The UAE has sought to pursue a clear strategy to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation of nuclear weapons including weapons of mass destructions (WMD), Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, Governor of Central Bank of the UAE and Chairman of National Anti-Money Laundering Committee, affirmed on Sunday.
"It has an active legislative framework and a strong regulatory and supervisory system for supervision of banks, other financial institutions, economic and commercial institutions. This has been done through its various concerned authorities to ensure that all individuals and entities (both natural/juridical persons) come within the purview of AML/CFT regime," Al Suwaidi said in an inaugural speech at the workshop concerning the Requirements of UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) related to Combating Terrorist Financing and Weapons of Mass Destructions and Mechanism of Implementing the Resolutions, for Entities/Establishments operating in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) including their obligations under AML/CFT Laws and Regulations.
In his speech, read on his behalf by Abdulrahim Mohamed Al Awadi Executive Director and Head of Anti-Money Laundering and Suspicious Cases Unit (AMLSCU) of the UAE, Al Suwaidi added that : "The workshop is a manifestation of our operational and strategic relationship and collaboration with our domestic partner DFSA within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two entities. It is also a continuation of our outreach efforts to share expertise, knowledge and experiences with the private sector to tackle the evolving ML/FT challenges facing the region.
"The UAE government has established permanent committees, the NAMLC and National Committee to Combating Terrorism Financing with multi-institutional representations to coordinate policy in this regard. Furthermore, a series of laws, regulations and procedures have been issued from time to time to protect the economy from being abused by criminals, terrorist financiers and money launderers. In addition, UAE has a policy of reviewing its AML/CFT Framework on a regular basis, and the best practices and evolving standards are taken into consideration in amending any existing regulation or issuing any new regulation,"he indicated.
"UAE is fully committed to combat nuclear proliferation and terrorism in all its forms. As an expression of its commitment to support all global efforts in this regard, UAE has accessioned all 13 UN Conventions against terrorism and nuclear proliferation and implemented UNSCRs in relation to the same. Furthermore, UAE has joined and endorsed the 'Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism' (GICNT) which is a multi-lateral effort of 82 partner countries to strengthen international framework against nuclear terrorism.
"In line with our critical resolve to combat terrorism financing and proliferation, this workshop has been designed to raise awareness on the risks associated with proliferation financing and highlight the best practices for implementing UNSCRs in this regard."
Furthermore, the central banker said the role of the UAE financial Intelligence Unit (UAE FIU) and its core activity of analysing suspicious transactions and converting it into intelligence will be addressed along with specific issues related to the suspicious transaction reports (STRs) filed by DIFC entities/establishments.
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) will also give a presentation on AML key risk areas and best practice on STR preparation.
The Workshop will conclude with four case studies elaborating the ML/FT typologies and indicators common to this region.
"It is now well established that the knowledgeable and prudent employees play the most significant role in detecting suspicious transactions/activity and therefore, there is no alternative to the on-going training to equip the employees with the necessary skills to fight this global menace. I believe all the participants will benefit immensely from this workshop which will translate into strengthening UAE defences against money laundering, terrorist financing, proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destructions (WMD)," Al Suwaidi concluded.
Al Awadi said the apex bank received 5009 money laundering and suspicious cases from banks and financial firms including the DIFC from 2008 up to February 2011.
"The Central Bank received 1170 cases in 2008, 1750 in 2009, 2711 in 2010 and 378 in January and February 2011. The surge in the number of suspicious cases and reports was attributed to the massive training the Central Bank provided to local bankers on detection of such cases," he added.
According to him, this training workshop is part of a series of six similar events the Central Bank will conduct during the first half of the current year.
"More than 900 experts on money laundering and terrorism financing were trained," he disclosed.
Bryan Stirewalt, Managing Director Supervision, Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), told the workshop that the DIFC saw no rise in movement of capital due to the recent developments in the region.
He said that more than 100 suspicious cases were detected by the DIFC since 2005.