UAE and Egypt’s anti-money-laundering bodies sign pact to boost co-operation

UAE and Egypt’s anti-money-laundering bodies sign pact to boost co-operation

The UAE’s Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) has signed a preliminary agreement with its Egyptian counterpart to boost co-operation to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

The agreement with the Egyptian Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit (EMLCU) further strengthens the existing collaboration between the UAE and Egypt, the Executive Office said in a statement on Thursday, as the meetings between the government bodies concluded.

The two sides will focus on improving the understanding of risks and will exchange knowledge, expertise and best AML/CFT practices, with a view to bolster the response of both countries to shared threats and risks.

“The signing of the MoU is yet another step in a long series of bilateral meetings and achievements that have undoubtedly strengthened national and regional efforts to counter illicit financial flows,” said Hamid Al Zaabi, director general of the Executive Office.

“By strengthening our co-operation in the fight against financial crime, we protect our national economies and international financial systems.”

A joint committee will now oversee the implementation of the initial agreement in the quest to raise awareness and improve domestic and regional understanding of AML/CFT through training courses, workshops, seminars and conferences.

The agreement will also allow the EMLCU to benefit from the Executive Office’s partnership with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in the GCC region by providing access to information-sharing programmes and other inter-agency initiatives, the statement said.

The signing of the agreement is a “natural progression in co-operation between Egypt and the UAE”, EMLCU chairman Ahmed Khalil said.

“We have co-operated closely for the past five decades,” he said. “The bilateral partnership between our countries is based on the pursuit of shared interests.”

The sharing of knowledge through the agreement will also help in the establishment and amendment of laws, supervisory instructions, guidance, mechanisms and procedures to enhance the effectiveness of efforts to combat money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing, Mr Khalil added.

The UAE has made significant progress in combating money laundering, the financing of terrorism and weapons proliferation over the past few years.

The Arab world’s second-largest economy seized and confiscated assets worth more than Dh4.73 billion ($1.29 billion) in the 12 months to the end of July 2022, as it stepped up its fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Assets worth Dh2.54 billion were seized by authorities while assets worth Dh2.19 billion were confiscated in that one-year period, Mr Al Zaabi told The National in an interview in October.

Established in February 2021, the Executive Office is charged with overseeing the enforcement of the UAE’s National AML/CFT Strategy and the National Action Plan.

Primarily a national policy and co-ordinating body on AML/CFT efforts, the Executive Office has a wide-ranging mandate to ensure the UAE has a sustainable and resilient framework and is currently co-ordinating with more than 80 government entities and law enforcement agencies in the country, Mr Al Zaabi said at the time.

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