Cyber criminals promoting cryptocurrency scams online will face 5 years behind bars and fines of up to Dh1 million (1M United Arab Emirates Dirham equals 272,258.49 USD) under strict new UAE laws introduced to protect the public from financial fraud.
The clampdown was introduced as part of a series of legal reforms announced by President Sheikh Khalifa last month. The new legislation broadens the country’s current cyber crime laws to cover the advertisement of “rogue cryptocurrency schemes” which are not recognised by UAE authorities.
As per article 48, posting misleading ads or inaccurate data online about a certain product will be punishable with jail and/or a fine between $5,445 (Dh20,000) and $136,100 (Dh500,000). The same penalty applies to members of the public who promote cryptocurrencies unrecognised by authorities in the country.
Dr Hassan Elhais, of Al Rowaad Advocates explained that previous laws banned promoting cryptocurrencies but didn’t penalise it. This targets so called “crypto influencers”.
“It imposes a penalty of five years in prison and/or a fine between $68,000 and $272,000 against those who promote electronic currencies or fake companies to raise money from the public without a licence from competent authorities,” Elhais is quoted explaining.
The revised law also sets out punishments of jail or a fine between Dh50,000 to Dh200,000 or both against offenders who create fake email accounts or website impersonating others. The penalty increases to two years in prison if the offender used the fake accounts to defame the people they have impersonated.
The UAE is continuing to take action against those circulating fake news by using so-called ‘bots’ to spread misinformation.
“Article 54 states that using or modifying electronic robots to share, re-share or circulate fake news in the country can be subject to a prison term of two years or a fine not less than Dh100,000 and up to Dh1 million, or both,” said Dr Elhais.
More countries are following similar laws like UAE to crackdown cybercrimes.