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The UAE Exits FATF’s Grey List

The authors wish to thank Molly McKenna for her contributions to this post. On February 23, 2024, the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) removed the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) from its list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring (the “Grey List”).  As noted in our previous article (see here), FATF had intimated at its October 2023 … Continue Reading

Recent Changes to FATF’s “Grey List”; Could the UAE be Next Off the List?

Between October 25 and October 27, 2023, the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”), an international policy-making and standard-setting body dedicated to combating money laundering and terrorist financing, held its third plenary meeting of the year (the “October Plenary”), at which it made important updates to its list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring, often externally referred … Continue Reading

U.S. Sanctions Review: A Recap of OFAC’s Recent Enforcement Actions (Second Half 2023)

The second half of 2023 saw eight enforcement actions from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).  These actions reflect a range of penalties, industries, sanctions programs, conduct, and lessons learned.  Below are some highlights from OFAC’s enforcement releases and settlement agreements. Penalties OFAC imposed a total of $984,851,289.90 in penalties … Continue Reading

VARA’s Strict Application of its Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations 2023

The United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) has long been at the forefront of embracing technological and financial innovation.  For example, Dubai has emerged as a global hub for virtual assets (“VAs”) and cryptocurrencies.  Earlier this year, the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (“VARA”) adopted its first Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations 2023 (the “Regulations”), along … Continue Reading

FCA Investigates Bank Account Closures, Including for PEP Customers

Following concerns raised by the government of the United Kingdom (“UK”) about freedom of expression and the provision of banking services, the UK’s financial watch dog, the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), recently commenced an investigation into bank account closures.  This action follows in the wake of recent reports of banks allegedly closing customer accounts based … Continue Reading

New UAE Rule Regarding the Mandatory Attestation of Import Invoices Could Help Combat TBML

The United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) has recently implemented a new compliance requirement related to the international importation of goods.  Specifically, pursuant to UAE Cabinet Resolution No. 38 of 2022 on the Attestation of Documents, Commercial Invoices and Certificates of Origin at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (“MoFAIC”), all imports into the UAE … Continue Reading

Increasing US Enforcement Action for Sanctions Violations by Crypto Exchanges Likely to Have Ripple Effect in UK and Europe

The investigation and enforcement of potential sanctions violations by crypto exchanges is an area of focus in the US at present.  The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) recent settlement with Kraken, a global virtual currency exchange, is the most recent OFAC case demonstrating the risks for virtual currency platforms … Continue Reading

OFAC Announces Settlement with Virtual Currency Exchange Kraken

On November 28, 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced a settlement agreement with Payward, Inc., known as Kraken (“Kraken”), a United States-based virtual currency exchange. Kraken agreed to pay $362,158.70 to resolve its potential civil liability for 826 apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“Apparent Violations”). The settlement amount … Continue Reading

UAE Ministry of Justice Confirms Reciprocity with the English Courts

On September 13, 2022, Judge Abdul Rahman Murad Al-Blooshi, Director of the International Cooperation Department of the UAE Ministry of Justice, issued a communiqué to His Excellency Tarish Eid Al-Mansoori, Director General of the Dubai Courts, directing the Dubai Courts to enforce judgements issued by the English Courts (the “Directive”).  This follows the English Courts’ … Continue Reading

Key Principles of Governance for Financial Institutions in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Central Bank (previously known as the Saudi Monetary Authority, or SAMA) has published the third edition of the Key Principles for Governance in Financial Institutions (the “Guide”), which are intended to enhance management styles, set direct and indirect strategic objectives, maintain stability, and promote the rights of stakeholders.… Continue Reading

Central Bank Guidance to UAE Financial Institutions Banking Cash-Intensive Businesses

The Central Bank of the UAE (“CBUAE”) has issued new guidance (the “Guidance”) to UAE financial institutions providing services to cash-intensive businesses. The specific characteristics of cash—anonymity, interchangeability, and transportability—make it an attractive medium for illicit actors seeking to obfuscate the proceeds of crime or the funding of terrorism.  Unlike other monetary instruments, such as … Continue Reading
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