3.5 million fines for 8 companies that violate the money laundering crime law

Abu Dhabi: “The Gulf”

The Ministry of Economy conducted inspection tours of the activities subject to its control, which fall under the business sector and the designated non-financial occupations; These are: real estate agents, brokers, precious metal and gemstone dealers, auditors and corporate service providers; It is within the framework of its zeal to ensure compliance with the provisions set out in Federal Resolution Act No. regulations and related decisions, and the achievement of full compliance by the state with the international standards issued by the Working Group Financial (FATF). The total number of institutions operating in these activities is approximately 15 000 institutions subject to the supervision of the Ministry.

The rounds led to the violation of 8 companies operating in the business sector and DNFBPs because they did not follow internal policies and controls to combat the commission of crime or engage in a suspicious employment relationship, or to take the necessary take measures to identify the risks of crime in the workplace, in addition to their failure to strengthen the necessary measures, to confront the money laundering and monitoring and reporting of suspicious transactions; Where 69 offenses were committed, with a value of 3 million and 550 thousand dirhams; This is for the violation of 10 items of the Executive Regulations of Bill No. administrative fines imposed on violators of anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing procedures subject to the supervision of the Ministry of Economy, and related decisions.

Increase the level of compliance

Abdullah Sultan Al-Fan Al-Shamsi, Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Monitoring and Follow-up Sector at the Ministry of Economy, stressed that the ministry seeks to impose sanctions on offenders from the business sectors and non-financial professions at the level of compliance to increase. in these sectors with the requirements of legislation, and to establish an effective national system, to confront the offending practices. In order to maintain an environment free from any illegal practices, in order to bring about a constructive interaction of the national economy with the global economy.

He added that the ministry is working diligently to provide technical assistance and awareness, and to improve understanding among the business sectors and non-financial professions, to enable them to implement internal procedures and processes that qualify them for growth and prosperity. away from violating legislation, note that the ministry will apply administrative penalties in all transparency to companies that violate the stage.

Accurate inspection reports

Safia Al-Safi, director of the department against money laundering at the Ministry of Economy, said that the ministry annually adopts the inspection plan in accordance with methodologies to assess and assess the risks of companies in the business sectors and specific non-financial professions. categorize. Reporting is carried out with high professionalism, leading to access to the submission of technical and accurate inspection reports reflecting the level of commitment and compliance with the DNFBPs, measuring their risks, and the extent of the need to take corrective action. Accordingly, these reports are submitted to the Enforcement Committee, which in turn takes the necessary steps to decide on the assessment of those Violations according to a risk-based methodology and standards in accordance with the law.

Compliance with legislation

In turn, Counselor Salem Ahmed Al Tunaiji, Head of the Investigation and Enforcement Division at the Ministry of Economy, referred to the great efforts made in recent times to develop legislation to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism and illegal organizations. , in accordance with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). As these amendments have contributed to raising the level of understanding of the obligations to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism, emphasize that the Ministry of Economy, through its oversight and oversight functions, works to comply with the targeted sectors with the application of anti-money laundering legislation.

The head of the Investigation and Enforcement Division at the Ministry of Economy confirmed that the door is open for companies that have been violated in the designated non-financial business sectors and professions to complain about the violations within the legal period specified for 15 days from the date of notification of the contravention in accordance with Cabinet Decision No. (16) for the year 2021.

Examination of inspection reports by experts

Counselor Salem Ahmed Al Tunaiji, Head of the Investigation and Enforcement Division at the Ministry of Economy, pointed out that inspection reports are studied by specialized technical experts to determine violations in accordance with the criteria for imposing administrative sanctions in terms of severity of the offense. and its impact on compliance with legislation and other standards. This is in line with the money laundering legislation in force in the country, which explains that the most prominent violations by companies have been the failure to develop policies and procedures aimed at combating the commission of crime, and the failure of the compliance officer to perform his duties contained in the anti-money laundering legislation, in addition to the failure to take the necessary measures and procedures To identify crime risks in his line of business, failure to apply precautionary measures to politically exposed clients, to customers due to due diligence measures prior to the establishment of a business relationship (KYC), lack of documented procedures to monitor and report suspicious transactions, and failure to take measures to understand the purpose of the employment relationship and its nature, the failure to take continuous monitoring measures regarding the work relationship with customers, the failure to improve to take precautionary measures to manage high risks, in addition to the failure to comply with Cabinet Decision no. (74) of 2020 regarding the terrorist list system.

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