UAE central bank sees COVID-19 increasing money-laundering risks By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Excessive-rise towers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates June 18, 2019.REUTERS/Christopher Pike/File Picture


DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates central financial institution sees elevated dangers of illicit monetary flows rising from the COVID-19 pandemic, together with money-laundering and terrorism financing, it mentioned in a report printed on Sunday.

Using unlicensed cash service suppliers for cash laundering has elevated through the coronavirus disaster final 12 months, the report mentioned, in addition to using e-commerce to launder cash.

“Widespread lockdowns have resulted in a big surge in e-commerce. On account of restricted capacity to maneuver funds and items through the pandemic, illicit actors are turning to e-commerce as a cash laundering instrument”, it mentioned.

The variety of so-called “cash mules” – individuals who obtain illicit funds into their financial institution accounts to carry or withdraw and wire elsewhere, taking a fee for his or her companies – elevated, the financial institution mentioned, with accounts within the majority of circumstances belonging to low revenue people from Africa and Asia.

The financial institution recognized fraud dangers linked to the pandemic comparable to firms or people submitting false claims to qualify for presidency stimulus help measures.

“As we proceed to observe and be taught extra in regards to the unfold of COVID-19 in our communities, we have now lately noticed heightened exterior fraud menace, particularly with cyber criminals exploiting each conventional and digital channels, to remotely perpetrate cyber-enabled fraud assaults at scale in a quickly evolving atmosphere”, the financial institution additionally mentioned.

The report comes because the central financial institution steps up efforts to fight illicit monetary flows.

The Monetary Motion Process Pressure, an intergovernmental anti-money laundering monitor, mentioned final 12 months that “elementary and main enhancements” had been wanted to keep away from it putting the UAE on its “gray listing” of nations underneath elevated monitoring.

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