United Arab Emirates

New Documents

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates published its 2020 annual report, focusing on strategic anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing, financial technology and other priorities.

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates published guidance on suspicious transaction reporting for financial institutions under the anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing rules.

Enforcement Actions

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates issued a AED$496,000 financial penalty against an exchange house operating in the jurisdiction for having a weak anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing framework.

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates imposed a AED$600,000 fine on a non-authorized individual related to an exchange house operating in the country pursuant to the Federal Decree Law No. (20) of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism.

Important Facts

  • The U.S. State Department identifies the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a jurisdiction of primary concern. Though a stable regional hub for transportation, trade and financial activity, the UAE has expanded its financial services businesses and foreign trade zones, thus opening itself to be misused by illicit actors who exploit the UAE’s open business environment, global banks, exchange houses, and global transportation links to undertake illicit financial activity. Such bad actors use UAE’s complex and uneven regulatory environment, to facilitate bulk cash smuggling, trade-based money laundering and transfer of illicit proceeds. Transfers of illicit funds usually occur through commodities used as counter-valuation in hawala transactions or through trading companies illegally operating as exchange houses. Other money laundering vulnerabilities within the country include the illicit transfer of funds from narcotics produced in Southwest Asia; real estate sector; misuse of international gold and diamond trade; and use of couriers to transfer illicit funds. The UAE has comprehensive know your customer and suspicious transactions reporting regulations and permits its Central Bank freeze assets of suspicious institutions or individuals.  Additionally, the UAE has enhanced due diligence procedures for politically exposed persons, both foreign and domestic, as well as a record exchange mechanism with other governments (excluding the United States).
Source: 2019 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR)  



Technical Effectiveness
Compliant : 5 High :
Largely Compliant : 15 Substantial :
Partially Compliant : 18 Moderate :
Non-Compliant : 11 Low :


Rank : 37/141
Score : 5.89/10


Rank : 21/180
Score : 71/100

Tax Justice Network i

Rank : 10/133
Score : 78/100