ABU DHABI, 12th June, 2021 — The Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) has decided to raise the technical compliance assessment of the UAE in three important recommendations for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. The decision was endorsed by consensus during the 32nd MENAFATF General Meeting on 6th June, 2021. The UAE’s rating has been raised from “partially compliant” to “compliant” within Recommendations 6 and 7, which are focused on targeted financial sanctions to combat terrorism, terrorist financing, and proliferation. The country’s compliance rating has also been raised from “partially compliant” to “largely compliant” for Recommendation 25 on transparency and beneficial ownership of legal arrangements and entities. With this achievement, the UAE becomes “committed” and “largely committed” in 37 of the 40 recommendations made by the Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The satisfactory rating of the vast majority of recommendations places the UAE among advanced countries in the field of technical compliance with combating money laundering and terrorist financing worldwide. The re-rating achievement is the outcome of the direct supervision of the Higher Committee Overseeing the National Strategy on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism, chaired by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The 32nd MENAFATF General Meeting ended with unanimous approval to raise the evaluation of the UAE following discussion of its enhanced follow-up report, which is the UAE’s first since the issuance of its Mutual Evaluation Report by the Financial Action Task Force in April 2020.
Commenting on this success, Hamid Al Zaabi, Director-General of the Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism, affirmed the UAE’s support of efforts by FATF and MENAFATF and its continuous commitment to developing the national system to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and upgrading it in order to implement the best and latest international standards in this regard. Al Zaabi underscored the UAE’s firm commitment to developing national capabilities to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and addressing the challenges and observations contained in the country’s Mutual Evaluation Report through the implementation of the National Strategy on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism and with the absolute support of the country’s supreme leadership, which places this file at the forefront of strategic national priorities. For her part, Amna Fikri, Director of the Economic and Trade Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said, “This is another important step forward in the framework of our joint work to develop the UAE’s system to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and enhance its effectiveness. Over the past years, the UAE has been developing its legislative and legal system to keep pace with international best practices and achieve excellence at the regional and global levels in providing a legislative environment that deters money laundering and terrorist financing.” She added, “Recent years have witnessed significant growth in the size and complexity of financial crimes, and in turn, the UAE’s awareness of the importance of combating these crimes has increased in cooperation with its international partners. The UAE has worked since the issuance of the country’s Mutual Evaluation Report in 2020 on implementing all the recommendations contained in the report by building an integrated coordination system to achieve its desired goals through the establishment of the Executive Office to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, which is affiliated with the Higher Committee, as its main role is to coordinate the efforts of all concerned authorities within the country in this regard.”