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NEWS: ‘Greylisted’ UAE makes ‘substantial donation’ to body representing police FIUs globally

UAE: Egmont Group executive secretary Jerome Beaumont (in dark suit and tie) with leading AML/CFT officials and political leaders from the UAE at a recent conference in the country.

By ALISHA HOULIHAN for AML Intelligence

GREYLISTED UAE has made a “substantial donation” to the funding of the body representing the world’s police Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs).

The Egmont Group of FIUs represents most of the main FIUs and held its most recent annual conference at a glittering venue in Abu Dhabi.

Today (Wed) the Egmont Group announced it had received “a substantial donation from the United Arab Emirates Financial Intelligence Unit (UAEFIU) to help support the Egmont Centre of FIU Excellence and Leadership (ECOFEL) Program.”

The UAE is currently on FATF’s so-called “grey list” and has come under sustained criticism for allegedly facilitating Russian financial flows and arms shipments. The Middle East’s two main financial hubs Dubai and Abu Dhabi are most in the UAE.

Significantly, Dubai has been accused by some police forces in Europe of allowing safe harbour for international criminal fugitives. The Kinahan criminal cartel – whose leaders have $5M bounties on their heads from the US – have been living openly in Dubai for some time. The gang is one of the world’s biggest drugs trafficking groups and is facing organised crime charges in Ireland, which has so far failed to have the gang leadership extradited from UAE.

The Egmont Group said the money would help one of its strategic objectives is to strengthen FIU’s capabilities, and the Egmont Centre of FIU Excellence and Leadership (ECOFEL) Program plays a pivotal role in that matter through its training program and learning platform with 7,000 registered participants.

“The Egmont Group sends its sincere gratitude to the United Arab Emirates Financial Intelligence Unit (UAEFIU) for their very substantial financial contribution to the ECOFEL program,” said Elżbieta Franków-Jaśkiewicz, Interim Chair, Egmont Group of FIUs today.

“Their support is instrumental in helping the ECOFEL continue equipping FIU personnel with AML/CFT training knowledge and expertise. The UAEFIU’s funding demonstrates UAE authorities’ global support, commitment, and engagement to AML/CFT principles,” she said.

CONFERENCE: Ali Faisal Ba’Alawi, Head of UAEFIU, with Jerome Beaumont, executive secretary of the Egmont Group in Abu Dhabi.

Ali Faisal Ba’Alawi, Head of UAEFIU said: “The UAE is committed to helping protect the global economy from money laundering, terrorism financing, and other financial crimes through international coordination and collaboration. By contributing to the ECOFEL program, the UAEFIU is helping to strengthen and support international efforts to tackle ML/TF and protect global financial integrity, peace, and security by ensuring all FIUs have access to expert training and resources.”

The donation from the UAE Financial Intelligence Unit will be added to the funding currently provided by ECOFEL’s other generous donors, such as the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), SECO Economic Cooperation and Development , Saudi Arabia FIU (SAFIU), AUSTRAC, UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU), Anti-Money Laundering Division (AMLD) – Taiwan, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and past donors.

“Thanks to the support of the UAEFIU and other donors, the ECOFEL continues to deliver professional training and knowledge to FIU personnel across the globe and empower FIUs to strive towards excellence and leadership,” the Egmont Group said in a statement.

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