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Offences

Legal definition

How are ‘money laundering’, ‘terrorism financing’ and ‘fraud’ legally defined in your jurisdiction?

Article 2 of Federal Law 9/2014 (Amending Certain Provisions of Federal Law 4/2002 Concerning the Combating of Money Laundering Crimes) (the New AML Law) states that any person who knows that funds are the proceeds of a felony or a misdemeanour, and who wilfully commits any of the following acts, will be considered a perpetrator of the crime of money laundering:

  • transferring, transporting, depositing, safekeeping, investing or transforming the proceeds of a crime or managing the same aiming to conceal or disguise their unlawful source;
  • concealing or disguising the true nature, source or location of the proceeds, as well as the method involving their disposition, movement, ownership of or rights with respect to said proceeds; and
  • acquiring, possessing or using the proceeds.

‘Financing of terrorism’ is defined as:

The provision, collection of funds, or to ensure obtaining or transporting the same by any means, directly or indirectly, to any association, entity, organisation, centre, group, gang or to any person against whom the provisions of Law 7 of 2014 (Combatting Acts of Terrorism) apply.”

‘Fraud’ is not defined as such under UAE law. However, the act is criminalised pursuant to Federal Penal Law 3/1987 as amended (the Penal Code) in the following manner:

Whoever captures for himself or for others transferable money or documents or signing such document or cancelling, damaging or amending it through trickery or using a false name or personality for the purpose of tricking the victim and forcing him to deliver such shall be punished with a jail or a fine.

The same penalty shall be applied to whoever disposes of a building or a moveable that he knows he does not own or that he has no right to dispose of such or who disposes of anything of the same kind with the knowledge that another person has disposed of such or contract on and hence he will harm the other.”  

Principal and secondary offences

What are the principal and secondary offences in relation to money laundering, terrorism financing and fraud?

The principal money laundering offence is described in Article 2 of the New AML Law. As mentioned above, this states that any person who knows that the funds are the proceeds of a felony or a misdemeanour, and who wilfully commits any of the following acts, will be considered a perpetrator of the crime of money laundering:

  • transferring, transporting, depositing, safekeeping, investing or transforming the proceeds of a crime or managing the same aiming to conceal or disguise their unlawful source;
  • concealing or disguising the true nature, source or location of the proceeds, as well as the method involving their disposition, movement, ownership of or rights with respect to said proceeds; and
  • acquiring, possessing or using the proceeds.

In common with many other jurisdictions, the United Arab Emirates also has secondary offences in the form of a failure to disclose and tipping-off offences.

Predicate offences

How are predicate offences defined?

Under the previous regime, the crime of money laundering was confined to dealing with the proceeds of certain crimes specified in the 2002 law (eg, drug dealing, bribery, fraud). Under the New AML Law, the crime of money laundering also includes dealing in the proceeds of any felony or misdemeanour.  

De minimis rules

What de minimis rules apply to money laundering, terrorism financing and fraud offences?

The legislation contains no de minimis provisions, therefore all offences giving rise to proceeds must be reported, even if the amounts involved are trivial.

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