H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed chairs meeting of Higher Committee Overseeing National Strategy on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, chaired the 16th Meeting of the Higher Committee Overseeing the National Strategy on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism.

During the meeting, Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, elaborated on the efforts undertaken by the Ministry as a supervisory authority in implementing the National Strategy on AML/CFT and the operational and executive plans to carry out various initiatives and activities.

These efforts also focus on the upskilling of employees and building the appropriate technical systems to assist in fulfilling the requirements of the country’s mutual evaluation.

Moreover, authorities continue to hold awareness and training workshops for the private sector and company registrars in the country, including those in the free zones.

The Ministry of Economy held more than 30 workshops in this regard with the participation of 2,226 attendees from the private sector and 22 meetings with company registrars through the Sub-Committee of Company Registrars in the UAE to effectively implement plans, raise awareness, and promote better understanding among registrants about the implementation of the integrated national AML/CFT regime.

The Ministry of Economy has also conducted inspections on nearly 288 companies from the Designated Non-Financial Business & Professions (DNFBP) sector, which led to the issuance of 84 fines amounting to approximately AED7 million and 31 warnings, in addition to penalties totalling AED9.8 million on companies violating the requirements of beneficial ownership procedures.

Al Marri emphasised that the Ministry is moving forward with the implementation of a reinforced AML/CFT system in an effective and deterrent manner in order to ensure a safe and welcoming economic environment for businesses operating in the country.

During the meeting, the Executive Office of AML/CFT, provided a presentation on the latest developments regarding national AML/CFT efforts, in addition to the outcomes of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary meeting, which took place between 20-21 October 2022 in Paris.

The FATF Plenary praised the UAE’s efforts in implementing its Action Plan requirements and the progress reflected in its report, following the discussion of the country’s follow-up report with the FATF monitoring group in September 2022.

Moreover, the presentation of the Executive Office of AML/CFT shed light on a number of developments at the national level, including a 400% increase in legal assistance requests equating to a total of 179 requests, which reflects the country’s efforts in engaging with international partners to combat cross-border crimes.

The total value of fines imposed by supervisory authorities amounted to more than AED65 million. The Financial Intelligence Unit’s continuous efforts in enhancing its human capital through training and awareness workshops was also emphasised.

Over the last three months, the FIU participated in 12 workshops on this front and has issued money freesing orders that amount to over AED1.2 billion.

Furthermore, the presentation stressed that the private sector continues to work on furthering its awareness and enhancing its implementation of targeted financial sanctions. Over 15 training workshops have been conducted with over 12,000 participants from the public and private sectors, and several guidance notes were issued to ensure the private sector’s compliance with these requirements.

The Fawri-Tick system has also been updated due to increased demand to assist in the imposition of targeted financial sanctions and in cases of proliferation financing.

The Higher Committee was also briefed on the second cycle of the UAE’s National Risk Assessment, which was recently launched in partnership with the World Bank.

The Executive Office for AML/CFT previously signed an agreement with the World Bank earlier this year in order to make use of its methodology in conducting the country’s National Risk Assessment. Around 75 local entities are participating in the assessment process, in addition to the involvement of the private sector.

The meeting also discussed the outcomes of the 14th MENA Regulatory Summit, which was held in Abu Dhabi on 25 October 2022 by the Executive Office for AML/CFT in partnership with the London Stock Exchange Group. More than 450 international specialists attended the summit.

The meeting was attended by Mohamed bin Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs; Hessa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development; Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; Abdullah bin Sultan Al Nuaimi, Minister of Justice; Ahmed Al Sayegh, Minister of State; Khaled Balama Altameemi, Governor of the Central Bank of the UAE; Ali Al Neyadi, Chairman of the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority; Lieutenant-General Talal Belhoul Al Falasi, Director-General of the State Security Department in Dubai; Ali bin Hammad Alshamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for National Security; and Lt. Gen Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police.

Saeed Mubarak Al Hajeri, Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic and Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Ibrahim Mohammed Al Zaabi, Director-General of the State Security Service; and Hamid Saif Al Zaabi, Director-General of the Executive Office to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, were also present.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation