ABU DHABI, 5th July, 2022 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, chaired the 15th meeting of the Higher Committee Overseeing the National Strategy on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).
During the meeting, Hamid Saif Al Zaabi, Director-General of the Executive Office of AML/CFT, presented the overall progress on the UAE’s National Action Plan on AML/CFT, which included an increase of over 100 percent in international cooperation and mutual legal assistance cases and requests. Progress in supervisory efforts and the effective implementation of a robust risk-based approach was also discussed. Al Zaabi highlighted that enforcement actions have led to the imposition of penalties that have exceeded AED41 million in the first six months of 2022. The efforts of Supervisory authorities were also referenced, which have resulted in enhanced guidance to the private sector, and 6 risk assessments covering the following sectors: financial institutions, dealers in precious metals and stones, real estate, lawyers, accountants and auditors, and trust services providers.
The presentation highlighted registries’ efforts, including the adoption of a legal persons and arrangements risk assessment, an increase of overall compliance by registries through implementing various policies and procedures, the utilisation of automated solutions for risk rating, and the use of the GoAML function.
On financial information and investigations, law enforcement agencies continue to enhance money laundering investigations and cooperation with international counterparts, which has led to several successful interceptions of individuals that present a threat to the global financial system. These arrests included Atul and Rajesh Gupta, some of the most wanted South African individuals in criminal and money laundering cases, and Sanjay Shah, a suspect in a US$1.7 billion tax fraud and money laundering case in Denmark.
On targeted financial sanctions, relevant authorities have enhanced outreach to the private sector to ensure effective implementation of sanctions and to increase their awareness on the matter. Over 11 outreach sessions were conducted with more than 7,000 participants from the private sector, in addition to issuing of several guidance notes to relevant authorities.
The Higher Committee welcomed the steps taken and the progress achieved by all authorities, which reflects the UAE’s commitment to combating money laundering and terrorist financing. Moreover, the Higher Committee was briefed on a working plan developed by the Executive Office of AML/CFT in cooperation with the National AML/CFT Committee and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and other strategic stakeholders on the submission of the progress report.
The meeting was attended by Abdullah bin Sultan bin Awad Al Nuaimi, Minister of Justice; Mohamed Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs; Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State; Khalid Mohammed Salem Balama Al Tamimi, Governor of the UAE Central Bank; Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development; Ali Al Neyadi, Chairman of the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority; and Lt. Gen Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police.
Abdulnasser Al Shaali, Assistant Minister for Economic and Trade Affairs; Rashid Al Amiri, Under-Secretary of Ministry of Presidential Affairs; and Abdullah Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy, were also present.