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UAE stands ready to back international anti-money laundering effort

posted on 13/12/2007: 2129 views

The UAE will back international efforts aimed at raising awareness standard about risks posed by money laundering and financing terrorism, a senior UAE banker affirmed on Wednesday.

'In particular, the UAE will encourage the dialogue between the United States and Middle East and North Africa on anti-money laundering and combating financing terrorism (AML-CFT).The UAE believes that a true public-private partnership is the best way to arrive at a full-proof mechanisms and regulations to combat money laundering and terror financing, said Abdul Rahim Mohammed Al Awadi, assistant executive manager of the UAE Central Bank's Anti-Money Laundering and Suspicious Cases Unit (AMLSCU), in a keynote address to the third US-MENA conference on AML-CFT organised in Dubai today.

The conference was organised by the UAE Central Bank in association with the Union of Arab Banks and US Department of Treasury. To put this system in place, he added, greater, close cooperation between financial, supervisory, regulatory and law enforcement authorities is desperately needed. He UAE banker warned the gathering that international trade could be abused by criminals and terrorists.

Outlining UAE efforts in this respect, he explained that the UAE Central Bank had introduced adequate measures to protect the country banking sectors from money launderers and terror financiers and understood, at the same time, the need for upgrading and updating its systems as per new technology. He unveiled that the UAE will chair the MENA Financial Act Taskforce (FATF) in 2008.

Chairman of the Union of Arab Banks Adnan Yousif said the private sector from MENA, US and international community should play a key role in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing, through adopting and enhancing the dialogue to maintain and develop ML/TF fighting tools. Citing a 2007 global anti-money laundering survey conducted by KPMG, he said the amount of money laundered by is in excess of US$1 trillion.

"Almost all countries of MENA have been devoting a great deal of resources on all fronts to strengthen their financial markets' defence against illegal financial activities, including money laundering,” he added. "Today, most countries of the region have in place a robust, coherent framework of international standards, domestic controls and suitable enforcement mechanisms, he continued.

He maintained that "Countries of the region are determined to reduce the pool of criminal funds, and continuing to promote international cooperation and information sharing in money laundering and investigations and actions. He noted that:' 'It is not surprising that no Arab country is placed on the FATF's black list of non-cooperative countries in AML-CFT. Our domestic monetary authorities and financial sectors are very serious about keeping their markets clean and highly defensive against illicit cash'. He went on to say that those authorities were determined to ensure that effective domestic controls are in place. The first conference was held in Cairo in March 2006 and the second was hosted by New York in December 2006. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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