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9 jailed, fined millions in UAE over $83.37mln money laundering case

01/12/2020

By Ismail Sebugwaawo, Khaleej Times

UAE - Nine individuals and nine firms have been found guilty in a Dh306-million money laundering case. An Abu Dhabi court on Tuesday fined the individuals Dh5 million each, while the companies will pay Dh50 million each.

The convicts have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from seven to 10 years. The firms’ proceeds obtained illegally — whether cash, tangible or intangible assets — will be confiscated.

The defendants had tried to conceal the source of money obtained by illegal activities in multiple banking transactions. The convicts include an Emirati, a Briton, a French, a Dutch and an Indian.

Tracing the illegal trail

Officials explained that the arrest and prosecution of the accused took place after “thorough tracking and scrutiny of financial transactions”. These efforts were part of “integrated efforts” by the UAE to combat money laundering crimes.

Court documents stated that the UAE Central Bank reported suspicious banking transactions by two companies. These firms saw an increase in the number of transactions that was “inconsistent with their activities”.

Investigations revealed that the suspicious transactions were done to conceal the source of money procured illegally.

Investigations

An investigation by the Abu Dhabi Public Prosecution revealed that the first defendant in the case tried to conceal his illegal activities in oil trading. He was operating without a licence from the competent authorities.

He used several methods, including transferring funds to other companies. Some of these firms were fictitious while others were created by their owners specifically for the purpose of concealing the source of funds.

The investigations also showed that the first accused agreed with the other defendants on transferring some of the money collected from his illegal activities to the accounts of their companies.

After the Central Bank spotted irregularities, it asked the defendant to submit documents to verify those operations, which he failed to do.

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