UAE set to be put on money laundering watchdog’s ‘gray list,’ report says

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on July 5, 2021.

Christopher Pike | Bloomberg | Getty Images

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental organization dedicated to combatting money laundering and illicit cash flows, is set to put the United Arab Emirates on its “gray list” over concerns that the Gulf country isn’t sufficiently stemming illegal financial activities.


The news was reported by Bloomberg Thursday, citing three anonymous sources at the Paris-based FATF. The designation could come as soon as Friday.

The watchdog group’s “gray list” is not as severe as its “black list,” which currently includes North Korea and Iran. The former list means that the country is “actively working” with the FATF to deal with weaknesses in its systems to “counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing,” but is under “increased monitoring” as it has not yet taken the necessary steps to fully tackle the problems. Other countries on the gray list include Pakistan, Turkey and Albania.

The UAE is the financial hub of the Middle East, home to numerous international companies’ headquarters, one of the world’s busiest airports, and a roughly 90% expat population. Putting it on the gray list could be one of the most significant decisions the FATF has ever made, Bloomberg wrote.

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