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UAE to beef up ‘patchy’ money laundering measures

UAE to beef up 'patchy' money laundering measures
Banks required to carry extra due diligence of dealers in precious stones, real estate and luxury goods, as UAE aims to match international money laundering regulations.

June 23, 2008 3:43 by

Eight years after its first stab at anti-money laundering controls, and seven years after the September 11 attacks showed terrorists were using the country, especially Dubai, as a financial hub, the UAE is to bring in tough new money laundering regulations.

The Financial Times says the new measures, to be announced later this week, will require banks to carry out more due diligence on prospective customers, forcing local and regional institutions to apply the same rigor as the international banks already operating in the country.

It says the UAE, post-September 11, moved quickly to beef up its regulations, but patchy implementation and the booming economy have left it exposed.

Under the new measures banks will have to carry out extra due diligence on dealers in precious stones, real estate and luxury goods. The threshold at which banks are forced to verify the name and address of remitters will be brought down from Dh40,000 ($11,000) to Dh3,500.

They also require banks to engage in enhanced due diligence to determine whether “foreign politically exposed persons” are trying to open an account in the UAE, as well as officially banning all financial relationships with “shell banks or companies”.

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