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FATF Removes Four Jurisdictions, Including UAE, From Its Compliance "Grey List"

Editorial Staff

27 February 2024

The inter-governmental body setting standards in the fight against money laundering and terrorism finance has removed the United Arab Emirates from its “grey list” of jurisdictions subject to increased monitoring.

The move by the (FATF) – under Singapore’s presidency – and announced late last week, also included Barbados, Gibraltar, and Uganda. They are also removed from the FATF’s list.

The FATF said it congratulated Barbados, Gibraltar, Uganda, and the UAE for their “significant progress” in addressing the strategic AML/CFT deficiencies previously identified. “These jurisdictions had committed to implement an action plan to resolve swiftly the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes. These countries will no longer be subject to the FATF’s increased monitoring process.”

The actions also suggest that the UAE’s actions to tighten screws on Russian companies – the jurisdiction does not yet operate sanctions against Moscow – have played a part in swaying the FATF’s mind on the Middle East financial hub. In November 2023, Russian firms based in the UAE were reported to be coming under greater scrutiny from local banks (Bloomberg, 23 November 2023). 

Separately, the FATF began a public consultation on potential changes to its recommendation on wire transfer information and adopted new guidance on trusts. The FATF also noted its concern ove Russian’s “growing financial connectivity with North Korea and Iran.”

“At a moment when the United States is advancing historic initiatives to safeguard the US financial system, we commend the FATF’s vital work to strengthen global standards relating to combatting illicit finance,” Secretary of the US Treasury, Janet Yellen, said in a statement on Friday.

The presence by a jurisdiction on the FATF grey list casts a shadow over countries, even though in the case of the UAE, for example, it has thrived in recent years. With reputations on the line, being removed from the list is an achievement that such jurisdictions – and firms operating in them – like to broadcast.

The following countries have had their progress reviewed by the FATF since October 2023: Barbados, Bulgaria; Burkina Faso, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gibraltar, Jamaica, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, the Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Türkiye, the UAE, and Uganda. Cameroon, Haiti, Syria, Vietnam, and Yemen chose to defer reporting. The FATF now also identifies Kenya and Namibia.

This news service has contacted the Dubai International Financial Centre for comment, and may update in due course.