UAE removed from the FATF Grey List

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UAE Removed from Graylist

In a significant milestone, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) achieved a major victory on February 23, 2024, as it was officially removed from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Grey List—a compilation of jurisdictions under increased monitoring. The exhaustive efforts put forth by the UAE government and the Executive Office for Control and Non-Proliferation (EOCN) have successfully addressed strategic deficiencies related to money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing. This blog delves into the transformative reforms and enforcement measures that played a pivotal role in reshaping the UAE’s standing on the international stage.


Reforms Leading to Removal: The journey out of the Grey List was marked by comprehensive reforms, showcasing the UAE’s commitment to combating financial crimes. Among the key initiatives were:

  1. Establishment of the EOCN: The creation of the Executive Office for Control and Non-Proliferation (EOCN) emerged as a cornerstone in the UAE’s reform strategy. Tasked with enforcing anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CFT) measures, the EOCN played a pivotal role in orchestrating the nation’s compliance with FATF recommendations.
  2. Special Court for Financial Crimes: Recognizing the need for a specialized legal framework, the UAE established a special court dedicated to handling financial crimes. This move strengthened the judicial arm, ensuring a more focused and efficient approach to tackling money laundering and related offenses.
  3. Adoption of AML/CFT Guidelines: In line with global standards, the UAE embraced new AML/CFT guidelines tailored for financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs). This step demonstrated a commitment to creating a robust regulatory environment that leaves no room for illicit financial activities.
  4. Revamped Penal Code: A key milestone in the reform process was the adoption of a new penal code, significantly fortifying the UAE’s legal arsenal against money laundering, terrorist financing, and corruption. This legislative enhancement showcased the nation’s proactive approach to combatting financial crimes.


EOCN’s Technological Innovations: To complement these reforms, the EOCN leveraged technological innovations to streamline enforcement efforts. The development of FawriTick—an automated intelligence platform—allowed for the integration of details related to financial crimes. Additionally, a reporting platform was tailored to address the specific compliance needs of AML/CFT initiatives.


Enforcement Measures: The UAE’s commitment to enforcement was evident in the staggering figures reported. Fines exceeding AED 115 million were issued for money laundering, accompanied by over 8000 inspections. Authorities successfully seized AED 925 million linked to breaches of AML practices and procedures. These substantial actions underscored the nation’s unwavering dedication to upholding the highest standards of financial integrity.


International Cooperation: Recognizing the global nature of financial crimes, the UAE took proactive steps to strengthen international cooperation. Preliminary agreements for anti-financial crime were signed, and extradition treaties with South Africa and Denmark were ratified. These initiatives solidified the UAE’s commitment to collaborative efforts in combating transnational financial offenses.


Looking Ahead: With the removal from the FATF Grey List, the UAE is now focusing on the next phase of its financial integrity journey. Authorities are diligently working on the National Risk Assessment plan, slated for completion by the end of 2024. This strategic plan will further fortify the UAE’s defenses against emerging threats and challenges in the realm of financial crimes.


The successful removal of the UAE from the FATF Grey List stands as a testament to the nation’s proactive approach, comprehensive reforms, and robust enforcement measures. As the UAE continues to strengthen its position as a global financial hub, this achievement underscores its commitment to fostering a secure and transparent financial ecosystem.

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