UAE's AML/CTF Executive Office hosts FATF training workshop in Abu Dhabi

The UAE's Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (EO AML/CTF) hosted a joint Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and MENAFATF workshop on FATF standards, delivered by the FATF Training Institute.

The FATF Standards Training Course was held over a full week in Abu Dhabi with 28 participants from among the MENAFATF’s 21 countries, representing the UAE, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan and Morocco.

Commenting on event, Hamid AlZaabi, Director-General of the EO AML/CTF, drew attention to the critical role of training and building capacities in ensuring the effective implementation of FATF standards. He explained, “Financial crime is global in nature today, which means that to be successful in combatting it requires not only international cooperation but deep understanding of standards that prevents criminals from finding opportunities in the gaps between national AML/CFT systems.

“The most important global set of standards are the FATF 40 Recommendations for technical compliance and 11 Immediate Outcomes (IOs) for effectiveness ratings and professionals working for national AML/CFT organisations must have a high level of familiarisation with them.”

He added, "For this reason, I am delighted that the UAE is hosting this important FATF/MENAFATF workshop and would like to thank the expert trainers from the FATF Training Institute for being generous with their sharing of knowledge and best practices.

"In the UAE, we have successfully increased the number of Emiratis FATF-certified assessors five times in the last three years, which demonstrates our commitment to enhancing our national capabilities according to our wise leadership vision. The development of our human capital is among the Executive Office of AML/CTF priorities. I would like to thank our partners in FATF Training Institute and MENAFATF Secretariat."

Suliman Al Jabrin, Executive Secretary of MENAFATF, added that knowledge exchange is an important feature of the regional body’s mission. He remarked, “The FATF Standards Training Course is a key date in the MENAFATF calendar because it brings together expert trainers with professionals from our member states with the shared goal of increasing compliance with the FATF standards. Over the years, the MENA region has made significant progress in detecting and preventing money laundering and the financing of terrorism and there is no doubt that capacity building has been a major reason for this. I would like to thank the team from the FATF Training Institute for their efforts this week”.

Joëll Godard, Head of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Training Institute, delivered the welcome remarks and emphasised the importance of ongoing compliance. He commented, “Our focus on providing training on the FATF Standards to MENAFATF member states complements the FATF's goal of promoting worldwide collaboration in combating financial crimes. This includes the MENA region, where it's imperative to establish a network of proficient local professionals within Middle Eastern jurisdictions. This ensures a continual improvement in compliance with FATF standards”.

The FATF Standards Training Course provided an overview of the FATF and the FATF standards, before featuring sessions on each of the 11 Immediate Outcomes (IOs).

The sessions included: Risk in context and understanding risk (IO1); Domestic coordination and information sharing (IO1); International cooperation (IO2); Preventative measures (IO3 and IO4); Risk-based supervision for Financial Institutions and Designated Non-Financial Professions and Businesses (IO3 and IO4); Beneficial Ownership (IO5); Financial Intelligence (IO6); Money Laundering Investigations (IO7); Asset Confiscation (IO8); Terrorism Financing investigations and prosecutions (IO9); Terrorism Financing and Non-Profit Organisations (IO10); Targeted Financial Sanctions Terrorism Financing (IO10); and Targeted Financial Sanctions Proliferation Financing (IO11).

Participants also took part in various interactive exercises requiring the application of the standards covered during the sessions to assess real-world scenarios. It was conducted to measure the understanding of participants and how to apply technical compliance and effectiveness concepts in real life using a tailored case study. The agenda concluded with a presentation by the MENAFATF secretariat and the presentation of certificates.