New system to curb money laundering in UAE

  • 24th Jun 2019

Article Credit: https://lnkd.in/g6bEzVu

Published By Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: All financial institutions in the country have to now report any suspicious transactions through “goAML” (Anti-Money Laundering), a newly UN-developed platform, the Central Bank of the UAE announced on Sunday.

The launch of the platform at the Central Bank’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi makes the UAE the first country in the Gulf region to go live with the system developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. It aims to step up intelligence, identify complex, organised criminal activities and curb them.

Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, Governor of Central Bank of UAE, Chairperson of National Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations Committee, said: “We are proud to be the first country in the GCC to go live with goAML. Our objective has always been to provide support for UAE’s financial institutions in line with global standards. The platform will act as an integral part of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) by elevating its IT infrastructure, strengthening a countrywide cooperation against criminal activity. This will also help us better observe trends when analysing suspicious transaction reports, helping eliminate potential threats at more efficient rates.”

Speaking to media, Judge Hatem Fouad Ali, Regional Representative of UNODC, said: “The UNODC works in partnership with the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee and alongside several government entities, including the FIU, to aid in the development of essential programmes such as the goAML.”

The platform was developed by UNODC as a strategic response against financial crime, as advised by the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime. It is a one-stop, fully integrated solution that meets the IT needs of most FIUs, with the primary objective of enhancing the capacity of member states to detect financial crime and to meet international standards relating to money laundering and terrorist financing,” Ali said.

The limit for transactions to be flagged off for clearance was reduced from Dh100,000 to Dh60,000 last year. “I just want to make it clear that if financial companies fail to report suspicious transactions to the competent authorities, they will be subject to penalties,” a bank official said.

“Reporting entities have to complete their registration before June 27 because it’s not optional, it’s mandatory. Of around 900 financial entities that are required to register on the platform, so far, 50 per cent have complied,” a bank official added.

Ali Ba’Alawi, Acting Head of FIU, said: “The goAML has provided the necessary infrastructure to allow FIU to build a customised module to connect various intelligence databases, enriching the level of intelligence and identifying complex and possible organised criminal activities.”

The FIU aims to ensure an overall safer community by preventing money laundering, financing of terrorism and any illicit financial activity. goAML will help the FIU achieve its aim,” he said.

In collaboration with UNODC, the platform was specifically customised to meet the requirements of the UAE’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) framework and key stakeholders.

FIU, being the central repository of financial intelligence in the UAE, will exchange intelligence with the relevant stakeholders domestically through goAML.

Through this project, the UAE Central Bank and UNODC aim to contribute to the efforts of the international community towards implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Sustainable Development Goal 16 and its target 16.4 (The goal is to significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organised crime by 2030).

For more information on the registration process, people can reach email at goaml@cbuae.gov.ae

What is goAML?

It is a fully integrated software solution developed for use by FIU. Considered to be one of UNODC’s strategic responses to financial crime, including money laundering and terrorist financing, goAML can be used for data collection, document management and analysis; it will be used by financial institutions like banks, exchange houses, finance companies, law enforcement agencies such as the police and designated non-financial businesses and professions (lawyers, accountants). The new system ensures the UAE financial system remains effective in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

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