A currency dealer counting UAE dirham. — AFP/File

The United Arab Emirates revealed its plans to set up judicial bodies for prosecuting money laundering and financial crimes in the wake of heightened monitoring by a global anti-illegal cash flow organisation.

According to the official Emirates News Agency (WAM), the UAE has greenlit a “proposal to establish federal prosecution entities specialised in economic crimes and money laundering”.

This move is seen as the initial stride towards probing and curbing dubious financial transactions, with a focus on forming specialised prosecution offices to handle cases related to illicit finance.

It comes more than a year after the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) added the UAE to a “grey list” of nations subject to greater oversight because of concerns over illicit finance.

The FATF listing in March 2022 came as a blow to the UAE’s reputation as a major financial and business hub.

The watchdog has since upheld its decision, but a June report noted improved efforts in the UAE to tackle shortcomings.

The step announced on Sunday aims to enhance “the confidence of international investors in the UAE’s business environment” and encourage “them to bring their businesses to the UAE”, WAM said.

“The project’s significance lies in its role in protecting the national economy and reducing the impact of economic and financial crimes,” it added.

The resources-rich UAE has become a nexus connecting the Middle East, Europe, Central Asia and Asia. Dubai has the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passenger traffic, and also one of the busiest sea ports.

While the desert country has successfully diversified its economy rather than relying on oil, experts and international organisations have long criticised a failure to crack down on suspicious financial transactions.

Senior US officials visited earlier this year for talks with UAE authorities, including the central bank, on the evasion of sanctions imposed on Russia and Iran, as well as money laundering.


— Additional input from AFP



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