UAE anti-money laundering: Registration for non-financial entities, individuals extended until April 30
Decision due to the large numbers of companies in the sector seeking to register in the last days of the previous deadline
The UAE Ministry of Economy announced the extension of the deadline granted to companies in the “specific non-financial business and professions” sector to register in government regulations approved for countering money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism until the end of April.
The decision is due to the large numbers of companies in the sector seeking to register in the last days of the previous deadline, which expired on March 31, taking into account the conditions of companies and the business sector in general during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ministry explained that the targeted companies, which include brokers and real estate agents, auditors, dealers of precious metals and gemstones, and corporate service providers, are required to undergo registration, which is mandatory and for free, before the end of the new deadline, in the goAML system and the automatic reporting system for sanctions lists and take the necessary measures to achieve complinace with the requirements of Federal Law No.20 of 2018.
It called on the concerned companies to take advantage of the new period for registration to avoid the penalties and fines stipulated in the law, which will be applied from May 1. Fines start from Dh50,000 to reach Dh5 million, while the penalties for companies that fail to register include the suspension of their licences or their closure.
Abdullah Sultan Al Fan Al Shamsi, Assistant Under-secretary for the supervision and follow-up sector at the Ministry of Economy, said: “Due to the increased level of response in the business sector and non-financial professions identified for mandatory registration, the Ministry of Economy decided, in coordination with its partners from the relevant government agencies, to extend the grace period granted to the target companies and give them more time until the end of the current month to complete the registration process and begin taking the necessary legal measures to comply with the requirements of the law and its implementing regulations.”
“The goal is not to impose violations, but to ensure compliance, and the decision comes with the aim of taking into account the conditions that various companies and business sectors are going through as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and its repercussions on a global scale, stressing that the Ministry of Economy is keen to build a solid and positive relationship with the private sector based on the principle of partnership.”
Al Shamsi emphasised that the designated non-financial business and professions sector is a major partner in the UAE’s efforts to combat money laundering and has a pivotal role in supporting government efforts to build a safe and stable economic environment away from money laundering and terrorist financing crimes.
He pointed out that many of the companies concerned in the sector in its four categories showed a high level of awareness and commitment and registered, but there is still a percentage of companies that have not registered in the two systems. Extending the grace period to gives an additional opportunity to these companies to rush to register, avoid violations and protect their business and investments from money laundering risks by complying with government control requirements.
Safia Al Safi, director of the Anti-Money Laundering Department at the Ministry of Economy, said that extending the grace period without applying any violations before April 30 allows companies fulfill their obligations and initiate registration. The Ministry of Economy received more than 6,000 calls and enquiries during March.