UAE Sets Up Judicial Body to Combat Money Laundering and Economic Crime

July 27, 2023

UAE’s Federal Judicial Council has approved the proposal to establish judicial panels to combat economic crime and money laundering. UAE aims to improve its financial stability and economic growth, through the introduction of specialized judicial entities.

The country which is on FATF’s increased monitoring list has been actively taking legal measures to improve financial transparency.

Curbing Money Laundering and Economic Crime through Special Judicial Panels

According to state news agency WAM, proposed judicial entities will investigate and crack down on money laundering and economic crime encompassing bankruptcy, intellectual property rights & trademarks, competition regulation, bankruptcy, customer evasion crimes, and corporate crimes.

The initiative is part of the Ministry of Justice and Federal Judicial Council’s transformative project to collaborate on professional and legal performance in the United Arab Emirates.

What Does the Project Mean for UAE Economy?

The establishment of specialized judicial bodies will not only be crucial for fighting money laundering and economic crime but possess broader significance for the economic growth of the UAE. As per WAM, the project is in line with the Forward Economy pillar of We the 2031 UAE vision.

These legal measures taken to speed up a crackdown on money laundering and illicit finance will not only bolster economic growth but also increase economic growth but also support an environment supportive of investment.

UAE’s AML Measures

International watchdog FATF (Financial Action Task Force)’s ICRG (International Corporation Review Group) put UAE on the grey list of countries in March 2022. Since then country intensified its measure to curb money laundering and economic crimes through a number of general and sector-specific legislative measures.  Some of the measures include heavy fines like Dh 69. 5 million fines on 137 companies from DNFBP sector only in the first quarter of 2023.

In May 2023, the country also issued new guidelines on dealing with the risk of the virtual asset sector and virtual assets service providers for licensed financial institutions.

So far, all these efforts seem to have resulted in positive outcomes for UAE. The country in the latest MENAFATF (Middle-East North America Financial Action Task Force) review, has been shown compliant with 39 out of 40 FATF recommendations. Jurisdiction has its eye set on exit from FATF grey list.

It is not a money laundering and economic crime challenge that UAE is facing; the jurisdiction may need to spend its resources on mitigating online frauds or cyber crimes like recent Dubai Police scam, which poses a greater risk to unsuspecting citizens prone to fall prey to such schemes.