Abu Dhabi // The capital will host a conference to be attended by representatives of 53 nations on how to stamp out money-laundering and keep money out of the hands of terror groups. The topic of the conference, scheduled to start on Sunday at the Central Bank, is of a particular concern to the Emirates, which recorded a 43 per cent increase in suspected money-laundering cases between 2008 and 2009, according to Central Bank figures.
The meeting "will be giving guidelines, providing recommendations to bolster the countries defences against money laundering and terrorism financing", among other things, said a representative from the Central Bank's anti-money laundering and suspicious cases unit. The meeting is being hosted jointly by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organisation created to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, and the Middle East and the North Africa Financial Action Task Force, one of the FATF's associate members and which is headquartered in Manama.
"This is the first time they are having a joint preliminary meeting," the Central Bank representative said. Overall, some 500 delegates, including from 32 international organisations, are expected to attend. In a related development, the Central Bank said on Tuesday that the UAE would sign a memorandum of understanding for further co-operation with 14 countries on the sidelines of the conference: the United States, Argentina, Qatar, Greece, Egypt, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Finland, France, Bahrain, Syria, Oman, Singapore and Spain. The content of the memorandum has not been disclosed.
Abdulrahim al Awadi, the director of the anti-money laundering and suspicious cases unit, told a news conference the same day that the UAE recorded 1,729 cases of suspected money laundering in 2009, compared to 1,170 the year before. He attributed the increase to banks reporting more suspicious activity. Mr al Awadi added, according to the state news agency, WAM, that 683 cases had been referred to security authorities to be investigated and that 169 were referred to the courts. The rest are pending.
Following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, the UAE adopted two federal laws to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism, including one which in 2004 that allowed the death penalty to be imposed in some cases. firstname.lastname@example.org