Financial crimes can be best understood as criminal activities carried out by an individual or group of people or organizations which seek to achieve economic benefits through illegal methods.
The United Arab Emirates recognizes and punishes various types of financials crimes such as:
• Breach of trust
• Money Laundering
Pursuant to Article 399 of the Federal law No. 3 of 1987 promulgating the penal code and its amendments (‘UAE Penal Code’), fraud is defined as ‘whoever who seizes, for himself or for another, a movable property, or obtains a document or signature thereon, cancellation or destruction thereof or amendment thereto by fraudulent means, or by assuming a false name or capacity, where such an act leads to deception of a victim and leads him to surrender’. Fraud under UAE law is punishable by a sentence of up to three year's imprisonment and /or a fine of a maximum of Aed 30,000.
Breach of Trust
Breach of trust constitutes a financial crime in the UAE, and article 404 of the UAE Penal code criminalize ‘breach of trust’ and states that: ‘Whoever embezzles, uses or wastes funds securities or any other movable property with the intention to prejudice the interest of the due right's owners, if it is delivered to him as a deposit, rent, pledge, loan for use, or proxy, shall be punished by detention or by a fine’. Movable property would include cash, bills, cheques or it’s like. Under the provisions of breach of trust the person entrusted with the said property would be considered as joint owner of the immovable property, and the innocent employer or business partner can file a criminal complaint seeking justice for the breach. The punishment for breach of trust may include a fine of up to Aed 30,000 and imprisonment of up to 3 years. A higher punishment may also be imposed subject to the discretion of the court and the gravity of the offence itself.
A bribe is defined under the UAE laws as anything is given for the benefit of a public or private-sector employee with the intention to gain in return from such employee any act that violates the duties assigned to such employee or causes him to exceed his duties or act in direct breach of his duties. Bribery is punished under the UAE penal code subject to the provisions of articles 234 to 239 of the code. If a bribe is accepted by a public official in return for completing any act which is part of public duty or for abstention from completion any act in breach of his duties, can result in a punishment of imprisonment of even up to 10 years.
Federal Decree-law No. (20) of 2018 on ‘Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organizations, ( 'AML law').
Article 2 of the AML law thus defines a perpetrator of a money-laundering offence as any person who is aware that the money derived from either a felony or misdemeanor and then knowingly proceeds to commit the acts of: i)transferring or moving proceeds or conducting any transaction with the aim of concealing or disguising their illegal source ; ii);concealing or disguising the true nature, source or location of the proceeds as well as the method involving their disposition, movement, ownership of or rights with respect to said proceeds ; iii) acquiring, possessing or using proceeds upon receipt; iv) assisting the perpetrator of the predicate offence to escape punishment.”
The UAE Ministry of Economy has recently announced around twenty-six categories for violations of the laws relating to money laundering and terrorism financing ranging from AED 50,000 to AED 1,000,000.