News / / 02.23.24

UAE Removed from FATF Grey List, Despite Evidence of Role in Illicit Arms and Gold Trade

UAE Removed from FATF Grey List, Despite Evidence of Role in Illicit Arms and Gold Trade

February 23, 2024 (Paris) – The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) today announced the removal of the United Arab Emirates from its grey list, releasing the UAE from FATF’s increased monitoring process. FATF sets international standards to ensure national authorities can effectively go after illicit funds linked to drugs trafficking, the illicit arms trade, cyber fraud, and other serious crimes.

Anrike Visser, Senior Advisor on Illicit Finance Policy to The Sentry, said: “Today the Financial Action Task Force fully welcomes the UAE back into the international financial system and removes the need for enhanced scrutiny on transactions stemming from the Emirates. At the same time, evidence indicates the ongoing role of the UAE in facilitating the illicit arms and gold trade fuelling the war in Sudan.

Only a month ago, a United Nations Panel of Experts report was leaked citing “credible” evidence the UAE was supplying arms to the warring parties in Sudan, despite a 2005 UN arms embargo. It details how gold linked to the Rapid Support Forces, accused of committing war crimes in Sudan together with the Sudanese Armed Forces, has continued to flow to Dubai, even since the war broke out. Half of the gold mined in Sudan is smuggled out of the country. The report clearly shows a Dubai-based financial advisor and former official of the Sudanese Central Bank helping manage the RSF’s international network of proxy companies.

The FATF Standards are supposed to counter money laundering associated with crimes, including the illicit arms trade and smuggling. While the UAE significantly improved its AML/CFT framework on paper since being greylisted, these recent and blatant transgressions raise questions about its effectiveness in practice. The timing of the UN report undermines the credibility of the FATF process and highlights the ongoing suffering of the people of Sudan, who face the consequences of the UAE’s actions every day.”


Read the FATF announcement:


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The Sentry is an investigative and policy organization that seeks to disable multinational predatory networks that benefit from violent conflict, repression, and kleptocracy. Pull back the curtain on wars, mass atrocities, and other human rights abuses, and you’ll find grand corruption and unchecked greed. These tragedies persist because the perpetrators rarely face meaningful consequences. The Sentry aims to alter the warped incentive structures that continually undermine peace and good governance. Our investigations follow the money as it is laundered from war zones to financial centers around the world. We provide evidence and strategies for governments, banks, and law enforcement to hold the perpetrators and enablers of violence and corruption to account. These efforts provide new leverage for human rights, peace, and anti-corruption efforts. Learn more: