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12 March 2021, 6:59

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Zero-Tolerance for Money Laundering

New dedicated office to confront money laundering

In the past years, the UAE has made significant improvements to its AML/CFT system. The UAE has demonstrated a high-level commitment to better understand and mitigate its money laundering/terrorist financing.

In this blog, you can read about the latest measures taken in the United Arab Emirates to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

The UAE now has strict laws to deal with money laundering and financial crimes. In November 2020, the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department established a dedicated court to tackle money laundering.

The new dedicated office to confront money laundering has been established in the Capital of the UAE. It will oversee the implementation of the UAE’s National AML/CFT Strategy and National Action Plan (NAP). The programme of reforms is designed to strengthen the UAE’s anti-financial crime regime.

The Executive Office will report directly to the Higher Committee overseeing the UAE’s National AML/CFT Strategy, chaired by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The UAE decided to establish a dedicated office to help deal and coordinate with the local, regional and international authorities in combating financial crime

Hamid Al Zaabi, Director General of Executive Office

Key Objectives

To enable and better equip the UAE in building a strong and sustainable AML/CFT structure in the country.

Key Responsibilities

Improve operational levels and tackle money laundering and terrorist financing threats by working with regional and international groups. Such groups include the Gulf Cooperation Council Working Group on AML/CFT, G20, and the Financial Action Task Force.




FATF Status

The United Arab Emirates is not on the FATF List of Countries that have been identified as having strategic AML deficiencies. The last Mutual Evaluation Report relating to the implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards in the United Arab Emirates was undertaken in 2020.

According to that Evaluation, The United Arab Emirates has been deemed compliant for 11 and largely compliant for 23 of the FATF 40 recommendations. It was also deemed highly effective for 0 and substantially effective for 5 regarding the 11 areas of effectiveness of its AML/CFT Regime.

The Way Forward

Regtech and Anti-Financial Crime Prevention (AFC) especially, the Rise of Regtech and Regulatory Sandboxes for more innovation is crucial.

London one of the largest financial centres in the world has already attracted RegTech Firms in the past. One of the core factors of attracting innovative firms like RegTech companies is:

  • The high-quality education due to near-by universities.
  • Stable Law, Regulation, and Intellectual property rights, employment laws, tax laws and regulatory safe harbors like Sandboxes.

Regtech is a call for innovation and disruption. Technology enabled compliance and also the collaboration with the regulators.

The Journey has just begun

Compliance with the help of Technology has massive possibilities. Costs can be brought down to more than 40% and the risk of non-compliance and fines can be minimised.


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