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UAE shares experience with UK on application of targeted financial sanctions

Thu 26/5/2022

The Executive Office for Control and Non-Proliferation (EOCN) held a meeting with a delegation from the United Kingdom (UK), represented by HM Treasury and the Office for the Implementation of Financial Sanctions.

The meeting aimed at exchanging expertise and building capacity on the implementation of targeted financial sanctions to combat terrorist financing offences, proliferation of armaments, and the freezing of funds and assets belonging to terrorists and terrorist organisations, in line with relevant Security Council resolutions, as well as the recommendations and international standards issued by The Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

"The Executive Office of Control and Non-Proliferation is constantly seeking to learn about the best practices and international experiences of implementing targeted financial sanctions and strengthening international cooperation to share information in order to protect financial systems from exploitation in terrorist financing and proliferation operations as such crimes are considered transnational," said Rashid Al Mannai, Director of the Targeted Financial Sanctions Department, during a speech at the opening of the meeting.

Al Mannai also reviewed the recently issued guidance package from the Executive Office to the Private Sector, which will raise awareness among financial institutions, designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBP) and virtual asset service providers for immediate freezing with no delay of funds and assets, in addition to identifying the latest patterns and trends adopted by criminals to avoid sanctions and pass money through financial and non-financial systems in order to hide their source.

During the meeting, the two sides reviewed the electronic systems used for immediate effective application of freezing through the direct circular of security council lists and the domestic list related to terrorism, the proliferation of armaments and their financing. This will be accessible to all national and private sector bodies, as well as the procedures and grounds adopted for the inclusion of persons and entities associated with such crimes, deletion procedures, and cases where persons and entities could be allowed to use frozen funds or assets.

On the other hand, both sides reviewed training programmes and awareness workshops held for all national partners, including the private sector, and the extent of such programmes to contribute in raising the capacity of entities to track and freeze funds and prevent terrorists and terrorist groups from accessing such funds. Both sides have also stressed the importance of using social media to keep relevant entities updated, including international developments related to targeted financial sanctions.

In terms of sanctions evasion, the meeting dealt with the latest techniques and methods used to evade sanctions, whether through the use of third parties or through the establishment of front or fictitious companies that allow the concealment of the real beneficiary and the exploitation of commercial activities as a cover for the passage of funds and their use to finance terrorist or proliferation activities.

In order to comply with the latest amendments to international anti-proliferation standards, the British side presented their experience in the field of national non-proliferation assessment in terms of its objectives, scope and ways of gathering information from relevant authorities and the key threats and weaknesses of the assessment process.

At the end of the meeting, the British side praised the UAE's experience in implementing targeted financial sanctions and the role played by EOCN in partnership with national authorities to enhance the effectiveness of Counter-terrorist financing and proliferation systems. Al Mannai has also praised the pioneering experience of the UK in implementing targeted financial sanctions, expressing the aspiration of the executive office for more meetings and exchange of experiences in the future.

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