UAE Central Bank: New guidelines to combat money laundering

Abu Dhabi (Al-Ittihad) The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates has issued new guidelines on countering money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism for licensed financial institutions that provide their services to the real estate sector and traders of precious metals and gemstones.

The new guidelines, which entered into force on June 20, contribute to understanding and mitigating risks, in addition to ensuring effective implementation by authorized financial institutions of their legal obligations related to combating money laundering and combating terrorist financing. The guidelines were developed based on Federal Decree-Law No. (20) of 2018 in the matter of countering money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism, and Cabinet Resolution No. (10) of 2019. These guidelines take into account the standards and directives issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). As stipulated in the guidelines relating to all customer transactions, authorized financial institutions are required to carry out customer due diligence procedures and report any behavior that they suspect may be related to money laundering, terrorist financing or any criminal offense, by submitting suspicious activity reports directly to the FIU In the UAE using the goAML portal.

In addition, the licensed financial institutions that provide their services to the real estate sector and traders of precious metals and precious stones in particular, must work to assess the related money laundering and terrorist financing risks, and develop an effective program to combat them. This includes appointing a qualified compliance officer and training the staff of financial institutions to deal with said risks.

His Excellency Khalid Mohammed Balama, Governor of the Central Bank, said: “Ensuring that all licensed financial institutions understand their role in mitigating and addressing the risks of illicit activities in the UAE’s financial system is an important aspect of our work at the Central Bank. The new guidelines are an essential reference for workers providing services to the real estate sector and traders of precious metals and precious stones, as they have been prepared to increase the effectiveness of licensed financial institutions to contribute to the strenuous national efforts to counter money laundering and combat the financing of terrorism. It should be noted that real estate agents, brokers, and dealers of precious metals and gemstones who are qualified to work in designated non-financial professions are subject to the oversight of the Ministry of Economy, which is the body that issues relevant guidelines.

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