Blanqueig de capitals o Hawala als Emirats Àrabs Units, Lleis i càstigs

How are Hawala and Money Laundering defined under UAE Laws?

According to the UAE’s legal and regulatory framework, Hawala and Money Laundering are defined as follows:

Hawala: The UAE Central Bank defines Hawala as an informal money transfer system that operates outside of conventional banking channels. It involves the transfer of funds from one location to another through service providers known as “hawaladars” without any physical movement of currency.

Money Laundering: Money Laundering is a criminal offense under UAE Federal Law No. 20 of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism. It is defined as the process of concealing or disguising the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement, or ownership of funds or assets derived from illegal activities.

Els exemples més comuns inclouen: structuring/smurfing, shell companies, real estate transactions, trade-based laundering, casino operations, cryptocurrency transactions, bulk cash smuggling, and misusing Hawala networks.

The UAE takes a strong stance against these activities, and the legal consequences for individuals or entities involved in Hawala or Money Laundering can be severe. It is crucial to comply with the UAE’s anti-money laundering regulations and conduct financial transactions through legitimate and authorized channels.

When is Hawala Legal or Illegal in the UAE?

Hawala, the informal money transfer system, is not inherently illegal in the UAE. However, it is an unregulated and informal channel, which can potentially be exploited for illicit activities, including money laundering and financing of terrorism. The legality of Hawala transactions in the UAE depends on the source of funds and the intended purpose.

If Hawala is used to transfer funds derived from legal sources and for legitimate purposes, it may be considered legal. However, if it is utilized to transfer funds obtained through illegal means or for unlawful activities, such as money laundering, terrorism financing, or tax evasion, it becomes illegal under UAE laws. Authorities closely monitor Hawala networks to ensure compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulations.

It’s important to note that while Hawala itself is not illegal, the UAE has strict regulations in place to combat the misuse of informal money transfer systems for illicit purposes. Individuals and businesses are advised to exercise caution and conduct financial transactions through licensed and regulated channels to avoid potential legal consequences.

Types of Money Laundering cases in the UAE

The UAE has witnessed various types of money laundering cases involving individuals and entities engaged in illicit activities. Here are some common types of money laundering cases observed in the UAE:

  1. Real Estate-Related Money Laundering: This involves the purchase and sale of properties using funds derived from illegal sources, such as drug trafficking, fraud, or corruption.
  2. Trade-Based Money Laundering: This type of laundering involves the misrepresentation of the price, quantity, or quality of goods in import/export transactions to move illicit funds across borders.
  3. Bulk Cash Smuggling: This involves the physical transportation of large amounts of cash across borders, often concealed in vehicles, luggage, or other means, to evade reporting requirements and disguise the source of funds.
  4. Shell Company-based Money Laundering: In this type of case, individuals or organizations establish fake or shell companies to disguise the true ownership and source of funds, and provide a legitimate-appearing cover for illicit transactions.
  5. Misuse of Informal Value Transfer Systems (IVTS) like Hawala: Certain cases involve the exploitation of informal money transfer systems like Hawala to move illicit funds globally, taking advantage of the lack of a traditional financial trail.
  6. Cryptocurrency-based Money Laundering: With the increasing use of cryptocurrencies, some cases involve the use of digital assets to conceal the movement and origin of illegal funds, exploiting the anonymity and decentralized nature of these transactions.
  7. Laundering through Casinos and Gaming Establishments: In some instances, casinos and gaming establishments have been used to exchange large amounts of cash for chips or other monetary instruments, effectively disguising the source of the funds.

It’s worth noting that money laundering schemes can be complex and evolve over time, often involving a combination of different methods and channels. Effective anti-money laundering measures, robust regulatory frameworks, and international cooperation are crucial in combating these criminal activities in the UAE.

What is the Anti Money Laundering Law in UAE?

The Anti-Money Laundering Law in the UAE is governed by Federal Law No. 20 of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism. This comprehensive law defines and criminalizes money laundering activities, outlines strict measures to combat terrorism financing, and establishes a robust regulatory framework.

The key aspects of the Anti-Money Laundering Law in the UAE include:

  1. Definition of Money Laundering: Clearly defines money laundering as concealing or disguising funds derived from illegal activities.
  2. Obligacions d’informar: Requires financial institutions and businesses to implement AML/CFT measures, including customer due diligence, transaction monitoring, and reporting suspicious activities.
  3. Penes i sancions: Imposes severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment, for non-compliance.
  4. Competent Authorities: Mandates the establishment of authorities like the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to oversee AML/CFT efforts.
  5. cooperació Internacional: Facilitates cooperation and information sharing with other countries in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.

What are the Maximum Penalties for Money Laundering Convictions in the UAE?

The UAE’s Anti-Money Laundering Law imposes severe penalties for individuals and entities convicted of money laundering offenses. The maximum penalties for money laundering convictions in the UAE are as follows:

  1. Empresonament:
    • For individuals: Up to 10 years in prison.
    • For managers or representatives of legal entities: Up to 15 years in prison.
  2. Multes:
    • For individuals: A fine not exceeding AED 5 million (approximately $1.36 million).
    • For legal entities: A fine not exceeding AED 50 million (approximately $13.6 million).

In addition to these penalties, the convicted individuals or entities may also face:

  • Confiscation of funds, properties, or instrumentalities related to the money laundering offense.
  • Dissolution or temporary or permanent closure of the legal entity involved in the offense.
  • Publication of the court’s judgment in two local daily newspapers at the expense of the convicted party.

It’s important to note that these penalties represent the maximum punishments prescribed by the law. The actual sentence may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the severity of the offense, and other mitigating or aggravating factors.

The UAE takes a strict stance against money laundering activities, and these severe penalties reflect the country’s commitment to deterring and combating financial crimes within its jurisdiction.

Are there any Special Provisions for Money Laundering linked to Organized Crime or Terrorism Financing?

Yes, the UAE’s Anti-Money Laundering Law includes special provisions for money laundering offenses linked to organized crime or terrorism financing:

  1. Harsher Penalties for Organized Crime: If a money laundering offense is committed within the framework of an organized criminal group, the maximum imprisonment penalty shall be increased by a specified proportion.
  2. Criminalizing Terrorism Financing: The law criminalizes the financing of terrorism and terrorist organizations. Any person who willfully collects, transfers, or provides funds or property with the intention of using them for terrorist activities can face lengthy imprisonment and substantial fines.
  3. Cooperació internacional: The law facilitates international cooperation and information sharing with other countries and jurisdictions in combating money laundering, organized crime, and terrorism financing. This includes provisions for extradition and mutual legal assistance.
  4. Targeted Financial Sanctions: The UAE has implemented targeted financial sanctions against individuals and entities designated by the United Nations Security Council or other relevant international organizations as being involved in terrorism financing or associated with terrorist organizations.

These special provisions underscore the UAE’s commitment to combating the financing of terrorism and organized crime, which pose significant threats to national and global security. The severe penalties and enhanced international cooperation measures aim to disrupt and dismantle these illegal activities and their financial networks.

Key AML Compliance Requirements for Businesses in UAE

The UAE’s Anti-Money Laundering Law imposes several compliance requirements on businesses operating within the country. Here are the key AML compliance requirements for businesses in the UAE:

  1. registre: Mandatory registration with goAML portal for FIs and DNFBPs.
  2. Oficial de compliment AML: Appoint a dedicated officer to oversee AML program.
  3. AML Program: Establish comprehensive policies and procedures for KYC, transaction monitoring, risk management, and reporting.
  4. Enfocament basat en el risc: Tailor AML program to business size, nature, and inherent risks.
  5. Diligència deguda del client (CDD): Conduct thorough KYC checks, including identity verification and beneficial ownership identification.
  6. Diligència deguda millorada (EDD): Apply additional measures for higher-risk customers like PEPs.
  7. Seguiment de transaccions: Monitor transactions for suspicious activities.
  8. Suspicious Activity Reporting: Report suspicious transactions to Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
  9. El manteniment de registres: Maintain customer and transaction records for at least 5 years.
  10. Formació dels empleats: Provide regular AML/CFT training to employees.
  11. Auditoria Independent: Conduct regular audits of AML/CFT program.
  12. Col·laboració amb les autoritats: Cooperate with authorities and provide required information.

Failure to comply with these requirements can result in severe penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and potential revocation of licenses or business closure. Businesses operating in the UAE must prioritize AML compliance to mitigate risks and maintain the integrity of the financial system.

Què són les banderes vermelles a AML?

Les banderes vermelles es refereixen a indicadors inusuals que indiquen una activitat potencialment il·legal que requereix una investigació addicional. Les banderes vermelles comunes d'AML es relacionen amb:

Comportament sospitós del client

  • Secret sobre la identitat o falta de voluntat de proporcionar informació
  • Reticència a proporcionar detalls sobre la naturalesa i la finalitat del negoci
  • Canvis freqüents i inexplicables en la informació identificativa
  • Intents sospitosos per evitar els requisits d'informe

Transaccions d'alt risc

  • Pagaments en efectiu significatius sense un origen clar dels fons
  • Transaccions amb entitats en jurisdiccions d'alt risc
  • Estructures d'acords complexes que emmascaren la propietat efectiva
  • Mida o freqüència anormal per al perfil del client

Circumstàncies inusuals

  • Transaccions que no tenen una explicació raonable/racionalitat econòmica
  • Incoherències amb les activitats habituals del client
  • Desconeixement dels detalls de les transaccions realitzades en nom propi

Banderes vermelles en el context dels Emirats Àrabs Units

Els Emirats Àrabs Units s'enfronten a específiques riscos de blanqueig de capitals d'alta circulació d'efectiu, comerç d'or, transaccions immobiliàries, etc. Algunes banderes vermelles clau inclouen:

Transaccions en efectiu

  • Dipòsits, canvis o retirades superiors a 55,000 AED
  • Diverses transaccions per sota del llindar per evitar informes
  • Compres d'instruments d'efectiu com xecs de viatge sense plans de viatge
  • Sospita d'implicació en falsificació als Emirats Àrabs Units

Finances comercials

  • Clients que mostren una preocupació mínima sobre pagaments, comissions, documents comercials, etc.
  • Informes falsos de detalls de mercaderies i rutes d'enviament
  • Discrepàncies importants en quantitats o valors d'importació/exportació

béns arrels

  • Vendes totalment en efectiu, especialment mitjançant transferències bancàries de bancs estrangers
  • Transaccions amb persones jurídiques la propietat de les quals no es pot verificar
  • Preus de compra incompatibles amb els informes de valoració
  • Compres i vendes concurrents entre entitats vinculades


  • Compres freqüents en efectiu d'articles d'alt valor per a la revenda suposada
  • Reticència a aportar la prova de l'origen dels fons
  • Compres/vendes sense marges de benefici malgrat la condició de distribuïdor

Formació de l'empresa

  • Persona d'un país d'alt risc que busca establir ràpidament una empresa local
  • Confusió o reticència a discutir detalls de les activitats planificades
  • Sol·licituds per ajudar a ocultar estructures de propietat

Accions en resposta a les banderes vermelles

Les empreses haurien de prendre mesures raonables en detectar possibles banderes vermelles d'AML:

Diligència deguda millorada (EDD)

Recolliu més informació sobre el client, la font de fons, la naturalesa de les activitats, etc. Es pot exigir una prova d'identificació addicional malgrat l'acceptació inicial.

Revisió per part del responsable de compliment

L'oficial de compliment AML de l'empresa ha d'avaluar la raonabilitat de la situació i determinar les accions adequades.

Informes de transaccions sospitoses (STR)

Si l'activitat sembla sospitosa malgrat l'EDD, envieu una STR a la FIU en un termini de 30 dies. Els STR són necessaris independentment del valor de la transacció si es sospita de manera conscient o raonable de blanqueig de diners. S'apliquen sancions per no denunciar.

Accions Basades en Risc

En funció dels casos específics, es poden considerar mesures com ara un seguiment millorat, restringir l'activitat o sortir de les relacions. No obstant això, es prohibeix legalment avisar els subjectes sobre la presentació de ROS.

Importància del seguiment continu

Amb l'evolució de les tècniques de blanqueig de capitals i de finançament del terrorisme, el seguiment i la vigilància permanents de les transaccions són crucials.

Passos com:

  • Revisió de nous serveis/productes per detectar vulnerabilitats
  • Actualització de les classificacions de risc dels clients
  • Avaluació periòdica dels sistemes de seguiment d'activitats sospitoses
  • Anàlisi de transaccions amb perfils de clients
  • Comparació d'activitats amb línies de referència de companys o de la indústria
  • Seguiment automatitzat de llistes de sancions i PEP

Enable identificació proactiva de banderes vermelles abans que els problemes es multipliquin.


Entendre els indicadors d'activitats potencials il·lícites és vital Compliment AML als Emirats Àrabs Units. Les banderes vermelles relacionades amb el comportament inusual dels clients, els patrons de transaccions sospitosos, la mida de les transaccions incompatibles amb els nivells d'ingressos i altres signes enumerats aquí haurien de justificar una investigació més profunda.

Si bé els casos específics determinen les accions adequades, descartar les preocupacions de manera directa pot tenir conseqüències greus. A més de les repercussions financeres i reputacionals, les severes regulacions AML dels Emirats Àrabs Units imposen responsabilitat civil i penal per incompliment.

Per tant, és essencial que les empreses implementin controls adequats i assegurin que el personal estigui format per reconèixer i respondre adequadament als indicadors de bandera vermella en AML.

About The Autor

1 thought on “Money Laundering or Hawala in UAE, Laws & Punishments”

  1. Avatar per a Colleen

    El meu marit ha estat detingut a l'aeroport de Dubai dient que és un blanqueig de diners que viatjava amb una gran quantitat de diners que va treure d'un banc del Regne Unit que va intentar enviar-me, però els sistemes en què es trobava al banc i no podia fer això i tots els diners que té són amb ell.
    La seva filla acaba de tenir una operació de cervell i li donaran l'alta de l'hospital del Regne Unit i no tindrà on anar on té 13 anys.
    L’oficial a l’aeroport diu que ha de pagar 5000 dòlars, però els agents s’han endut tots els seus diners.
    Si us plau, el meu marit és un bon home de família honesta que vol tornar a casa i portar la seva filla aquí a Sud-àfrica
    Què fem ara una mica si els consells us ajudaran
    Colleen Lawson


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