Israel, UAE in joint struggle against money laundering and terror financing

A memorandum of understanding was signed Wednesday between the Justice Ministry's Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority and the UAE's Financial Intelligence Unit

Photos: Ministry of Justice

The Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority, which is part of the Justice Ministry, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Wednesday with the United Arab Emirates’ Financial Intelligence Unit (UAE-FIU). The signing of the MOU will promote the exchange of financial intelligence between the two authorities and strengthen the cooperation between them and the countries to improve the joint struggle against money laundering and terror financing.   

Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority considers cooperation between it and its corresponding authority in the UAE to be of paramount importance. The establishment of relations between Israel and the UAE created tremendous new economic opportunities, and the first MOU signed by the countries was on the topic of cooperation in the banking and finance fields in recognition of the importance that the two countries attribute to this field.   

However, criminal and terrorist financiers may take advantage of the opportunities created as a result of the establishment of economic relations between the two countries to carry out criminal activities, to launder capital from criminal activity or finance terrorism using the financial channels between the countries. The signing of the MOU for cooperation between them will improve the ability of the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority and its corresponding authority in the UAE to work together to identify these risks, cooperate on the intelligence level and thwart money laundering and terrorist financing attempts.

Through this cooperation, the authorities will work to protect the financial systems of Israel and the UAE, their stability and reduce their exploitation for the purpose of financing terrorism and money laundering, which will help realize the financial potential inherent in the peace agreement between the two countries. In addition to the exchange of intelligence information, the cooperation between the authorities is expected to include professional assistance and mutual knowledge sharing. 

Acting Israeli Minister of Justice Benny Gantz said, "I welcome the signing of the agreement this morning. The war on terrorism financing and money laundering is important and essential for Israel’s strong economy and security. The cooperation between Israel and the United Arab Emirates will enable us to maintain strong, stable and secure trade and economic ties."

The head of the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority, Dr. Shlomit Wagman-Ratner, said during the signing ceremony that the creation of cooperation, the exchange of financial intelligence and knowledge sharing between the authority and its colleagues in the UAE is a historic step. The move, she said, will promote joint action to protect the financial systems of the countries and reduce their exploitation for money laundering and terror financing, thus enabling the maximum financial potential of the peace agreement between the two countries to be realized. She also expressed gratitude to the authority's staff for its important professional work for the establishment of relations. 

During the ceremony, the head of the UAE Financial Intelligence Unit, Dr. Waleed Hassan Alhosani, quoted Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE, who stated during the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords between the State of Israel and the UAE that "we came today to tell the world that this is our approach and that peace is the guiding principle."

“From this point of view,” Alhosani added, “we have decided to strengthen relations and strengthen the principles of peace, stability and security” by signing the MoU that will strengthen the relations between the UAE-FIU and the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority, and “strengthen the frameworks for cooperation in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.”

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