UAE firms that failed to register in AML system to be penalized from May 1

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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The UAE Ministry of Economy (MoE) has ended the extended grace period that it granted to Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) to register in anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism and illegal organizations.

Businesses that have not registered with the UAE’s AML system will be penalized starting from May 1, the ministry added. Earlier this month, the MoE had urged businesses including brokers, property agents, auditors, dealers of precious metals and gemstones, and corporate service providers to register with the relevant AML bodies before April 30 to avoid being fined.

The Ministry had previously extended the deadline for registration in the systems after the initial grace period ended on March 31, considering the circumstances faced by many businesses as a result of the pandemic and to allow all targeted companies to study the registration requirements and take the necessary measures.

Fines for not adhering to AML regulations could range from $13,613 to $1.3 million, the officials said. Other penalties for the violation include revocation of the license or closure of the facility itself. 

The UAE, which has strict laws to deal with money laundering and the financing of terrorism, has issued several regulations in the past years to fight financial crimes. A new head of inspection campaigns has also been appointed to lead a series of field visits and office inspections of relevant businesses and to follow up on any compliance issues.

Earlier this year, the country launched a new agency to combat money launderers, entities and people suspected of financing terrorists and organized crime. The Central Bank of the UAE also instructed all hawala providers, informal fund transfer agents operating outside the banking system, to register with the central bank to strengthen the oversight of money transfers.

Related: UAE initiates training programs for professionals to tackle illicit finance