Anti Money Laundering (AML) refers to the web of laws, regulations, and procedures aimed at uncovering efforts to disguise illicit funds as legitimate income. Money laundering seeks to conceal crimes ranging from small-time tax evasion and drug trafficking to public corruption and the financing of groups designated as terrorist organizations. AML legislations across the world are a response to the growth of the financial industry, the lifting of international capital controls and the growing ease of conducting complex chains of financial transactions.
UAE Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism was issued to develop the legislative and legal structure of the nation to ensure compliance with international standards on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.
The law aims to:
- combat money-laundering practices
- establish a legal framework that supports the authorities concerned with anti-money laundering and crimes related to money-laundering
- counter the financing of terrorist operations and suspicious organisations
The Decree-Law defines a perpetrator of a money-laundering offence as any person who is aware that the money was derived from a felony or misdemeanour, and intentionally commits one of the following acts:
- transferring or transporting proceeds of crime with intent to conceal or disguise its illicit origin
- concealing or disguising the true nature, origin, location, way of disposition, movement or rights related to any proceeds or the ownership thereof
- acquiring, possessing or using such proceeds
- assisting the perpetrator of the predicate offence to escape punishment.
The Law stipulates that money laundering is independent of the predicate crime and that the punishment of the person who has committed a predicate offence shall not protect him or her from being penalised for money laundering. Penalties other than charges include anywhere from AED 50,000 to AED 5,000,000.