UAE Successfully Completes FATF Action Plan, Exiting Enhanced Monitoring

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has recently announced the culmination of the UAE’s fulfillment of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) prescribed Action Plan, marking the nation’s exit from the enhanced monitoring process.

This achievement highlights the collaborative endeavors of national entities to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, alongside extensive cooperation with global partners and institutions to uphold the integrity of the UAE’s financial system and beyond.

At the core of the UAE’s strategy to combat financial crimes lies a concerted effort involving cooperation and coordination among various national bodies, including law enforcement agencies, regulatory authorities, and public-private partnerships.

This approach aims to enhance compliance and awareness among financial institutions, businesses, and designated non-financial professions, thereby mitigating risks associated with money laundering, terrorism financing, and illicit organizations.

The National Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organizations Committee (NAMLCFTC), chaired by the Governor of the Central Bank, serves as a pivotal component of the UAE’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CFT) framework. Comprising over 32 entities representing diverse sectors such as law enforcement, regulatory bodies, financial intelligence, and judicial authorities, this committee spearheads local efforts aligned with international standards.

Through the establishment of eight specialized sub-committees and the adoption of best global practices, the NAMLCFTC has executed national action plans, disseminated guiding manuals, and facilitated information exchange frameworks between public and private sectors. Furthermore, investments in technology, including artificial intelligence, have enhanced the efficiency of reporting and analysis of suspicious transactions, reinforcing the UAE’s financial infrastructure against emerging risks.

The commitment of the CBUAE to combat financial crimes extends to its regulatory and supervisory functions, encompassing the issuance of regulations, guidelines, and conducting field examinations. In 2023 alone, the CBUAE conducted 181 field examinations of licensed financial institutions, imposing fines amounting to AED 113.675 million for non-compliance with AML/CFT regulations.

Additionally, awareness sessions conducted for the private sector have engaged over 35,000 participants, fostering dialogue and risk mitigation strategies.

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) plays a pivotal role in international forums, verifying suspicious transactions and activities to safeguard the UAE and the global economy. Leveraging the Integrated Enquiry Management System, the FIU processed over 8,300 requests from law enforcement authorities, sending 710 technical reports to support ongoing investigations. Furthermore, investments in national expertise and AI technologies have enhanced communication and information exchange capabilities.

Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of the CBUAE and Chairman of the NAMLCFTC, emphasized the UAE’s full commitment to combat financial crimes, acknowledging the collaborative efforts of various committees and entities.

It is worth noting that at the conclusion of the annual meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris, the UAE has formally exited the enhanced follow-up stage, often referred to as the grey list, in its dedicated campaign against money laundering and terrorist financing.

The successful exit from the grey list highlights the UAE’s adherence to FATF’s forty recommendations, considered the gold standard in the industry.

It also underscores the effectiveness of the UAE’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing framework, as evaluated through FATF’s comprehensive assessment criteria.

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