Thursday, December 15, 2016

Misleading Report about UAE Central Bank “Changes” to AML Regulations

Another cold Dubai December and to top it off AA's Biggles' hat was at the cleaners.
If you’re like AA, you might have been confused when you read WAM’s 14 December 2016  (Arabic version here) article or others in the media that the Central Bank of the UAE had amended three paragraphs in Circular 24/2000.

Without any explanation or context provided, a reader might conclude that the CB UAE has only recently moved to prohibit the opening of numbered or anonymous accounts or require fairly standard CDD on customers. 

If you read the article in Gulf News yesterday, that's certainly the impression you'd get from the article's subtitle:  "New rule strictly prohibits the opening of accounts with assumed names or numbers, among others".

If true, this would represent a serious shortcoming in the UAE’s AML/CFT efforts.
However, it’s not the case. 

The 2000 Circular already contained such requirements.  Article 4 in that Circular is quite unequivocal, e.g. "يمنع منعا باتا فتح حسابات ".  The English version is similarly strict.
So what’s going on?

The three articles are being amended to permit reliance on UAE national ID cards as proof of an individual's identity.  The 2000 Circular only permitted the use of passports. 
Someone at WAM or CBUAE missed the bus by not including this information.

AA did not. 
Ever since the fateful day pictured above, AA has been doubly careful or at least tried to be.

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