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CBUAE issues new anti-money laundering guidelines

The Central Bank of the UAE, which established a dedicated department in August 2020 to handle all Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) matters, has issued new AML/CFT guidance for licensed exchange houses (LEHs).

The AML department has three main objectives: to investigate Licensed Financial Institutions (LFIs), to ensure compliance with the AML/CFT legal and regulatory framework, and to identify threats, vulnerabilities, and emerging risks in the UAE’s financial sector. 

The new guidance, which takes into account Financial Action   Task Force (FATF) standards, assists LEHs’ understanding of risks and effective implementation of their statutory AML/CFT obligations. The guidance, which came into effect on November 17, 2021, requires LEHs to demonstrate compliance with its requirements within one month.

Highlights of the new guidelines:

  • LEHs must maintain an effective AML/CFT programme to prevent misuse of their business to facilitate money laundering or terrorist financing.  
  • LEHs must take a risk-based AML/CFT approach by conducting a regular risk assessment process that covers all risks to their exchange business, such as customer, products and services, delivery channel, new technologies, geographic, counterparty and illicit finance risks.  
  • The other components of the AML/CFT programme include dedicated compliance function, strong customer due diligence, continuous transaction monitoring, and full compliance with the UAE’s requirements on Targeted Financial Sanctions and Suspicious Transaction Reporting.

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