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Anti-Money Laundering Law in the UAE

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In recent years, UAE has moved forward in enhancing and taking stringent measures to counter Money Laundering problem. To begin with, the National Committee for Anti-Money Laundering held in Hong Kong, China form 28th January to 1st February 2002 discussed the UAE reports and concluded that the UAE set-up a comprehensive Anti-Money Laundering System, which comprises of a law, regulations and procedures to combat money laundering in the UAE.

The Federal Decree Law No. (20) Of 2018 (AML Law) is a response to the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) issued in February 2012. Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989, and aims to develop policies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. FATF’s policies are the set standards for implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures to combat money laundering, financing of terrorism and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. FATF developed a series of 40 Recommendations which are recognized as the international standard to combat money laundering, terrorism, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The given recommendations form the basis for a co-ordinated response against threats to the integrity of the financial system. FATF’s primary policies are the Forty Recommendations on money laundering and there are 9 Special Recommendations on Terrorism Financing.

The Law incorporates the FATF Recommendations 2012 into the UAE legal system and has replaced seventeen of the twenty-three substantive articles of the former AML Law and added three new provisions.

So far the law has broadened the aspect especially dealing with the wrong doers and law breakers. Noteworthy to mention that the old AML law confined the crime of Money Laundering to dealings with the proceeds of certain crimes specified in that law, however, the latest Laws expanded the scope of Money Laundering to include dealing in the proceeds of any felony or misdemeanour with no restrictions, and labels money laundering offences as standalone offences.

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