United Arab Emirates

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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

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

UAE Court Dismisses Request to Extradite the Gupta Brothers to South Africa

In our previous post, here, we explained how the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) used its authority under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (“GloMag”) to sanction brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta (the “Guptas”), and their business associate Salim Essa, effectively barring them from the U.S. financial … 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

The UAE Continues to Combat Bribery and Corruption

The United Arab Emirates (the “UAE”) continues to lead the Arab world in terms of its anti-bribery and corruption (“ABC”) endeavors. The UAE offers a business-friendly environment with an effective and efficient public administration; it criminalizes active and passive bribery, embezzlement, abuse of functions, and facilitation payments, it enforces its domestic ABC legislation and it … 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

UAE’s New Executive Office of AML/CFT and Dubai’s New Specialized Money Laundering Court

On August 22, 2021, at the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai Courts announced the establishment of a specialized new court that will focus on combating money laundering.  The announcement comes just months after the UAE Cabinet approved … Continue Reading

New Central Bank Guidance for UAE Financial Institutions on Suspicious Activity/Transaction Reporting

On June 7, 2021, the UAE Central Bank issued new guidance requiring all UAE financial institutions to file suspicious activity reports (SARs) or suspicious transaction reports (STRs) with the UAE’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) using the goAML portal within 35 calendar days of detection of any conduct that they reasonably suspect may be linked to … Continue Reading

Responding to Financial Crime Risks during COVID-19

Over the past few months, numerous organizations and agencies—including the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, UK Financial Conduct Authority, Dubai Financial Services Authority, and U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network—have stressed the need to preserve the integrity and security of the global payments system during and after the pandemic.… Continue Reading

United Arab Emirates Courts Convict Fraudsters; Warn Banks and Telecoms Providers

The onshore and offshore courts of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—that is to say, the courts in “mainland” UAE and the courts in the free zones of the UAE, respectively—have issued a number of recent convictions for fraud. In one noteworthy case, the Dubai Court held a local bank responsible for an AED 4.7 million … Continue Reading

United Arab Emirates Financial Centers Enhance Economic Security and Business Viability

In an earlier post, here, we examined Law No. 20 of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organizations, the new Federal AML Law enacted by the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) to ensure best practice anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures. In this post, we consider how the UAE’s two … Continue Reading

United Arab Emirates Issues New AML Law in Context of FATF Evaluation

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization founded 30 years ago to develop and uphold policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, is conducting a peer review (or “mutual evaluation”) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this year. FATF last assessed the UAE in 2008, and found the country’s systems and frameworks … Continue Reading
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