Tuesday, December 1, 2020

UAE fines seven law firms for persistent violation of anti-money laundering laws

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UAE’s Justice Ministry has imposed a Dh100,000 ($27,200) fine on seven law firms for continuing to violate anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) measures.

The action was taken in accordance with the provisions of Federal Law No. 20 of 2018 on countering money laundering, terrorist financing, and illegal organizations.

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“These measures are part of the UAE’s continuous and extensive efforts to address the risks associated with financial crimes, and reflect the strong commitment of the Ministry of Justice towards strengthening its AML and the CTF supervisory role over legal professionals,” the Justice Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

In support of these objectives, the ministry has recently announced numerous legal measures against non-compliant lawyers, most notably the decision to suspend 200 law firms from practicing for one month due to non-compliance with anti-money laundering measures.

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In response to these measures, 193 law firms have managed to rectify their compliance shortcomings, leading the Ministry of Justice to lift the suspension measures imposed previously upon them.

However, seven out of the 200 law firms fall short of taking necessary corrective actions, and therefore received a fine as per pertinent laws and regulations.

The ministry emphasized the importance of law firms’ full compliance with AML and the CTF policies and regulations, as it underscores the UAE’s commitment towards fulfilling its obligations in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

The ministry also praised the constructive partnership it has with legal professionals in the UAE, and the commitment of the vast majority of law firms to meeting their AML and the CTF obligations.

The fight against money laundering and terrorist financing is of utmost importance for the UAE, as demonstrated by the recent decision to form the Higher Committee Overseeing the National Strategy on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism under the Chairmanship of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the ministry concluded.

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