Stock - Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE)
UAE Central Bank has again called on the country's financial sector to be in full compliance with anti-money laundering compliance rules. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: The UAE Central Bank has fined a local exchange house Dh352,000 for compliance failures related to the country’s anti-money laundering laws. This is part of a stricter compliance requirement the UAE regulator has been imposing on the financial services sector, with even banks getting penalised for laxity.

The “CBUAE will continue to work closely with all financial institutions in the UAE to achieve and maintain high levels of AML/CFT (combating the financing of terrorism) compliance and will continue to impose further administrative and/or financial sanctions, according to the law, in cases of non-compliance,” the regulator said in a statement.

Through this year, the Central Bank has cracked the whip on exchange houses, imposing stiff penalties wherever it found continued lapses on being AML compliant. Even a bank was not spared from the get-touch approach.

In frequent interactions with senior banking industry executives, the regulator has repeatedly made it clear that no leeway can be expected or given on the AML question.

Earlier this month, the Central Bank had imposed a Dh19.5 million sanction on a bank in the UAE under the anti-money laundering law.

This related to the bank’s failure to achieve “appropriate levels of compliance” in its AML and sanctions compliance frameworks for an extended period of time. All banks operating in the UAE are required to attain the appropriate levels of AML/CFT compliance standards, “having been allowed ample time by the CBUAE to remedy any shortcomings”.

The bank concerned has the right to appeal against the imposition of the sanction.

Ahead of the decision, the Central Bank took a two-step approach to the enforcement. On August 4, the regulator imposed monitoring on the bank to require the appointment of a consultant to take necessary urgent action to effect remediation of its AML and Sanctions Compliance Framework.