Before being removed from FATF's "grey" list, the United Arab Emirates must show that its laws against financial crime are effective and being enforced, the economy minister said.
Just over a year ago, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) added the UAE to its "grey list," a list of countries that require increased monitoring. In response, the UAE stated that it was determined to work closely with FATF to move forward.
"We have addressed many challenges. But what really needs to be seen now is a lot of effectiveness and I think that comes with time" said the economy minister Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri on the sidelines of the City Week conference in London.
Marri said that the UAE had successfully addressed the majority of the 58 initial FATF issues and had only about 15 outstanding.
"We’ve managed to close a couple of (them) and I think there are more to come in the next couple of months."
The UAE, an oil and gas exporter that promotes its business-friendly reputation and supports opulent expat lifestyles, has tightened rules in recent years to combat its reputation as a hub for illegal financial activity.
In February, FATF stated that the UAE has made substantial strides, particularly in terms of collaborating with other countries on investigations.
The FATF urged for "fundamental and major improvements" in its 2020 evaluation, focusing in particular on facilitating global anti-money laundering investigations, controlling risk in sectors including real estate and precious stones and metals, and spotting suspicious transactions.
It's too early to predict when the UAE will be taken off the list, according to Marri.
The FATF would need to travel to the UAE as part of the procedure. When it happened, Marri declared he was "very sure" the nation will be removed from the list.
"We’re on track… there is a high leadership follow-up on the topic. We meet on a weekly basis," he stated, listing a number of actions taken so far, such as better training for the private sector.
After implementing a legislation against money laundering and terrorism financing in 2018, the UAE established an Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing in 2021.
By fLEXI tEAM