UAE Penalty for Disclosing Secrets

Punishment for Disclosing Secrets in the UAE 

Article 432 of the UAE Federal Penal Code stipulates that anyone who, by virtue of his profession, craft, status, or art, is the custodian of a secret and divulges it in other circumstances, shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of not less than one year and a fine of not less than twenty thousand dirhams (AED 20,000), or by one of these two penalties. The crime is punishable whether the disclosed secret is used for the benefit of the same person or of another person, unless the person concerned had authorized its disclosure or use. 

The penalty shall be imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years if the offender is a public employee or entrusted with a public service, and the secret is kept during, due to, or on the occasion of performing his job or service. 

This blog is a part of UAE Mainland Litigation Service

Conditions for Investigating the Crime 

The crime of disclosing secrets stipulated in Article 432 carries penalties that require the fulfillment of four conditions: 

First, its material component 

It consists of divulging and disclosing  secret whether the perpetrator uses it for his personal benefit or for the benefit of another person. 

Second, the secret 

The matter that was disclosed is considered a secret even if the victim did not ask for it to be kept secret if the matter, by its nature or the circumstances surrounding it, must be kept a secret. It is sufficient for the offender to have known this secret by virtue of his profession, position, status, or profession. 

Third, the nature of the secret repository 

That the secret was entrusted to him by virtue of his profession, craft, or status. 

Fourth, availability of the moral element 

That the perpetrator deliberately divulges the secret, knowing that he is divulging a secret that was not disclosed to him or came to his knowledge except through his profession, craft, or position, and that divulging the secret occurs in circumstances other than those authorized by law and without the permission of the person concerned. 

The basis for investigating the crime

Article 379 stipulates penalties for anyone who, by virtue of his profession, profession, status, or art, is the keeper of a secret and discloses it in circumstances other than those authorized by law, or uses it for the benefit of self or of another person, and the criminal intent therein is that the disclosure of the secret is intentional, with the accused knowing that he or she is divulging it. A secret that he only acquired through his profession or craft. It is sufficient to enforce the provisions of this article merely for the accused to disclose the secret in circumstances other than those authorized by law or to use the secret for his own benefit or for the benefit of another person. 

Several cases have been considered by the courts implicating their owners in the crime of “disclosing business secrets” to competitors or for their own benefit. Some of them end in conviction, and others end in the acquittal of the accused after confirming the maliciousness of the accusations against them for one reason or another. However, this crime remains a modern crime in light of the boom in communications technology and the permissibility of… Many organizations have their employees work remotely, whether due to emergencies such as the Corona pandemic or to reduce expenses, which makes company information available for circulation away from its headquarters, and thus makes carrying out this crime easier. 


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by Reda Farahat Karawan

Reda has more than 15 years of legal practice to his credit, and has been practicing law in the UAE for about 10 years, focusing on Arabic language litigations.

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