The UAE Ministry of Economy and Commerce intends to bring auditing companies operating in the country into an alliance with the Central Bank and other competent national organisations involved in a crackdown on money laundering and other financial crimes.

The ministry has informed the Central Bank of such measures which call on all auditing firms to support the war against money laundering by reporting any suspected financial operation, ministry sources said.

They said the ministry would start implementing such measures after it gets approval from the Central Bank, which has prepared the federal anti-money laundering law along with other departments and is spearheading the fight against such illegal activities.

"Once the Central Bank approves the letter we sent, we will prepare special forms for the auditing companies so they can report all suspected financial operations," a source said.

The ministry's move followed measures to prevent money laundering in the insurance industry, and officials said more steps would be taken in future.

Scores of local and foreign auditing firms operate in the UAE and oversee financial results by the country's 47 banks and major companies.

The UAE has intensified a campaign against money laundering since it issued a law last year making involvement in such activities a serious crime. Several bank accounts have been closed while others have been blacklisted.

Experts said the ministry's move would give a strong push to that campaign given the importance of the role played by auditing firms in financial operations.

"There is no doubt it is a strong step by the ministry as it blocks more loopholes for any possible laundering operations," a UAE banker said.

Central Bank officials said last month they would soon extend such a campaign to cover visitors with the introduction of a declaration system, affecting all carrying at least Dh40,000 ($10,900) and jewellery with an equivalent value.

Under the anti-money laundering law ratified by President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in January, a special unit has been created at the Central Bank to coordinate action against laundering along with the Ministry of Interior and other parties.