a Group (EAG). Hamid AlZaabi, Director-General of the Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing, has announced that the UAE has conducted a comprehensive review of its progress in AML/CFT during the first half of 2023, which has shown significant improvement across all areas. In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), AlZaabi emphasized that the outcome of the review demonstrates the strength, responsiveness, and effectiveness of the UAE's national AML/CFT system. The UAE has continued to implement its National Action Plan and National AML/CTF Strategy, and is committed to combating illicit financing and preserving the integrity of the global financial system. AlZaabi noted that these efforts have resulted in a substantial increase in key performance indicators, including STRs/SARs, enforcement actions, inspections by supervisory authorities, and confiscations. He also highlighted that the UAE has successfully confiscated over AED1.309 billion from March 2023 to mid-July 2023, reaffirming its commitment to strengthening its financial system. The Director-General stressed that the UAE will continue to develop its long-term, sustainable AML/CTF capabilities to detect, investigate, and understand money laundering and terrorist financing, and will expand its international cooperation. He added that the UAE's participation in the Eurasia Group plenary was followed by the granting of official observer status at the Asia/Pacific Group plenary. On the domestic level, the UAE FIU hosted the 2023 annual meeting of the Egmont Group in Abu Dhabi, a global organization that facilitates the exchange of information, knowledge, and cooperation among 170 member FIUs. The Director-General expressed his optimism for continued positive progress in the second half of the year.He added that supervisors of Financial Institutions (FIs) and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFPBs) imposed collective fines of more than AED199 million. The UAE also successfully confiscated over AED1.309 billion (approx. US$356,000,000) from March 2023 to mid-July 2023.He noted that from Q1 to Q2 2023, the UAE reported a 17% increase in total STRs. During this period, DNFBP submissions increased by 14% and DPMS submissions by 23%.
AlZaabi explained that in Q2 2023, the number of inspections
(69,407) surpassed the total number of inspections in 2022 (67,097), with an
increase of 108% compared to the first quarter of 2023.
He mentioned that the private sector reporting of Targeted Financial Sanctions (TFS) and Terrorist and Proliferation Financing (PF/TF) – related STRs/SARs to the FIU has increased. Statistics from March-June 2023 show an approximate increase of 93% on the previous reporting period.He said that since March 2023, the Executive Office for Control and Non-Proliferation (EOCN) conducted four training sessions for nearly 4,000 private and public sector professionals on TF/PF.According to the Director-General of the EO AMLCTF, the UAE continues to prioritise international cooperation to combat financial and organised crime. This includes several high-profile cases of investigations, arrests and extradition agreements between the UAE and other jurisdictions.He added that the UAE has successfully signed 45 Mutual Legal Assistance treaties (MLA) in line with efforts stated by the Ministry of Justice in its guide to international judicial cooperation in criminal matters. One MLA treaty was signed with the Republic of Türkiye, and further treaties are being developed.He added that between March and mid-July 2023, the UAE has prioritised investigations and prosecutions of large-scale, complex ML cases. During this period, 183 ML cases were launched nationally by the relevant investigation and prosecution authorities.AlZaabi explained that out of the new ML cases, 51 cases were based on Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) disseminations; 164 cases were judicially investigated by the Public Prosecutions (PPs); and 99 cases were referred to Court during this review period.He mentioned that the UAE maintains a 92.1% conviction rate in ML cases between March 2023 and mid-July 2023, landing 76 convictions during the same period. Approximately 45.3% of the police investigations were generated by formal and informal international cooperation, such as incoming MLA requests, FIU-to-FIU, and police-to-police cooperation.
He noted that confiscating illicit proceeds is a high
priority for the relevant authorities to ensure that the criminal funds are
confiscated and prevented from entering the financial system again, deterring
further criminal activity.
The Director-General of the EO AMLCTF said that during H1
2023, the UAE demonstrated how financial intelligence is instrumental across
relevant authorities in effectively assisting in ML and TF investigations. The
UAE has made significant investments to improve the FIU's capabilities and
efficiency and is seeing significant improvements in the prosecution of
He noted that the FIU has invested heavily in improving the team by hiring highly experienced professionals with relevant experience in compliance, banking, law enforcement and investigations.
AlZaabi stressed that 183 new ML cases have been referred at the national level by relevant investigation and prosecution authorities, which further enhances the capacity of investigation and prosecution authorities to use other sources of information and conduct Parallel Financial Investigations.He said the FIU includes analysis information from foreign FIUs and provides financial intelligence for investigation and prosecution authorities to continuously pursue high-risk ML threats. Moreover, meetings with foreign FIUs and international stakeholders have increased.
ALZaabi stressed that the UAE treats TF and PF risks
seriously. Highly prioritised efforts and activities ensure that terrorist
financiers are prevented from raising funds – either via the private or the
non-profit organisation (NPO) sector – and that the entities and individuals
engaged in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are prevented from
doing so in accordance with UNSCRs.
He noted that the EOCN continues to prioritise comprehensive outreach to the private and public sectors on TF/PF. Since March 2023, four training sessions have been conducted and attended by 4,000 participants, focused mainly on international CPF obligations, compliance best practices, and typologies.He explained that the private sector reporting of TFS PF/TF – related STRs/SARs to the FIU – has increased compared to the past two reporting periods. Statistics from March to June 2023 show an approximate increase of 93% and 96% in STRs compared to the past two reporting periods (Jul – Oct 22 and Nov 22 to Feb 23, respectively). This indicates an increasing and sustained trend.He concluded that supervisors and all AML/CFT authorities are actively coordinating and participating in the ongoing process to update the second National Risk Assessment launched in October 2022.