UAE Ministry of Economy imposes AED 2.25 mn in fines on 3 firms

To create a safe fiscal crime-free business environment in the country
UAE Ministry of Economy
Abdullah Sultan Al Fan Al Shamsi (Image credit: UAE's Ministry of Economy)

As part of its efforts to strengthen the compliance of the business sector and non-designated financial professions (DNFBP) in the country with money laundering legislations and the standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the UAE Ministry of Economy imposed 2.25 million dirhams (AED) worth of administrative sanctions on three companies, two of them working in the gold and gemstones sector and one in the real estate sector. 

The Ministry elaborated that these companies committed 32 detailed offenses violating the stipulated provisions of the Federal Decree-law No. 20 of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), its executive regulation, and relevant resolutions. 

Abdullah Sultan Al Fan Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Monitoring & Follow-Up Sector at the Ministry of Economy, emphasized that imposing sanctions on violating companies and properties supports the country’s efforts in strengthening the compliance of the business sector DNFBPs with AML/CFT requirements and legislation. It also abides by the standards of FATF, thereby contributing to the creation of a safe business environment that is free of financial crimes in the country. It also consolidates the UAE’s position as a competitive economic hub that upholds the highest standards of integrity and transparency in the field of financial and trade regulation. 

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The Ministry also highlighted offenders’ right to submit a grievance against the imposition of fines to the Ministry of Economy, within 15 days from the date of issuance of the notice, in accordance with the Cabinet Decision No. 16 of 2021.

The Ministry continues to offer technical support to raise awareness in the private sector, thereby promoting their adoption of procedures and internal operations that would enable their growth and prosperity. It further strengthens their compliance to legislations, resolutions, and bylaws regarding the compliance of the business sector and DNFBPs.

The Ministry conducted inspections of economic activities under its supervision, those enlisted within the business sector, and DNFBPs in the last stage. These include brokers, estate agents, gold and gemstone merchants, auditors, and service providers. The number of companies working in these fields is nearly 15,000, who operate under the Ministry’s supervision. 

The campaigns mainly focus on inspecting internal systems established by the companies and their compliance with the Federal Decree-law No. 20 of 2018 on ALM/CFT, its executive regulation, and relevant resolutions. This includes an assessment of the understanding of money laundering risks in the company under inspection – whether it has met the legal requirements such as appointing a compliance officer and adopting due diligence measures in its dealings with customers. The extent to which the remittance procedures it performs comply with the country’s banking system standards and whether it has dealt with suspicious parties will also be examined.