Print Article

Is DUBAI still the playground for the crocked and dodgy? Maybe not; ask the Gupta brothers & Sanjay Shah


FATF grey listed them, and the world despaired that there would be no "real" change is afoot other than some cosmetic changes.

The UAE has been a safe-haven for anyone seeking to escape corruption/embezzlement allegations in their home country, but maybe no more. The UAE announced the arrest of the infamous Gupta brothers and the British financial trader Sanjay Shah wanted in Denmark,

The Gupta brothers

For years, the Guptas have been hiding in Dubai (in plain sight). The two brothers and their brother Ajay were hiding out in Dubai since fleeing South Africa around the same time former president Zuma resigned in 2018 amid allegations he had overseen massive levels of corruption at state-owned companies.

Although the Gupta brothers were wanted in South Africa, the extradition treaty the UAE signed with South Africa in 2018 was reportedly marred with hurdles, leading critics to speculate the UAE was not willing to cooperate.

Finally, further to a formal Interpol Red Notice, the Dubai Police (whose chief is also head of Interpol coincidentally) has arrested brothers Atul and Rajesh Gupta for allegedly looting billions from state-owned companies in South Africa.

Among infamous purchases, South Africa’s City Press newspaper reported in 2016 that the Gupta family had purchased a $30 million residence in Dubai’s Emirates Hills neighbourhood, which had 10 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, nine reception rooms, a double grand staircase, a hand-painted dome, space for 11 cars, and chandeliers in virtually every room.

Sanjay Shah

On a similar note, earlier this week, in collaboration with the Danish authorities, the Dubai police arrested British financial trader Sanjay Shah wanted in Denmark for being a key player in a massive $1.7-billion tax refund scheme alleged to have defrauded the Danish state.

UAE Says

The UAE justice minister said then, " this is a clear sign of the UAE's commitment to disrupt organized crime."

These latest arrests represent the latest major extradition requests to be considered by the UAE. Dubai in particular has long welcomed the wealthy with little question asked.

With the UAE now heading Interpol, the country has faced renewed questioning over its lax checks on money laundering and reluctance to extradite suspects.

So moves like this are certainly sending a positive signal that crime does not pay in the UAE. More actions like this to come

And what about FATF and the grey listing? Maybe they will lose this rating in record time