CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom, 15th September, 2022 (WAM) — An Emirati delegation led by the Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (Executive Office for AML/CTF) participated in the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime alongside international partners committed to combating financial crime.
The Cambridge Symposium was established over four decades ago and is considered the leading forum for AML/CFT experts, academics, officials, and private sector specialists. This year’s theme was ‘Selling status – insider crime and abuse of trust,’ and keynote speeches were given by the Lord Mayor of London, Attorney Generals, Ministers of Justice, Parliamentarians, and Directors of Supervisory and Enforcement Agencies from around the world.
The UAE delegation was led by senior members of the Executive Office with backgrounds in financial investigations and comprised members from several departments. Members of the UAE delegation participated in a high-level panel with the theme ‘Going after ill-gotten gains’, which featured experts from over ten countries, including the US, UK, China, and Germany. Sir John Mummery, PC, QC, former Lord Justice of Appeal, England and Wales, President of the Intelligence Services Tribunal and the Investigating Power Tribunal, chaired the session.
Hamid Al Zaabi, Director-General of the Executive Office for AML/CTF, commented that participation in the symposium is part of a programme of wider activities that ensures the UAE remains fully up to date with the latest AML/CFT trends and threats.
He added, “Financial criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods. To counter this threat, states must continually improve their systems, and to this end the UAE has invested heavily in a long-term, sustainable AML/CFT system to counter financial crime. The Executive Office for AML/CTF is the central coordinating body that implements the National AML/CFT Strategy and Plan and is working to accelerate the development of the UAE’s ability to detect, investigate, and combat money laundering and terrorist financing as we advance financial crime compliance frameworks in the UAE and around the world.”
He stated that international coordination is critical for states to successfully pursue ill-gotten gains, and the UAE has increased its collaboration with international partners to achieve this objective. Over the last year alone, the UAE has signed five new international judicial cooperation agreements (IJCAs) with the United States, Russia, Netherlands, Denmark, and Italy. He pointed out that the reporting, investigating, and seizing assets are cornerstones of the UAE’s approach to delivering significant results over the past year, and that suspicious transactions reporting in the UAE increased 51 percent year-on-year (1Q21 vs 1Q22). This demonstrates greater AML/CFT understanding by private sector entities and monitoring by supervisory authorities.
The UAE authorities have carried out a number of successful arrests of high-profile individuals in relation to financial crime by working in close cooperation with partners in Europe, Africa, and the US. In addition, thorough investigation has led to the proceeds of crime being recovered or confiscated.
Total enforcement actions imposed by supervisory authorities from July 2021-July 2022 exceeded AED 42 million, a record. The UAE confiscated more than AED 2.35 billion (US$640 million) in illicit assets in 2021, of which AED 15 million (US$4 million) was in gold and precious metals.
Delegates from the Executive Office participated in fora and workshops covering a wide range of issues in the financial crime field. These included sessions on corporate responsibility, managing complex fraud investigations, corruption as a facilitator of crime, evolving technology, virtual assets and crypto regulation, and more.
In addition to the main programme, the Executive Office hosted a working lunch for other participants who had travelled from the UAE.