criminal law


January 29, 2020



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In fall of October last year, UAE government promulgated Federal Decree-Law number 20 of 2018 concerning Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting of Financing Terrorism, hereinafter mentioned as Anti-Money Laundering Law.

Upon a vigorous recommendation from the Financial Authority and to imitate the global anti-money laundering principles and to battle illegal tax avoidance UAE effectively engaged itself in overseeing the activities involving money laundering, hence the issuance of the new law.


One may comprehend inconspicuously, however, significant amendments in the new Law; it is the actualizing guidelines to the new AML Law which have carried further lucidity to supervise the implementation of the Anti-Money Laundering Law. Accordingly, the Cabinet Resolution 10 of 2019 for implementation of the Law has been recently issued.

The foregoing regulations stipulate directions for executing the Anti-Money Laundering Law along with clarifications for its expected effect.

Who All Should Abide?

Before the enactment of the Cabinet Resolutions, it was believed that all financial, commercial or professional companies were liable to adhere with Anti-Money Laundering Law. Nevertheless, the issuance of Cabinet Resolution has clarified the applicability of Anti Money Laundering Law.

It is now evident from the Law that the companies that qualify as Financial Institutions or referred to as Designation non-Financial Businesses and Professions will be subject to Anti-Money Laundering provisions.

Generally, Cabinet Resolution necessitates that any Financial Institute or any designated non-financial Business anticipate on any ground that any transaction is suspicious in any part thereof, or relates to any criminal activity, it shall immediately inform the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) along with all relevant details and documents.

Importantly, the Cabinet Resolutions absolve legal practitioners, notaries, or auditors from the prerequisites of the Anti-Money Laundering Law, if the suspicious information was obtained during the evaluation of the clients legal position or representing the client before any competent authority.

Additionally, any financial or designated non-financial institute is not authorized to disclose the details of any suspicious transaction to the client, whereas the lawyer or auditor can prevent the client from committing such violation or can recommend preventing such activity.

Supervising Authority

FIU has been granted enormous powers under the Anti-Money Laundering Law and its Cabinet Resolution in order to obtain relevant information pertaining to any crime. The law allows FIU to receive any pertinent information regarding suspicious information or empowers FIU to solicit any information from the Financial or Designated non-Financial institutes for its perusal. Importantly, FIU is authorized to interchange information to other countries for further investigations.

In a nutshell, it is affirmed that companies qualifying as Financial or Designated non-Financial Business or Institutes shall abide by the provisions of Anti- Money Laundering Laws and its Resolutions to avoid any legal repercussions. Importantly they must follow strict internal procedures and must try to alleviate high-risk clients.

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