Anti-Money Laundering

Last Updated on 3 months by newseditor

The United Arab Emirates is taking proactive measures to mitigate the dangers posed by unlicensed suppliers of virtual asset services within the dynamic domain of virtual asset transactions. 

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates has taken a major step towards combating unlicensed Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) through the National Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organizations Committee (NAMLCFTC) by issuing extensive guidelines. This cooperative guideline emphasizes a risk-based strategy toward virtual assets and unlicensed providers, which is in line with the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) revised framework. The UAE’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation mandates the country’s commitment to combating money laundering, terrorist financing, proliferation financing, and the laundering of illegal proceeds within its borders.

The NAMLCFTC stresses that unlicensed VASPs operating in the United Arab Emirates can face civil and criminal consequences, which might include fines levied against the VASP organization, its owners, and top officials.

In addition, businesses that engage in willful ignorance while dealing with unregistered VASPs and do not have strong anti-money laundering (AML), counterterrorism funding, and counterproliferation financing procedures may also face fines.

The timely introduction of this guideline corresponds with the increasing availability of virtual assets via digital channels. As the UAE’s digital economy grows, efforts to prevent various financial crimes are stepping up.

These guidelines represent a cooperative effort between the NAMLCFTC and several regulatory bodies in the United Arab Emirates, such as the Securities and Commodities Authority, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Economy, the Dubai Financial Services Authority, and the Abu Dhabi Global Market. These monitoring organizations recognize the variety of creative tactics that suspicious firms use to carry out fraudulent operations.

Unlicensed VASPs Red Flags 

The Supervisory Authorities, a group of regulatory authorities, have discovered a number of red flags associated with unauthorized VASPs doing business in the United Arab Emirates. These red flags include:

  • Lack of Regulatory License: Unlicensed VASPs can portray themselves as licensed organizations and often operate without formal permission from UAE Supervisory Authorities.
  • Absence of Physical Presence: Unlicensed VASPs may not maintain a registered office or a legitimate company location due to their lack of physical presence in the UAE.
  • Ponzi Schemes: Investors have to be careful when confronted with impractical assurances or Ponzi schemes, in which VASPs make extravagant assertions of exceptionally elevated yields or certain earnings with little risk.
  • Substandard Website and Communications: Unprofessional communications and low-quality websites are warning signs of possible fraud.
  • Urgency to Invest: Scammers regularly use high-pressure methods to get people to make quick financial choices.
  • Unlicensed Products: The Supervisory Authorities only permit licensed VASPs to provide certain financial services relating to virtual assets.
  • Consumer Protection: Unlicensed VASPs give rise to issues about inadequate consumer protection, including the absence of insurance coverage, protections for client funds, and dispute resolution methods.
  • Social Engineering: Social engineering attacks are quite dangerous, especially phishing efforts that use fraudulent emails or websites that seem like trustworthy cryptocurrency exchanges or wallets.


The integrity of the virtual asset ecosystem in the United Arab Emirates is largely dependent on the responsible and conscientious participation of stakeholders, especially investors and financial institutions. Paying attention to the warning indications associated with unlicensed VASPs and reporting any suspicious activity quickly is essential to advancing the UAE’s commitment to responsible innovation and upholding the highest standards in financial integrity and national security. Cooperative efforts between regulatory agencies, supervisory authorities, and whistleblowers are ensuring the financial system’s security, transparency, and compliance. 

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