MENA - Corporate Crime and Investigations Round-Up

  • Market Insight 25 March 2024 25 March 2024
  • Middle East

  • Regulatory & Investigations

The corporate crime and regulatory enforcement landscape in the MENA region has experienced transformative changes throughout 2024, highlighting a concerted effort among the MENA nations to refine and fortify their legal frameworks against financial malfeasance. These developments have been characterized by enhanced enforcement of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorism Financing (CTF) measures, with initiatives aimed not only at protecting domestic financial systems but also at mitigating the risk of international censure by bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The UAE has been instrumental in initiating proactive governance in the MENA region, achieving the delisting from FATF's grey list in early 2024. This accomplishment is a testament to the UAE's unwavering commitment to combating financial fraud.

A landmark case that captured attention within the UAE's DIFC1 Courts was the litigation involving AIG International Group UK Limited & Others v the Qatar Insurance Company. This case raised a single issue of law requiring the Court to interpret US-Iran sanctions and determine whether they would prohibit payment by the Claimants to the Defendant under various policies of reinsurance. The Claimants in this case sought a declaration of non-liability on the basis that payment of the sums claimed by the Defendant would expose them to a sanction, prohibition, or restriction under the US-Iran sanctions regime. This complex case highlighted the intricate balance between international legal obligations and local regulatory mandates. On 26 February 2024, the case was decided in favour of the Defendant, who had contended that the Claimants were not exposed to any sanction, prohibition, or restriction under the US sanctions regime.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

In its relentless pursuit to purge financial and administrative corruption, Saudi Arabia has introduced several pivotal reforms. Notably, the Board of Grievances inaugurated the nation's first court dedicated to adjudicating corruption-related cases within government entities in Riyadh. This initiative represents a significant stride towards institutionalising the fight against corruption.

Moreover, the partnership between Saudi Arabia's National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) and its Malaysian equivalent to facilitate the exchange of practices and expertise in combatting corruption, underscores an international collaborative approach towards enhancing anti-corruption measures, thereby reflecting a mutual aspiration to foster diplomatic ties and share best practices in combating corruption.


Qatar's rigorous amendment of AML laws exemplifies the region's trend towards adopting more comprehensive regulatory frameworks. The conviction of Qatar's former finance minister for laundering over USD 5 billion marks a stark reminder of the severe repercussions awaiting those involved in financial crimes, reinforcing Qatar's strict enforcement stance.


In juxtaposition to the MENA region's concerted focus on financial crimes, Africa confronts a broader spectrum of corporate wrongdoing. From Nigeria's ministerial scandal involving the diversion of humanitarian funds to South Africa's deteriorating corruption perception index, these incidents illuminate the persistent challenges of governance and the imperative for robust anti-corruption initiatives.

This compilation of corporate crime and investigations across the MENA region reveals a dynamic evolution of legal and regulatory landscapes. The collaborative and determined efforts to enhance AML and CTF protocols, alongside decisive judicial and regulatory interventions, signify a collective commitment to fostering a transparent, accountable, and secure financial system in the region.

1The Dubai International Financial Centre


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