While back in 2019, Dubai was lambasted as a money launderer’s paradise by Transparency International, there is no doubt that Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in general lagging in the world of compliances and regulation, thus granting opportunity to criminals, terrorists, crypto frauds, illegal casinos, human traffickers, drug cartels, gangsters and scammers in flocking into the UAE and openly continue their illegal activities and enjoy even certain degree of patronization from the authorities concerned.
In its report, Transparency International said:
Over the past months, the UK government has been taking important steps to keep suspicious foreign wealth out of the London property market and clamp down on anonymous company ownership in overseas territories. This will slowly make it more difficult for the world’s corrupt politicians and organized crime groups to launder their dirty billions through the combination of offshore tax havens and the luxury real estate sector that exists within the British system.
But even as one door begins to close, another remains wide open. A new investigative report released this week by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) shows that the Emirate of Dubai offers criminals and the corrupt an easy alternative for laundering their ill-gotten assets — particularly through high-end real estate.
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) in its report titled “Dubai Uncovered: Data Leak Exposes How Criminals, Officials, and Sanctioned Politicians Poured Money Into Dubai Real Estate” said:
Dubai is one of the world’s most secretive offshore jurisdictions, mainly due to a lack of financial transparency, according to The Tax Justice Network.
The advocacy group ranks the United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, as one of the world’s top ten enablers of both corporate tax abuse and financial secrecy.
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“Dubai has an ask-no-questions, see-no-evil approach to commercial and financial regulation, as well as foreign financial crimes,” the group wrote in a 2020 assessment. “It has consequently attracted large financial flows and some of the world’s most high-profile criminals”.
The United Arab Emirates also does not have an extradition treaty with the European Union, the United States, and many other countries in the world. In practice, this means wanted criminal suspects can hide out in Dubai to avoid facing justice.
Although UAE has a stricter law for combating money laundering, it is mostly ignored by the authorities concerned as well as law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
According to Article 22 of the Money Laundering Law of the UAE, any person who commits money laundering in the UAE will be punished with imprisonment for at least 1 year and up to 10 years. The perpetrator could also be punished with fines which could range between AED 100,000 to AED 5 million or either fine or imprisonment.
The punishments are harsher if the money laundering crime is committed by the perpetrator who has abused his influence or power vested in him by his profession, committed through a non-profit organization or an organized criminal group, or if he is a repeat offender. In these cases, the punishments include temporary imprisonment (up to 15 years) and fines of AED 300,000 and AED 10 million.
On the official website of the UAE government, it is stated: “The UAE is committed to combatting illegal financial activities such as money laundering and financing of terrorism. The country’s policies and strategies detect and deter financial crimes on its soil, and prevent the use of its lands as a transit route or to transfer funds resulting from any criminal activity. The UAE also supports global efforts to counter money laundering and combat the financing of terrorism, seeking to fully implement the standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)”.
Although the anti-money laundering laws or the official statement of the UAE authorities sound strict about money laundering, in reality – the scenario is just the opposite. Black money holders, corrupt politicians, businessmen etcetera are welcomed by the UAE authorities with armed widely open while criminals, terrorists, scammers, and even members of transnational drug trafficking networks and representatives of mafias and narco-cartels are allowed to continue their illegal activities by the authorities.
UAE, a real dark world
According to an October 12, 2022 report published in the VICE World News, “It seems however that drug kingpins who are flagged up by European law enforcement investigators are more likely than ever to get their collars felt in downtown Dubai. New mutual assistance agreements recently entered into by the UAE with European governments mean extradition will become more likely for those who have been red-flagged. The announcement of a UAE liaison officer to be permanently based at Europol’s headquarters could spell the end for high-end criminals seeking sanctuary in Dubai”.
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On March 5, 2022, The Brussels Times in a report titled ‘Dubai Uncovered: Belgian criminals live in luxury beyond the reach of the law’ gave a detailed and colossal description of how money laundering and real estate in Dubai has a vast network of ill-gotten gains held by Belgian criminals and sanction individuals.
On February 13, 2021, the UK newspaper The Mirror in a report titled ‘Dubai dubbed new ‘Costa del Crime’ where money talks and British gangsters flock’, where it’s Middle East crime expert Dr. Christopher Davidson who spent six years in the United Arab Emirates cities said: “The old joke was that there were more Brit gangsters in the average bar than at a Pentonville prison roll call”.
Dr Davidson further said, “In the past, it was people fleeing debts, but there has been a trend for major crime figures to move there. Dubai has replaced the Costa del Sol as the place to be for British gangsters”.
On August 2, 2022, The Critic in an article titled “Gangsters by the Gulf” said, “Close your eyes and think of British criminals abroad. The images which come to mind are probably filled with pink porcine flesh sizzling by the pool, Essex boys in dazzling white villas, “uno beer por favor” and all the other cultural detritus of British crime’s connection with the Costa del Sol in Spain. But things don’t stay still. The noughties are over, and British crime has moved on”.
The Global Initiative in a report dated April 19, 2022, said, “Over the past 20 years, criminal groups from the Western Balkans have become key actors in the global drug trade. Balkan networks are involved in heroin trafficking, cannabis production, and trafficking, as well as the trafficking of cocaine from Latin America into ports in western and south-eastern Europe.
“[…] It is believed that around two-thirds of all Albanian criminal leaders are hiding in the UAE”.
On May 25, 2022, Balkan Insight in a report said “A growing number of Albanian crime figures are finding refuge and laundering money in the United Arab Emirates, knowing that authorities in Albania and elsewhere in Europe will struggle to secure their extradition”.
On November 17, 2021, the EU Observer in an article said, that European Union criminals are using Dubai as hideouts. Quoting an EU memo dated November 13, 2021, is further said, that police from nine EU states as well as Norway, Switzerland, and the US were conducting joint operations “to locate and extradite the ‘untouchable’ ex-pat criminals and to confiscate their criminal assets”.
On December 31, 2022, the Irish Times in a report said, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been placed on the EU’s money laundering blacklist, a move gardaí hope will increase pressure on members of the Kinahan cartel still living there.
It further said, that the leader of the gang, Daniel Kinahan, his father Christy, and brother Christy Jr., have been living in Dubai Emirate of the UAE for several years and have extensive business and real estate interests there.
On September 28, 2022, the UK’s The Sun in a report said, convicted criminals are even allowed to enter Dubai provided the crime was not committed in the United Arab Emirates.
A May 29, 2022 report in the Independent said, that despite being declared most wanted by the US authorities, Kinahan gangsters were being harbored by the Dubai authorities.
On May 7, 2022, Le Monde in a report said, oligarchs and criminals are investing in real estate in the United Arab Emirates.
On August 9, 2017, the Sydney Morning Herald in a report said, the oil-rich Middle Eastern monarchy has long attracted fraudsters, fugitives, and shady characters.
On November 18, 2021, the Sunday World in a report detailed how the Emirates has become host to a vast amount of high-value targets.
On January 27, 2023, Jordanian news agency MENAFN in a report said, the cyber-criminal syndicate was unearthed in the United Arab Emirates.
On April 23, 2022, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in a report detailed how the Irish gang found a home away from home in Dubai.
On February 3, 2022, the Indian newspaper The Outlook in a report said, that while the UAE authorities seem willing to cooperate with India on the extradition of terrorists and criminals operating from the Emirates, Dubai has inclined to resist such moves.
According to a series of reports published in Blitz, a large number of criminals, crypto frauds, scammers, illegal casino operators, money launderers and terrorists are enjoying absolute impunity in Dubai and other cities in the United Arab Emirates. It detailed the cases of Kerry Adler, Dan Settgast, Josh Adler, Zuzana Uchnárová, Ilman Shazhaev, Jorge Sebastiao, Mru Patel, Kamil Grund, and many others.
Meanwhile, sitting in the United Arab Emirates, Kerry Adler even had assigned members of his terrorist gang to wage cyber-terror attacks targeting Blitz for exposing his dubious activities. It may be mentioned here that, DDoS attacks are considered a serious crime by law enforcement agencies in the world, which could result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years. As Kerry Adler is a Canadian citizen and currently residing in the United Arab Emirates, authorities in both countries can initiate legal actions against him for executing a DDoS attack on a newspaper. It may be further stated here that, for more than two decades, Blitz has been fighting religious extremism, militancy, terrorist acts, corruption, and crimes committed by various individuals, groups, and nations.
According to at least two sources who sought to remain unnamed, Kerry Adler and his son Josh Adler are in the United Arab Emirates as they have been in contact with Ukrainian mafias, oligarchs, and dark-money holders, while they are having connections with the drug trafficking rings operated by Lebanese Hezbollah and Afghan drug-lords.
Unfortunately, although the terrorist activities of Kerry Adler have already been brought to the attention of authorities in the UAE, there is no visible action yet against this dangerous man.
Authorities in the United Arab Emirates seem to be extremely fond of mafias. That is why, Dubai even has a nightclub named ‘Mafia Dubai’, where criminals, terrorists, crypto frauds, con artists, illegal casinos, human traffickers, drug cartels, gangsters, and scammers regularly flock in and enjoy the “forbidden” entertainment of drugs and transnational hookers, most of whom are victims of women and child trafficking gangs.
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