Up to Dh5m fine, life imprisonment for violating money-laundering, terror financing laws

The UAE Central Bank and other authorities have penalised many entities for not adhering to AMLCFT regulations
The UAE has tightened the law around AMLCFT as part of the membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global financial crime watchdog.

Alexander Kukuev, manager partner and advocate at UPPERCASE LEGAL Advisory, told Khaleej Times violators could face up to Dh5 million penalty and lifetime imprisonment while the minimum imprisonment period is 10 years.

Alexander expects more attention will be paid by the government and authorities to complying with the AML from next year in order to comply with FATF rules. The UAE is expected to come out of the FATF's grey list next year.
“The UAE will focus more on AML and I strongly believe big firms and SMEs will have to think about it as the number one issue when they start their businesses. More and more free zones are also getting involved, so they will check whether the company registered with them complies with the rules when they renew the licences. If first don't comply, they may not be given commercial licence,” he said.
He noted the UAE aligns itself with global efforts in terms of complying with the FATF regulations, AML and combating financing terrorism.“As a matter of fact, the UAE is becoming the leader in the Mena region in terms of taking steps against such practices,” said Alexander.

He also noted that many small and medium enterprises are not aware of AMLCFT laws as they underestimate the importance of such laws.
“Big corporations should pay attention to AML proceedings, KYC and AML and these should be top priority of the companies.”