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MoE urges businesses to register in anti-money laundering systems

The Ministry of Economy (MoE) has called upon the business sector and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) to expedite their registration in the Financial Intelligence Unit (goAML) and the Committee for Commodities Subject to Import and Export Control system (Automatic Reporting System for Sanctions Lists), during the grace period that extends till March 31st.

This, the Ministry warned, is in order to avoid penalties that may result in the revocation of the non-compliant parties’ licenses and the closure of such facilities. The initiative falls within the framework of the awareness campaign organised by the Ministry to encourage the registration of the target groups in the government systems adopted to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism in the UAE.

The Ministry also underlined the importance of adopting the necessary measures related to confronting money laundering, established by the executive regulations of the Federal Decree Law No. 20 of 2018 on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism and financing illegal organisations, in order to avoid the fines contained in the unified list of violations issued by the UAE Cabinet recently. These fines range from Dhs50,000 to Dhs1 million and can be doubled to Dhs5 million based on the provisions of the law and according to the estimation of the Supreme Committee for Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations.

The Ministry further indicated that all the required measures are explained on its official website. It explained that the sector includes a wide range of non-financial business and activities that are most exposed to money laundering risks. These have been divided according to the executive regulations of the Anti-Money Laundering Law – in line with international standards issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – into four main categories that include: Brokers and real estate agents, dealers of precious metals and gemstones, auditors, corporate service providers.

In detail, Article (3) of the executive regulations of the law specifies the types of business activities and specific non-financial professions that are subject to their supervision as follows: Category/Description 1. Brokers and real estate agents (When entering into operations in the interest of their clients in relation to the purchase and sale of real estate.) 2. Dealers of precious metals and gemstones (When they perform any single cash transaction or several seemingly related transactions, with a value of Dhs55,000 or more.) 3. Independent auditors and accountants (When they prepare, conduct or implement financial operations for the benefit of their clients, related to the following activities): Buying and selling real estates Managing money that the client owns Managing the financial accounts, saving accounts or stock accounts Contributing to establishing, operating or managing companies Establishing, operating or managing companies, or legal arrangements Buying and selling commercial entities 4. Corporate service providers and trust funds (When they undertake or execute an operation for the benefit of their clients or on their behalf in relation to the following activities): Work as an agent in establishing companies Working or preparing someone else to work as a director or company secretary, or as a partner in the company Providing a registered office, business address, place of residence, address for correspondence, administrative address of a legal person, or legal arrangement Doing or preparing another person to act as trustee for a direct trust fund or to perform a similar function for another form of legal arrangement Working or preparing another person to act as a shareholder for another person The Ministry of Economy urged target establishments to contact them in case of any inquiries regarding registration in anti-money laundering and terrorism financing systems, to take the necessary measures, and to learn about penalties and violations, by contacting MoE call centre number 8001222.

In line with the Cabinet Resolution No. (16) of 2021 regarding the unified list of violations and administrative fines for the said violations of measures to combat money laundering and terrorism financing that are subject to the supervision of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Economy, MoE recently issued a list of 26 violations.

The violations relate to the activities of the business sector and the Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) that the Ministry supervises, with regard to combating money laundering and terrorism financing, according to the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 20 of 2018 on countering money laundering crimes, combating the financing of terrorism and illegal organisations, and its implementing regulations and relevant decisions. These activities include 4 main categories: brokers and real estate agents, dealers of precious metals and gemstones, auditors, and corporate service providers.

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