money laundering
The UAE is setting up new courts to hear money laundering cases. Image Credit: Agency

Abu Dhabi: UAE Minister of Justice Sultan bin Saeed Al Badi Al Dhaheri has issued ministerial decisions to establish specialised courts to look into money laundering crimes in the federal judiciary in the courts of Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah.

The move included the establishment of individual, college and appeals departments in each judicial office to look into these crimes, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) said on Sunday.

This decision comes in the framework of the Ministry’s direction in supporting the specialised judiciary, which is positively reflected on the quality and consistency of judicial decisions in this field, Wam said.

In addition, the establishment of specialised courts to examine money laundering crimes enhances the state’s efforts and effectiveness in facing money laundering crimes, Wam added.

Earlier this month, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) issued a resolution to set up a court to hear monry laundering crimes I Abu Dhabi.

Youssef Saeed Al Abri, under-secretary of the ADJD said that the department would organise training courses for judges and prosecutors specialising in money laundering and tax evasion.

“The establishment of the court will also support the UAE’s efforts to combat such crimes and persecute perpetrators, through undertaking a series of steps and procedures, in coordination with relevant authorities and in light of an updated legislative infrastructure, which will reinforce the country’s competitiveness both regionally and internationally,” added Al Abri.

In 2018, the UAE passed a new law to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. Accordingly, a committee under the chairmanship of the central bank governor was set up to identify and assess risks and the effectiveness of efforts to stem money laundering and terror financing among financial institutions.

In line with the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) directives, the National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations, chaired by the governor of Central Bank of the UAE, has adopted several initiatives to mitigate financial crimes, reported news agency WAM.

This includes the launch of a smart platform “FAWRI TICK” smart platform in September that supports communication and coordination between relevant government authorities and facilitates rapid detection of financial risks.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Justice imposed a Dhs100,000 fine on seven law firms which continued to violate anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures in accordance with the provisions of Federal Law No. 20 of 2018.

The government has reiterated that lawyers and law firms engaging in these financial crimes can face penalties including the suspension and cancellation of professional licences, as well as the imposition of administrative fines ranging from Dhs50,000 to Dhs5m.

Also, a Ministerial Higher Committee overseeing the National Strategy on Anti-Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism has been established under the chairmanship of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.