UAE new real estate regulations target money laundering

by Editor

Any purchase or sale of freehold real estate properties that includes one of the three payment methods must now be reported to the UAE Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) by all real estate agents, brokers, and legal firms.

These are the payment options:

  1. One or more cash payments totaling or exceeding AED55,000
  2. Virtual currency payments
  3. Transactions involving payments made with funds produced from virtual assets

The Ministry of Economy (MoE), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), and FIU jointly announced the adoption of new reporting requirements.

It demonstrates how the UAE is adapting its strategy in the worldwide fight against money laundering and terrorist financing and makes the nation one of the first nations to use such a mechanism for real estate transactions using virtual assets.

The MoE, MoJ, FIU, and other agencies including the Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism participated in numerous meetings and discussions that led to the decision (CFT).

“These new measures will increase the quality of financial information accessible to the FIU and will be utilized to trace the suspicious movement of funds or assets as part of our battle against money laundering and terrorism funding,” Ali Faisal Ba’Alawi, head of the UAE FIU, stated.

The criteria, which are significant, “further reinforce the stability and integrity of the UAE’s real estate market and provide greater transparency to all stakeholders in a sector that is a crucial contributor to the UAE’s economy.”

According to Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, the Ministry of Economy and its partners in the local, federal, and private sectors have made adopting the highest standards of transparency and governance, as well as the necessary laws to ensure economic and financial stability while combating business community fraud, a priority.

“The introduction of reporting rules for certain transactions in the real estate sector is another example of how the UAE is coordinating across the government and with the private sector to strengthen the national framework for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism,” continued Abdullah Sultan Bin Awwad Al Nuaimi, Minister of Justice.

The parties to the relevant transaction’s parties’ identification documents must also be obtained and recorded by the agents, brokers, and legal firms. Both private individuals and corporate organisations must abide by the rules.

In regulatory circulators released by the MoE and MoJ, the pertinent private sector entities were informed of the precise requirements. In order to further acquaint these parties with the goAML system of the FIU and to help them navigate the new procedures, the authorities are also working together to hold three separate workshops with them.

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