UAE’s Ministry of Economy has extended the deadline for companies in the “specific non-financial business and professions” sector to register under government regulations approved to combat money laundering and terrorism financing until the end of April.
The decision was made in response to a large number of companies in the sector attempting to register in the final days of the previous deadline, which expired on March 31, taking into account the conditions of companies and the business sector in general during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the statement from the ministry, “The targeted companies, which include brokers and real estate agents, auditors, dealers of precious metals and gemstones, and corporate service providers, are required to undergo registration, which is mandatory and for free, before the end of the new deadline, in the goAML system and the automatic reporting system for sanctions lists and take the necessary measures to achieve compliance with the requirements of Federal Law No.20 of 2018.”
The ministry has instructed concerned businesses to take advantage of the new registration period to escape the penalties and fines imposed by the legislation, which will take effect on May 1. Companies who fail to register will face penalties ranging from $13,612 (Dh50,000) to $1.3 million (Dh5 million) in fines, as well as the suspension of their licenses or closure of their company.
“Due to the increased level of response in the business sector and non-financial professions identified for mandatory registration, the Ministry of Economy decided, in coordination with its partners from the relevant government agencies, to extend the grace period granted to the target companies and give them more time until the end of the current month to complete the registration process and begin taking the necessary legal measures to comply with the requirements of the law and its implementing regulations. The goal is not to impose violations, but to ensure compliance, and the decision comes to take into account the conditions that various companies and business sectors are going through as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and its repercussions on a global scale, stressing that the Ministry of Economy is keen to build a solid and positive relationship with the private sector based on the principle of partnership.”
According to Mr. Al Shamsi, the designated non-financial business and professions market is a major partner in the UAE’s efforts to combat money laundering and plays a critical role in supporting government efforts to create a secure and stable economic climate free of money laundering and terrorist financing.
He further noted that while many of the companies in the four categories concerned in the sector demonstrated a high degree of recognition and engagement by registering, there is still a percentage of companies that have not registered in the two systems.
“Extending the grace period to gives an additional opportunity to these companies to rush to register, avoid violations and protect their business and investments from money laundering risks by complying with government control requirements,” Mr. Al Shamsi added.
Safia Al Safi, Director of the Anti-Money Laundering Department at the Ministry of Economy, has commented that extending the grace period without imposing any violations before April 30 enables companies to fulfill their obligations and begin registration.