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UAE money laundering watchdog aims to crack down on crypto-based real estate exploitation
KYC news

UAE money laundering watchdog aims to crack down on crypto-based real estate exploitation

The latest development in the country’s relationship with crypto assets recently emerged when major real estate developers in the country announced that they would start accepting payments in bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH).

August 22nd, 2022

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A key center of FinTech innovation, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to a growing number of crypto exchanges and platforms. As a result, the country’s two largest cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, have emerged as hubs for crypto asset technology.  

The latest development in the country’s relationship with crypto assets recently emerged when major real estate developers in the country announced that they would start accepting payments in bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH).

However, in August 2022, the government of the UAE announced that estate agents who accept crypto as payment must alert money laundering authorities of any property sales paid for entirely or in part with cryptocurrency.

As part of the announcement, UAE Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri said that the new rules will leave “little or no room for manipulation or illegal practices that could negatively impact the work environment and the economy and investment” in the real estate and legal sectors.

What do the new rules mean?

The new rules will apply to brokers, agents, and law firms. All of these entities will be required to file reports to the Financial Intelligence Unit, which is responsible for tracking illicit funds in the country. 

Rules will also apply when buyers attempt to pay in cash worth over AED 55,000 (around $15,000). The government did not specify any threshold for virtual assets, implying that even the smallest bitcoin transactions will need to be reported. 

The move comes as global anti-money laundering standard-setter the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is attempting to clamp down on using crypto to launder the proceeds of crime or fund terrorism, including via the so-called ‘travel rule’, which is widely seen as a controversial way of identifying and tracking payers.

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Around the world, countries and regulators alike are continually shifting their attitudes towards crypto. As a result, wallet providers and crypto exchanges must take steps to comply with ever-changing regulatory requirements.

Thankfully, our crypto solutions can help you fight fraud, prevent friction, and reassure your customers. Our selfie-based identity verification platform makes investing in crypto safe and easy. It also allows you to maximize conversions, reduce fraud losses, and achieve global compliance.

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