The UAE Central Bank has sanctioned 11 banks operating in the country for failure to fully comply with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations.
The authority on Sunday confirmed it had slapped a total of $12.5 million (45.8 million UAE dirhams) in fines to the offending banks on January 24, 2021. However, the apex bank did not reveal the names of the banks.
In addition to strengthening laws, UAE regulators have focused more on enforcement. In November 2020, an Abu Dhabi court fined nine individuals and nine firms for money laundering offences in relation to funds of over $81.87 million (AED300m).
Anti-money laundering drive
The UAE has been vigilant against illegal financial transactions. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), money laundering and the financing of terrorism are financial crimes that have negative economic effects.
“These activities generate financial flows that involve the diversion of resources away from economically- and socially-productive uses—and these diversions can have negative impacts on the financial sector and external stability of member states,” the IMF said.
According to the UAE central bank, all banks in the country have been given ample time to ensure they comply with the regulations.
“[They] were instructed in the middle of 2019 to ensure compliance by the end of that year, informing them that further shortcomings would result in penalties under the [law],” it said.