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Payments made using virtual assets to fund property assets need to see full disclosures, in updated regulations issued by ministries of economy and justice. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Abu Dhabi: New reporting requirements for real estate transactions involving virtual assets conducted in the UAE have been announced.

All estate agents, brokers and law firms are obliged to file reports to the UAE’s Financial Intelligence Unit for purchase and sale transactions of freehold properties if they include any of the following methods of payment:

* Single or multiple cash payments equal to or above Dh55,000;

* Payments that include the use of a virtual asset; and

* Payments where the funds used in the transaction were derived from a virtual asset.

The reporting mechanism requires these entities to obtain and record the identification documents of the parties as well as other relevant documents. The guidelines were announced by the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Justice, in partnership with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

The UAE is one of the first countries to implement such a mechanism for real estate transactions involving virtual assets, marking the latest example of the UAE’s sustainable and evolving approach to the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, said that the adoption of the highest standards of transparency and governance, in addition to the necessary regulations to ensure economic and financial stability while combating malpractice within the business community, are all priorities of the ministry and its partners.

Al Marri noted that the real estate sector is one of the key sectors for investment and a vital pillar of the country’s economic development. The new rules leave little or no room for manipulation or illegal practices that could negatively impact the work environment and the economy and investment within these sectors, the minister said.

Abdullah Sultan Bin Awwad Al Nuaimi, Minister of Justice, said: “The introduction of reporting rules for certain transactions in the real estate sector is another example of how the UAE is coordinating across the government and with the private sector to strengthen the national framework for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.”