The fight against terrorism has many fronts and requires authorities and governments to be always on the alert against those who spread extremism or are ready to profit from the proceeds of crime. Maintaining vigilance and keeping one step ahead of terrorist and criminal elements requires a host of measures. Thanks to a new decree enacted in the UAE, now, there are stringent measures in place to fight money-laundering and the funding of terrorism.

According to the Ministry of Finance and a decree issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, it will now become very difficult for those who are engaged in the funding of terrorism or money-laundering through transfers and shifting valuables. The new decree severely undermines the ability of such people to hide the source or nature of finances for terrorist or criminal enterprises.

For any criminal or terrorist organisation, having access to funds either in cash form, in bank accounts, or in valuable assets that are readily exchangeable and encashable, are the mainstay of their illegal enterprises. Funding allows these criminals and terrorists to expand their operations, stay one step ahead of the law and security officials, and carry out their nefarious plots and schemes to the detriment of society as a whole.

It’s worth remembering that American hoodlum Al Capone was brought to justice through his financial missteps rather than his rule of Chicago through the machine-gun, and since then, law enforcement authorities around the globe have adopted the maxim of following the money. Nowadays, of course, the ease of transfers through internet banking and the close links between banking and financial institutions make moving sums of money considerably easier — and that’s an ease that those engaged in criminal and terrorist activities are quick to exploit.

These crooks, con men and extremists, seek any opportunity or weakness to allow them to go about their evil business or plot their misdeeds, and this is an area that Federal Decree No 20 of 2018 addresses. The establishment of these regulations helps ensure that the transparency of the banking system is maintained and also adheres to international best practices and corporate governance standards, and establishes clear barriers that prevent the misuse of the transfer and money-movement system by criminal and terrorist elements.

Throughout its history, and by the decisions and actions of the UAE Government at every level, the leadership of this country has taken every step at home, and by working with international partners abroad, to fight crime, terrorism and corruption. These new regulations are another step in that long fight and show that the UAE is fully committed to fighting those who undermine the peace, well-being and security of this nation — and beyond.