UAE to strengthen law against financial crimes with new court

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The UAE is expected to establish a new court focusing on cases related to money laundering and crimes of tax evasion.

A resolution to that effect was issued by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) on 10 November.

Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) under-secretary Youssef Saeed Al Abri said that the department will arrange training courses for judges and public prosecutors, who specialises in money laundering and tax evasion cases.

Youssef Saeed Al Abri
Youssef Saeed Al Abri

“The establishment of the court will also support the UAE’s efforts to combat such crimes and persecute perpetrators, through undertaking a series of steps and procedures, in coordination with relevant authorities and in light of an updated legislative infrastructure, which will reinforce the country’s competitiveness both regionally and internationally”.

The UAE passed a new law in 2018 to tackle crimes such as money laundering and terrorism funding. A committee, chaired by the Governor of the Central Bank, was later formed to identify and assess the risks and effectiveness of efforts to curb money laundering and terrorist financing among financial institutions.

According to the reports, the National Committee on Combating Money Laundering and the Funding of Terrorism and Criminal Organizations has taken numerous steps to reduce financial crimes, following the guidelines of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

This includes the launch of the ‘FAWRI TICK‘, a smart platform that promotes communication and collaboration between relevant government authorities which facilitates rapid financial risk identification.

Earlier this month, seven law firms that managed to breach anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures were fined $27,000 (Dhs100,000) by the Ministry of Justice in compliance with the provisions of Federal Law No. 20 of 2018.

The government has confirmed that the lawyers and law firms involved in these financial crimes will face fines, including suspension and revocation of professional licenses, as well as administrative fines ranging from $13 thousand (Dh50,000) to $1362 (Dh5,000).

Under the chairmanship of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, a Ministerial Higher Committee was also created for overseeing the National Policy on Anti-Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism.