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Ras al-Khaimah: Law of Offshore

Money-Laundering Law

The National Anti-Money Laundering Committee was formed in July 2000, with representatives from Central Bank of UAE, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Finance and Industry, Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Awqaf, Ministry of Economy and Commerce, the UAE Customs Council, the Secretariat General of Municipalities, the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

In December 2001 the United Arab Emirates' Federal National Council (FNC) approved the long-awaited anti-money laundering draft law which covers banking and financial activities in Dubai. After a long debate, FNC members approved the draft with minor amendments and those were mainly concerned with terms and the language used in the draft.

The promulgation of the Federal Law by the UAE authorities regarding the criminalisation of money laundering took place on 22 January 2002. Any person who intentionally commits one of the acts in respect of property derived from any of the crimes listed in Article 2/2 of the Act is an offender under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Further, the conversion, depositing or transference of proceeds, for the purpose of concealing or disguising the illicit origin of such proceeds will be considered as a crime under the Act.

Punishments may be imprisonment for up to seven years and/or a fine ranging from Dh2,000 to Dh1 million; in addition, property may be frozen, depending on the nature of the crime.

The Federal Law on Criminalisation of Laundering of Property Derived from Unlawful Activity defines money laundering as any act involving transfer, conversion or deposit of property, or concealment or disguise of their true nature, knowing that such property is derived from any of the offences stated in Article 2:

  • Trafficking in narcotics and psychotropic substances;
  • Kidnapping, piracy and terrorism;
  • Offences committed in violation of the environment law;
  • Illicit dealing in firearms and ammunition;
  • Bribery, embezzlement, and damage to public property;
  • Fraud, breach of trust and related offences;
  • Any other related offences stated in the international conventions to which the State is party.

The term freezing or seizure under the law means temporarily prohibiting the transfer, conversion or disposition of, or movement of property, on the basis of an order issued by the competent authority.

The law also stipulates permanent deprivation of property by order of a competent court of those found involved in money laundering offences.

Under the law, a Financial Information Unit has been established at the Central Bank to deal with money laundering and suspicious cases. Reports of suspicious transactions will be sent to the Unit from all financial institutions and other financial, commercial and economic establishments.

The law further stipulates that financial, commercial and economic establishments operating in the country will be criminally liable for the offence of money laundering if it is committed in their names or for their financial account.

In February 2009, the DFSA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Anti- Money Laundering Suspicious Cases Unit (AMLSCU) of the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, regarding co-operation and exchange of regulatory information. The MoU was signed by Paul Koster, Chief Executive of the DFSA, and Abdulrahim Mohamed Al Awadi, Assistant Executive Director of the CBUAE and Head of the AMLSCU.

Commenting at the time of signing, Koster said: “The signing of today’s MoU has formalised arrangements for co-operation and information sharing that already exists between us. It recognises that both regulators place reliance on the quality of regulatory standards administered in the other’s jurisdiction. Continuing close co-operation and future joint initiatives will reinforce our mutual commitment to ensuring financial stability and promote sound economic growth in the region."



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