THE United Arab Emirates Central Bank has warned its citizens and expatriates not to deal with at least seven currency exchange companies whose licenses had been downgraded for various violation of laws.
The UAECB asked the residents and expats not to course their remittances through the seven companies, namely, Taher Exchange Est., Al Hadha Exchange, Al Hemriya Exchange, Dubai Express Exchange, Sanaa Exchange, Cosmos Exchange and Bin Bakheet Exchange Est for their failure to settle their obligations with the government.
The said exchange houses were prohibited from conducting any activities relating to remittances or payment of wages for their failure to regularize their status during the grace period granted by the Central Bank, the UAECB said in a statement.
The Central Bank added that the exchange houses had violated anti-money laundering regulations, too.
The warning came at a time when remittances outflow are expected to pick up substantially in the coming days as expats are expected to remit funds back to their home countries on the occasion of Eid Al Fitr.
In 2017, expat remittances amounted to Dh164.3 billion as compared to Dh160.8 billion in the previous year, an increase of 2.2 per cent.
In addition, a number of companies in the UAE pay wages to their blue-collar workers through currency exchange houses.
The Foreign Exchange and Remittances Group (Ferg), a consortium of businesses engaged in the foreign exchange and remittance industry, issued an update on the anti-money laundering manual in January this year with an aim of keeping exchange houses in the UAE updated.
According to Ferg, there has been a 90 percent drop in crimes in banks and money exchange houses last year compared to 2016, due to the awareness sessions and security initiatives taken by the different authorities.