According to a recent study, authorities in the UAE have confiscated assets worth more than Dh4.73BN (€1.32BN) during the past 12 months.
After being included to the FATF's "grey list" earlier this year, the Gulf Nation allegedly increased its efforts to combat money laundering.
Hamid Al Zaabi, Director General of the UAE's Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), revealed in an interview with The National that authorities had seized and confiscated assets totaling Dh2.54 billion and Dh2.19 billion over the course of the previous 12 months.
During the same time period, authorities also froze assets worth more than Dh 13 million.
According to Mr. Al Zaabi, "The UAE takes these AML/CFT matters extremely seriously and this is the reason why it came up with the idea of the executive office to take the lead [role] in the system, and focus on shaping policies and strategies, co-operation and engagement."
"So, we now have a department working on domestic compliance and co-ordination, and a department that focuses on international co-operation, AML/CFT partnerships and communication," he continued.
The suspicious transaction reports (STRs) filed in the first quarter of this year increased by 51% year over year, according to latest data from the UAE's FIU.
42 million dirhams were spent on enforcement measures, and 40 persons were sent to prison for their involvement in financial crime.
The Executive Office, which was founded in February 2021, is in charge of ensuring that the nation's AML/CFT strategy and National Action Plan are being implemented (NAP).
"The EO priority is to develop and follow up with all the government entities in the UAE on the Project Portfolio Management system (PPM), which is also used by a number of UAE ministers to have direct access to progress reports," according to Mr. Al Zaabi.
Mr. Al Zaabi disclosed there were now roughly 45 employees working in the Executive Office and described the PPM as a mechanism that provides "proper oversight of all agencies and maintains their compliance with the National AML/CFT Strategy and Action Plan."
By fLEXI tEAM