The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has completed its phased introduction of anti-money laundering regulations some 15 years after it began the drive
The UAE Central Bank, a client of many UK law firms based in the region, including Simmons & Simmons, has been central in the introduction of the regulations. Last week the bank announced, on behalf of the Financial Action Task Force, that the National Committee for Anti-Money Laundering had ruled the country no longer liable for classification on the list of non-cooperative countries and territories. This comes after the swift introduction of new anti-laundering rules in recent months. The UAE was among the first in the world to adopt anti-money laundering measures in its federal law in 1987 in preparation for the 1988 global Vienna Conference. Last October, the Anti-Money Laundering Law, which fully criminalises laundering, was passed by the UAE cabinet and has just been signed by the UAE's president. The most recent rules include search and freeze orders against deposits and investments in the names of terrorist leaders and checks by free trade authorities on new businesses, including those setting up branch offices or joint venture companies. Large cash imports also have to be declared. The Ministry of Economy and Commerce has imposed an array of anti-laundering obligations to insurance companies. This follows the setting down of a code of requirement for scrutinising letters of credit. In 1998, the bank issued a regulation imposing an obligation to report suspicious deposits of cash or third-party cheques.