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Anti-Money Laundering Law in the UAE

anti-money laundering, find lawyer UAE

Anti-Money Laundering Law in the UAE

Money laundering is one of the proven crimes nowadays. Many people make money through illegal means. This might be business people in most cases. Generating bulk funds from illegal activities can be through tax evasion, smuggling, theft, drug trafficking, and other corruptions. These dealings are mostly done in the form of cash. ‘Money laundering’ refers to the process of making money illegally portraying the appearance of having been legitimately acquired. In order to eliminate these illegal funds, Anti-money laundering got enacted.

A Federal Decree No. 20 of 2018 on the anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism was issued on 23rd September 2018. This was made as part of the requirement of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The new law provides the measures to combat money-laundering like establishment of financial information unit for investigating suspicious activities, Central bank panel for issuing guidelines and to fulfill orders on combating of money-laundering, combating the Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organizations. The requirement of new law is the financial institutions, professionals and businesses who perform routine transactions.

Key Points

  • New law was issued on 23rd September 2018 in order to organize the money laundering fines and the amendment of law no. 4 of 2002 of anti-money laundering. This changed the UAE regulation on the crimes by law 7/2017 and 8/2017.
  • Consider money laundering as a different crime. Even if a criminal faces the law for a main crime, he or she will face a separate sentence for hiding the money. This will be faced as an individual crime.
  • Court which investigates the money laundering case does not need to wait for the result of any other main crimes done by the same person for convicting the criminal.
  • If any of the company or institution are found liable, still the individual bears the crime who is responsible for it.
  • Money laundering charges will be made on the person who knowingly transferred, hidden or processed money by any of the illegal activities.

Criminal Investigations and Seizure under New Anti-Money Laundering Law

  • Article 5 of law 20/2018: Gives the governor of the Central Bank the right to seize money for 7 days. The Prosecution and Criminal Court will be guaranteed the right to allocate, evaluate and seize the money which were linked to any crime.
  • Prosecution and Criminal Court can impose a travel ban on the owner until the end of investigation. They can restrict the money from the owner from any kind of transactions which leads to breach of any seize order.
  • If the owner needs to object to the seizing order, he or she can raise the grievance to competent court. Once dismissed then an appeal is not possible. But the owner can raise the new grievance after 3 months from the dismissal.
  • If any kind of equipment is included in the money laundering, the court has the right to nominate someone to sell or manage the equipment before the judgement. This is possible in case if there is an urgency in selling the equipment.
  • For investigation, the Prosecution needs to check the audit reports and documents in possession of others. Leading to the access to communication, email or computers for tracing money and monitoring the accounts.


The nature of crimes may be different from one another. There might be some additives such as information, resources, assistance of defendants and so on. As nature varies, the punishments also vary depending on the circumstances. This could be a fine of 5000 dirhams to lifetime jail sentence. The fine may be limited depending upon the defendant’s cooperation. It can be arresting and finding other suspects of the crime. The court has the right in confiscating the crime money even when the death of the defendant occurs. Article 29 of 2018 states the deportation for felony crimes as a mandatory option.


Money laundering poses a great exceptional impact all over the world. The Anti-Money Laundering system in the UAE is a new concept and there is a lot to do with the law. For further knowledge related to Anti-Money laundering and all other UAE laws, you can get free legal consultation in Dubai and can find lawyer UAE through our best service. You can also get online legal advice Dubai by opting us through https://iadvise.live.

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Eva Iris

Author Since:  October 8, 2020

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