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UAEFIU hosts inaugural meeting of UAE - UK “Combined Anti Money Laundering Operational Team”

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19 January 2024

UAEFIU hosts inaugural meeting of UAE - UK “Combined Anti Money Laundering Operational Team”

Abu Dhabi (19 January 2024): The UAE Financial Intelligence Unit (UAEFIU) hosted a delegation from the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency in Abu Dhabi from 15 to 18 January 2024, as part of the UAE-UK Partnership to Tackle Illicit Financial Flows between the countries.

The Partnership, established in September 2021, represents a strategic collaboration between two prominent global financial centres. Co-chaired by His Excellency Ahmed Al Sayegh, UAE’s Minister of State and the UK’s Home Secretary who was formally Dame Priti Patel, this partnership is dedicated to sharing expertise and improving joint practices to counter financial crime. Since its launch, the Partnership has strengthened cooperation between the UAE and United Kingdom, leading directly to this new approach to operational cooperation, showcasing a strong commitment to jointly address illicit financial flows.

The visit saw participation from the UK delegation, which included representatives from the National Crime Agency (NCA), including from National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) and NCA operational teams, as well as officials from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security.

The visit was the inaugural meeting of the Combined Anti-Money Laundering Operational Team, where operational and tactical matters focused on high-value targets (International Controller Networks) with nexus in both countries.

In addition, discussions were also held with certain representatives from the private sector to explore a proposal for a cross-jurisdictional Public-Private Partnership information exchange.

Ali Faisal Ba’Alawi, Chief of the UAE Financial Intelligence Unit, said: “We welcome the strengthening of cooperation and the exchange of information and expertise with our regional and international partners. This collective effort is crucial in confronting money laundering, combating terrorism financing, and ensuring the protection and integrity of both local and global financial systems. The meeting sets a solid foundation for enhanced cooperation with our UK partners in all aspects of preventing financial crimes.”

Adrian Searle, Director of the UK’s National Economic Crime Centre, said: “International cooperation is key to tackling the global nature of illicit finance, and this new joint operational effort is a welcome step forward in our work with UAE counterparts. I’d like to thank colleagues in the UAEFIU for hosting this initiative and look forward to seeing the consequent impact on the criminal activity of those who are exploiting our financial systems.”