Exiting greylist will take time – UAE Minister

According to Economy Minister Abdullah bin Touq Al-Marri, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) needs more time to prove that the policies it introduced to combat financial crime are effective before it can be removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) ‘grey’ list. The UAE was included in the FATF’s ‘grey’ list of jurisdictions subject to increased monitoring over a year ago, and has since worked closely with FATF to improve the situation. Al-Marri said that the UAE had already addressed many of the FATF’s initial 58 concerns and has around 15 left.

The UAE, a significant oil and gas exporter, has recently been working to tighten regulations to combat its reputation as a hub for illicit money. FATF has acknowledged the UAE’s significant progress in collaborating with other countries on investigations. However, the 2020 FATF evaluation report highlighted the need for “fundamental and major improvements” in managing risk in industries such as real estate and precious stones and metals, facilitating international anti-money laundering investigations, and identifying suspicious transactions.

Although Marri said that the UAE had made progress in addressing the FATF’s concerns, it was too early to say when the UAE would be removed from the list. As part of the process, FATF will need to visit the UAE. When that happens, Marri said he was confident that the UAE would be removed from the list.

In 2021, the UAE founded an Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing after passing an anti-money laundering and terrorism financing law in 2018. According to Marri, there is high-level leadership follow-up on the matter, and various steps have been taken, including improved private sector training.

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