UAE drafts new law on charitable fundraising to fight money laundering

Legislation is still being developed; details to be announced soon, says senior official

United Arab Emirates Currency - Dirhams. Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image used for illustrative purpose.

United Arab Emirates Currency - Dirhams. Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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The UAE is set to implement a new law that will further regulate fundraising and money donations for charity in the country, according to a senior government official.  

The upcoming legislation, dubbed Fundraising Regulatory Law, will apply to non-government organisations soliciting funds in the country.   

It is part of ongoing efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, according to Nasser Ismail, assistant undersecretary of Social Welfare at the Ministry of Community Development (MOCD).  

“We must refer to a new federal law being formulated by the ministry… which will stipulate a set of conditions and regulations for licensed charitable and humanitarian authorities within the UAE,” Ismail told state news agency WAM.  

He said the MOCD will also announce soon "another series of awareness programmes" about the new law, which is intended to "ensure the safety, security and stability of the community."  

“These measures will support social development and encourage humanitarian giving, based on the values and traditions of Emirati society,” he said.  

Existing regulations 

Fundraising and donating money for charity are already being regulated in the UAE.  

According to existing regulations, anyone can legally contribute funds for humanitarian reasons through registered charitable organisations, while those who want to raise funds can only do so after obtaining the approval from the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments at the national level or Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai. 

However, the government has been ramping up efforts to combat money laundering.  

The OECD had warned in a report that charities are being used for money laundering and tax evasion.  

“There is evidence to suggest that the abuse of charities for tax evasion and money-laundering purposes is organised in many cases, and is not only individualistic,” the report said.  

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria) 

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