MENAFATF rises UAE’s technical compliance for combat money laundering

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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The Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) has decided to raise the UAE’s technical compliance assessment in three key recommendations for fighting money laundering and terrorist financing.

The decision was unanimously approved during the 32nd MENAFATF General Meeting. The UAE’s rating has been increased from “partially compliant” to “compliant” within Recommendations 6 and 7, which are focused on targeted financial sanctions to combat terrorism, terrorist financing, and proliferation.

The country’s compliance rating has also been raised from “partially compliant” to “largely compliant” for Recommendation 25 on transparency and beneficial ownership of legal arrangements and entities.

With this achievement, the UAE becomes “committed” or “largely committed” to 37 of the FATF’s 40 recommendations to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

The satisfactory rating of the vast majority of recommendations places the UAE is among the most advanced countries in the world in terms of technical compliance with countering money laundering and terrorism financing.

The re-rating is the result of the direct supervision of the Higher Committee Overseeing the National Strategy on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism, chaired by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The 32nd MENAFATF General Meeting ended with unanimous approval to raise the evaluation of the UAE following discussion of its improved follow-up report, which is the Emirate’s first since the issuance of its Mutual Evaluation Report by the FATF in April 2020.

Mr. Hamid Al Zaabi, Director-General of the UAE’s Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Terrorist Financing, reaffirmed the Emirate’s support for FATF and MENAFATF efforts, as well as its ongoing commitment to developing the national system to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and upgrading it to implement the best and latest international standards in this regard.

Mr. Al Zaabi emphasized the UAE’s firm commitment to building national capabilities to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as addressing the challenges and observations contained in the country’s Mutual Evaluation Report, through the implementation of the National Strategy on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism and with the absolute support of the country’s supreme leader, which places this file at the forefront of strategic national priorities.

Ms. Amna Fikri, Director of the Economic and Trade Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation remarked that “this is another important step forward in the framework of our joint work to develop the UAE’s system to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and enhance its effectiveness. Over the past years, the Emirate has been developing its legislative and legal system to keep pace with international best practices and achieve excellence at the regional and global levels in providing a legislative environment that deters money laundering and terrorist financing.”

She concluded that “recent years have witnessed significant growth in the size and complexity of financial crimes, and in turn, the UAE’s awareness of the importance of combating these crimes has increased in cooperation with its international partners. The Emirate has worked since the issuance of the country’s Mutual Evaluation Report in 2020 on implementing all the recommendations contained in the report by building an integrated coordination system to achieve its desired goals through the establishment of the Executive Office to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, which is affiliated with the Higher Committee, as its main role is to coordinate the efforts of all concerned authorities within the country in this regard.”

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