport, residence visa, and Emirates ID
Install the ‘Google Authenticator’ application on the phone.
Steps to register on the goAML portal:
Register with the Service Access Control Manager (SACM) system. Then, you will get a username.
As you register, you get a username and secret code to access the Google Authenticator app.
Then, you will receive an email with the username to access the UAE Financial Intelligence Unit service page- https://services.uaefiu.gov.ae/
Once you login to the service page, you will be registered on the goAML portal with the details of your company, compliance office, and business activities.
After registering, you will receive an email with the status of your application.
The Ministry will conduct regular inspections to evaluate the performance of the company in fulfilling the obligations and assess whether the company is implementing measures to ensure compliance.
It is a smart system developed by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) that collaborates with federal and local authorities to integrate financial crime details, enabling jurisdictions to take necessary action against illegal activities within a few hours.
Fawri Tick assists in applying strict measures to control and respond instantly to financial crimes. The UAE constantly employs advanced technology to address the nuances of money laundering by integrating federal and local authorities.
The Central Bank of the UAE, a regulator for AML, has been issuing circulars outlining the requirements for customer identification, reporting obligations, and other necessary measures to support the financial system in AML/CTF within the country.
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