EU Global Facility launches first Beneficial Ownership activity in UAE

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EU Global Facility launches first Beneficial Ownership activity in UAE

ABU DHABI, 19th September, 2023 (WAM) — The EU Global Facility on Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) launched its inaugural Beneficial Ownership activity in partnership with the Ministry of Economy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and supported by the Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing.

Spanning over three days, this activity centred around the topic of “Beneficial ownership registers as competent authorities” and brought together competent authorities from the UAE, Jordan, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg and Malta, with the aim of fostering cooperation and knowledge exchange among competent authorities of the participating jurisdictions.

In his opening address online, EU Global Facility Team Leader David Hotte said, “This event represents a significant step forward in the UAE’s efforts to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit activities by enhancing transparency and understanding of beneficial ownership information.”

Abdullah Sultan Al Fan Al Shamsi, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Monitoring and Follow-up Sector at the Ministry of Economy, said, “The UAE has paid great attention to the development of an integrated system for anti-money laundering and the combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). As a result, the country has put in place a strong legislative and technological ecosystem based on international best practices, which has enabled the highest standards of AML/CFT compliance. This has indeed strengthened the integrity of the UAE’s financial system, protecting it from financial crimes and boosting the reputation of the national economy at regional and global levels.

He said, “The UAE currently has a sophisticated ultimate beneficiary database, which lists more than 999488 private establishments operating in various sectors. There has been a 96 per cent compliance rate in the submission of their details to the database.” Al Shamsi further noted the importance of fruitful cooperation with the European Union’s Global AML/CFT Facility, which would facilitate the exchange of experience, knowledge and awareness on the mechanisms and procedures for implementing the real beneficiary procedures, thus supporting the strength and sustainability of the national AML/CFT regime.

Launched in April 2021, the collaboration between the UAE and the EU Global Facility has covered a wide range of AML/CFT-related matters, from justice to cryptocurrency and correspondent banking. This event marks the 21st technical assistance activity delivered by the EU project.

A number of key topics were covered during this training, including technical implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations 24 and 25, the role of analysis and cooperation in ensuring access to adequate and accurate beneficial ownership information, as well as enforcement and sanctioning mechanisms.

The event featured contributions from distinguished experts from financial intelligence units and beneficial ownership registers who shared first-hand insights gained from their experiences in implementing beneficial ownership frameworks in their respective jurisdictions.

In addition to panel discussions and presentations, the activity incorporated group exercises, case studies and dedicated sessions on the challenges and possible solutions to address risks related to complex and cross-border structures. These interactive sessions enabled participants to learn from practical scenarios and enhance their understanding of the complexities involved in implementing effective beneficial ownership registration mechanisms.

Source: WAM