Ministry of Justice in Abu Dhabi Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Justice has organised its first conference on the role of central authorities in combating money laundering and terrorism financing. Held at the Ministry of Justice in Abu Dhabi over a period of three days, the Ministry invited representatives of central authorities from 31 countries specialised in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

To further promote this effort, the Ministry has also called upon other authorities in the UAE, including federal and local government entities in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah; the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abu Dhabi Executive Office, the military judiciary and members of the judiciary in the Ministry.

Abdullah Sultan Al Nuaimi, Minister of Justice, said in a speech, delivered on his behalf by Eng. Abdul Rahman Muhammad Al Hammadi, Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice: “Today, money laundering and terrorist financing crimes are among the biggest challenges facing the international community, which is in need of the cooperation and solidarity of all countries of the world, without exception, to effectively address this serious crime, and to draw strategies and develop common policies and procedures necessary to combat it, both at the national and international levels.”

He emphasised that central authorities are at the forefront of these efforts by facilitating international cooperation, direct communication, exchange of information and expertise, and coordination in investigations and trials, while using latest technologies and applying best practices in legislation.

Al Nuaimi then highlighted the efforts of the UAE in the field of combating money laundering and terrorist financing crimes.

“The UAE is one of the pioneering countries in this field, and many strict legislations and laws have been issued in this context. In coordination with its partners from state institutions internally and externally, it took many necessary measures and coordinated its efforts in this context with all relevant authorities in the country, whether through the Department of International Cooperation, or the Anti-Money Laundering Department in the Ministry,” he said.

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Digital links

Among the important examples presented by the Ministry of Justice regarding the efforts of the UAE in combating money laundering crimes is the establishment of joint databases.

Judge Abdul Rahman Murad Al Balushi, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice for Legal Affairs, presented a working paper during the conference, in which he presented an overview of the central authority in the UAE, its establishment, the role of the judicial authorities, and Federal Law No. 39 of 2006 regarding international judicial cooperation in criminal matters and its amendments to facilitate the procedures for the implementation of requests for extradition of criminals, and other judicial assistance in criminal matters.

He presented an film about the electronic system ICAS for managing requests for international judicial cooperation, which digitally connects all the competent authorities in the country such as the Ministry of Interior, the Public Prosecution Offices, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Judicial Department, the Financial Information Unit and the Federal Customs Authority, with international partners

He also gave an overview of the agreements plan for the 2023-2024 period.

Scope of cooperation

Judge Al Balushi said that the Ministry of Justice places the issue of strengthening international cooperation at the forefront of its priorities, and it has contributed, in coordination with its strategic partners within the countries, in forging many international agreements in the areas of combating money laundering, financing terrorism, human trafficking, drug smuggling and organised crime. This includes cooperation in various judicial and legal fields, including agreements to provide mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, extradition, exchange of use of information and evidence and their confidentiality, testimonies, notification of documents, inspection and seizure, and coordination and assistance in forfeiture and compliance with other agreements.

Judge Al Balushi said the Ministry of Justice in the UAE has established a specialised department to combat money laundering to coordinate efforts with other state institutions and eliminate acts related to this crime. In this context, 37 bilateral agreements for mutual legal assistance were signed, as well as 15 collective agreements and 10 regional agreements. All of these joint and continuous efforts have resulted in making the UAE a successful model and guarantor of compliance in various sectors with the rules of combating money laundering and terrorist financing.