25 April 2016, Dubai: A new law aimed at combating financial crimes and illegal activities has been issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in his capacity as Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai yesterday. The Law Number 4 of 2016 on Dubai Economic Security Centre (the Law) aims at maintaining the status of Dubai as a financial centre, maintain financial stability, investor protection and curbing negative trends and crimes that would harm and/or jeopardize the economy of Dubai. The scope of this new Law extends to mainland as well as freezones (including the Dubai International Financial Centre). The Law establishes Dubai Economic Security Centre which will have the power to control, supervise and monitor the working and operation of local government bodies, companies licensed to operate in varied sectors such as special development, charity and not-for-profit organizations, and other entities that may be included pursuant to the Law from time to time.

The Law defines the functions and mode of operation of the Economic Security Centre (Centre) and cites specific instances as to applicability of Law in areas of crimes of fraud, bribery, embezzlement, damage to public property, forgery, counterfeiting, money laundering and financing of terrorism or illegal organizations including person involved in such crimes. The Law taks the Centre in proposing and reviewing regulations, preparing publications and reports, statistical data on financial and economic matters, handling and following up the proceedings of crime and to take effective measures in combating criminal activities outlined above.

Importantly, the Law sets out instances where any person informs the Centre on matters involving state security, the divulgence of such information shall not be treated as a violation. Furthermore, any person who provides such information shall not be subject to any discilplinary or legal action unless the information provided is false information. The Law also deals with penalties, criminal prosecution and detention. The Law provides penalties for violators (both - in terms of disclosing any information or data considered as confidential in accordance with the provisions of Law, the violator will be punished by way of detention for a term not less than three (3) months and not more than one (1) year along with a fine of AED 50,000/-. Persons violating the provisions set out in the Law or is in violation of any order or decision passed by the Centre, such person shall be subject to a minimum fine of AED 10,000 and maximum of AED 500,000.