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Imposition of fines on UBO violators to start on July 8

UBO 2021-07-15

Imposition of fines up to Dh100,000 and other penalties for non-compliance with the “ultimate beneficiary owner (UBO) procedures” will begin from July 8, the Ministry of Economy (MoE), warned on Monday.

The MoE, in cooperation with the concerned licensing authorities in the country, announced that it has already begun implementing the first phase of administrative penalties, including written warnings to non-compliant establishments from July 1, 2021.

The ministry said the implementation of the second phase of administrative penalties on establishments that fail to adopt the necessary measures to correct their status during this period will start on Thursday. In this phase, fines stipulated by Cabinet Resolution No.53 of 2021 will be imposed on non-compliant establishments.

In a statement, the MoE confirmed that the submission of ultimate beneficial owner data by licensed and registered establishments in the country to the licensing authorities is an obligatory legal requirement and that non-compliance in this regard will lead to the imposition of administrative penalties stipulated in Cabinet Resolution No. (53) of 2021.

“The penalties begin with the issuance of a written warning and if the non-compliance by an establishment continues, including but not limited to, a fine of Dh100,000, as well as additional administrative penalties such as the suspension of the license for a year or restrictions on the powers of the board of directors. Establishments can appeal against the punitive measures within the specified legal period of 30 days from the date of notification of the violation, in accordance with the decision,” said the statement.

The ministry explained that the detection of violations will be carried out through a desk inspection, which is the examination of an establishment’s records with the licensing authority to ascertain the extent of its commitment to providing the required ultimate beneficial owner data.

“If a violation is found during this examination, administrative penalties will be imposed, starting with the issuance of a written warning in the first stage. Apart from that, field inspections will also be conducted to detect violations, during which, visits will be conducted to offices of the establishments within the framework of the inspection campaigns of the relevant authorities,” the MoE said.

All establishments that have not yet adopted the required ultimate beneficial owner procedures should immediately prepare ultimate beneficial owner data and maintain it within their records in order to avoid violations, the MOE said.

The statement urged establishments’ cooperation with the relevant government entities in supporting the strengthening of the anti-money laundering systems, combating the financing of terrorism and the financing of illegal organisations, and strengthening the overall systems of governance, disclosure and transparency in the business environment.

“These measures enhance confidence in the national economy and support the country’s efforts in providing a safe and stable environment for businesses and investments,” it said.

The ultimate beneficial owner procedures include the creation of a record of the ultimate beneficial owner data and maintaining it within the establishment; verification of the accuracy and validity of the data and updating it on an ongoing basis; and submission of the real beneficiary owner data to the licensing authorities through the designated channels.

In the event of any changes to the ultimate beneficial owner data of an establishment, the establishment is required to notify the relevant licensing authority within 15 days about the changes in order to avoid the administrative penalties resulting from that. “The establishments shall also appoint a person residing in the country with whom the licensing authority can communicate with, in relation to the establishment’s basic information, ultimate beneficial owner data and other information,” the MOE said.

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