Ministry of Economy inspects DNFBP establishments’ compliance with AML regulations

Ministry of Economy inspects DNFBP establishments’ compliance with AML regulations

ABU DHABI, 10th June, 2021 (WAM) -- The Ministry of Economy (MoE) announced the detection of 100 violations by Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) and the issuance of related fines amounting to a total value of AED5 million.

An administrative fine of AED50,000 was issued for each violation, or the targeted establishments’ failure to register in the approved government systems to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism and illegal organisations.

The initiative forms part of a wider inspection campaign implemented by the Ministry, represented by its Anti-Money Laundering Department, targeting the DNFBP sector after the expiry of the final grace period on May 2021, to ensure their full compliance with registration and the adoption of due diligence procedures that enable them to report suspicious financial transactions.

The Ministry confirmed that it had exerted all the necessary efforts to prevent establishments from being subjected to violations and penalties. As part of these measures, several circulars and notifications were issued since the beginning of 2021, urging DNFBPs to register in money laundering systems. Prior to the end of the deadline, the Ministry had intensified awareness efforts and enhanced understanding on the various available means for DNFBPs to fulfill the registration requirements. It organized and participated in more than 80 workshops targeted at various relevant sectors, in addition to circulating media briefings and press interviews via various print, broadcast and social media platforms. Awareness raising efforts were also made by all 38 local licensing authorities in the country, including non-financial free zones.

MoE called on DNFBP establishments to expedite amendment to their existing conditions with regard to compliance requirements in order to avoid penalties stipulated in Federal Law No. 20 of 2018 on countering money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism and the financing of illegal organisations, its executive regulations and related decisions. The fines start from AED50,000 and go up to AED5 million and could even lead to the suspension of the license or the closure of the facility itself.

Safeya Al Safi, Director of the Anti-Money Laundering Department at the Ministry of Economy, underlined the importance of DNFBP establishments’ cooperation with government efforts to counter money laundering in order to protect businesses and investments in the UAE and contribute to their growth and prosperity. She explained that their registration in the anti-money laundering systems and adoption of due diligence procedures help maintain the positive and prestigious reputation enjoyed by the country’s economy. It ensures the strengthening of the UAE’s role as an active player in the global economic landscape and consolidates its position as a competitive economic hub that follows the highest standards of integrity and transparency in the field of financial and commercial control and confronts harmful practices in business activities.

Furthermore, Al Safi indicated that the inspection campaigns continue to ensure that DNFBP establishments comply with the provisions of the Federal Law and its executive regulations. Besides, she pointed out that the objective of the inspection campaigns is to ensure compliance with the approved regulations on combating money laundering, which is necessary to ensure the integrity and transparency of commercial transactions within the DNFBP sector and to address unscrupulous, illegal and suspicious financial activities.

Al Safi called on the sector's establishments to take the necessary measures and actively use the goAML (Anti-Money-Laundering System) and the automated reporting system for sanctions lists. They should also submit reports of suspicious transactions and activities, in order to enhance the ability of the regulatory authorities to analyze and assess risks and take the necessary measures based on them.

The Ministry of Economy called on all targeted establishments to contact it through the Ministry's call center at 8001222 or via other official channels in case there are any inquiries related to registering in the two systems and fulfilling the required measures.

The Ministry of Economy provides, through its official website, all information and instructions for registration, through the following links: Link to the registration steps in the Automatic Reporting System for Sanctions Lists: Link to the measures required of companies according to the executive regulations: Link to the guides provided by the Ministry on the requirements for combating money laundering: The Ministry of Economy is uploading all the workshops on anti-money laundering and combating terrorism financing onto its official YouTube channel to enable all DNFBP companies, stakeholders and interested parties to view their content, on the link: The UAE, under the directives of its wise leadership, is keen to continuously develop its economic legislation to enhance its competitiveness as a safe and stable international destination for businesses and investments.

The development of the Financial Information Unit (goAML) and the Automatic Reporting System for Sanctions Lists systems represents an important step in the country’s efforts to combat money laundering and contributes to raising the national economy’s ability to achieve healthy and sustainable growth, by preventing financial crimes.

The DNFBP sector includes 4 professional categories, which are brokers, real estate agents, independent accountants, traders of precious metals and gemstones, and corporate service providers.