The economy ministry in the UAE has reminded companies to register for the country’s anti-money laundering system before a 31 March deadline.

Failure to sign up to the Financial Intelligence Unit (goAML) and the Committee for Commodities Subject to Import and Export Control system may lead to penalties including revocation of licences and closure.

The registration drive is aimed at Designated Non Financial Businesses & Professions (DNFBPs), particularly real estate agents, gold dealers, auditors and company service providers.

The system is part of wider efforts by the United Arab Emirates to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism after the international Financial Action Task Force last year called for action by UAE authorities.

In a statement, the economy ministry said: “The United Arab Emirates is fully committed to confronting money laundering and combating terrorist financing, detecting and deterring them in accordance with legislation.”

A system has been established to oversee, control and collect information on all practices which may lead to financial crimes and respond to them.

The ministry argues money laundering leads to economic recession and an increase in crime and corruption, is a threat to economic stability and weakens financial institutions.

“The UAE must be viewed as a country in which criminals cannot carry out money laundering and terrorist financing operations, or even use it as a transit route to transfer proceeds resulting from any criminal activity,” the ministry said.

A critical Mutual Evaluation Report last year from the FATF warned UAE it must take urgent action to stop the criminal financial flows that it attracts. It criticised the country’s lack of money laundering prosecutions, questioned its use of sanctions,its supervision of Designated Non Financial Businesses & Professions (DNFBPs) and the effectiveness of its international co-operation efforts. UAE has since carried out several high-profile prosecutions for money laundering, strengthened regulation, fined banks, registered law firms and set up specialist courts for money laundering.

FinCrime World Forum, a live streaming event, takes place on 23-24 March featuring more than 40 speakers and 28 sessions on all aspects of financial crime