Skip to main content

UAE announces new guidance to control money laundering

The United Arab Emirates has been working to counter money laundering since being added to the Financial Action Task Force’s “grey list” in 2022.
Stock Market Exchange on a skyscraper in dubai background - Getty / stock photo

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates issued new guidance on money laundering and terrorism financing on Wednesday in an effort to counter global criticism of the country for being soft on the issue. 

The guidance relates to the use of digital identification systems that financial institutions in the UAE use. The bank said that institutions should use identification as well as enrollment and authentication mechanisms in their digital ID systems. They should also use authentication data such as IP addresses to detect suspicious behavior, including from “sanctioned and high-risk jurisdictions,” according to a press release. 

The Central Bank added that financial institutions may use third parties for customer verification and identification, provided these third parties comply with the 2018 Emirati law on money laundering and terrorism financing. 

The institutions should also use technology best practices and institute protections against cyberattacks and other breaches, the Central Bank said. 

Why it matters: The UAE was placed on the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force’s “grey list” in early 2022, indicating a relatively high degree of money laundering. Since then, the Gulf country has been working to clean up its act in this regard. The Abu Dhabi General Market released whistleblowing guidelines in December. The Dubai Financial Services Authority and Emirati Tax Authority did the same in April of last year. 

The UAE Central Bank sanctioned private banks last July for not following reporting procedures, while the Economy Ministry fined companies in December for violating money laundering and terrorism financing laws. In August of last year, the Central Bank also announced new procedures financial institutions must follow for individuals at higher risk of engaging in money laundering, terrorism financing or other wrongdoing.

Know more: The Central Bank’s mention of “sanctioned jurisdictions” is also noteworthy. Entities in the UAE has been implicated in several sanctions-busting scandals related to Russia and Iran in particular in recent years. Most recently, the US Treasury Department sanctioned an Emirati firm for doing oil deals with Iran. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial