The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has introduced new Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) reporting requirements for real estate transactions settled with digital assets. The directive stipulates that real estate brokers and law firms are to report all property transactions that involve any amount of digital assets.
The directive was jointly issued by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Ministry of Economy (MoE) in partnership with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The reports are to be made to the FIU and apply to both corporations and individuals.
The rule stipulates that transactions made in cash equal to or above AED 55,000 (about $15,000) and other funds derived from digital assets must also be reported to the government.
In the press release published by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC), the government stated that the rules are targeted at clamping down on money laundering and terrorism financing. UAE Minister of Justice Abdullah Sultan Bin Awwad Al Nuaimi noted that the rule would tackle the “known and emerging risks” in the region.
The head of the FUI, Ali Faisal Ba’Alawi, and the minister of economy Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri also echoed the same sentiments.
“These new measures will improve the quality of financial intelligence available to the FIU and will be used to trace the suspicious movement of funds or investments as part of our fight against money laundering and terrorism financing,” Ba’Alawi said.
UAE building its status as a digital asset and web 3.0 hub
The rule is coming on the back of an increasing number of real estate firms beginning to accept digital asset payments in the region. One such firm is the luxury property developer DAMAC.
According to a Bloomberg report, the UAE’s digital assets market has also been attracting citizens of sanctioned countries such as Iran and Russia. The UAE’s lack of sanctions on these countries has also put it on the Financial Actions Task Force (FATF) radar.
Meanwhile, the UAE has continued to pursue its goal of becoming a global digital assets hub. The government has established digital assets regulations and set up the Virtual Assets Regulatory Agency (VARA) to enforce the rule.
In a recent move, the Dubai government also announced a “Metaverse Strategy” that it intends to follow to become one of the top 10 metaverse economies in the world and create 40,000 jobs in the virtual space.
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