Anti-Money-Laundering Watchdog Urges U.A.E. to Strengthen Enforcement

Investigating and prosecuting gold smugglers was one of several recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force

The skyline in Dubai, one of seven sheikhdoms in the United Arab Emirates. The U.A.E.’s heavy reliance on cash transactions and its highly active trade in precious metals and stones are among the factors that make the country susceptible to criminal activity, a global watchdog said.

Photo: Jon Gambrell/Associated Press

The United Arab Emirates has taken steps to combat money laundering in recent years but should more aggressively investigate and prosecute financial crimes, including the smuggling of gold and precious stones across its borders, a global watchdog said.



香蕉视频苹果下载The recommendation was one of several published Thursday by the Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based organization that evaluates anti-money-laundering laws across the world. Since its last evaluation in 2008, the U.A.E. has strengthened its approach to fighting financial crime and has undertaken a national review of its money-laundering and terrorist-financing risks, the FATF said.

But the country’s heavy reliance on cash transactions and its highly active trade in precious metals and stones are among the factors that make the U.A.E. susceptible to criminal activity, according to the FATF.

香蕉视频苹果下载“The risks are significant, and result from the UAE’s extensive financial, economic, corporate and trade activities, including as a global leader in oil, diamond and gold exports,” the FATF said in a press release.

A spokesman for the U.A.E. Embassy in Washington didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The FATF evaluation, which covered a range of topics beyond gold smuggling, pointed to a “noticeable absence” in recent years in the U.A.E. of investigations and prosecutions of suspected money laundering in high-risk sectors, such as precious metals trading, and criminal enterprises, such as drug trafficking. Money-laundering cases have focused on forgery and fraud, the FATF said.

Additionally, law enforcement agencies haven't taken full advantage of the financial intelligence that’s available to them to investigate or trace criminal proceeds, the FATF said.

香蕉视频苹果下载Among other recommendations, the FATF urged the U.A.E. to enhance its understanding of its most pressing money-laundering risks. The country should also improve its customs intelligence and establish a referral system between its customs and law enforcement agencies to ensure that suspected criminal activity is investigated, the FATF said.

Write to Kristin Broughton at Kristin.Broughton@wsj.com

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