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UAE strengthening up its actions against money laundering and terrorism financing crimes

According to Counselor Ismail Madani's (Senior Advocate General and Head of Public Funds Prosecution)statements, the Public Prosecution is continuing its unwavering efforts to implement the UAE's national strategy to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing crimes, as well as to put in place a strong financial crime control system.

He also stated that the Public Prosecution is committed to assisting efforts to combat these crimes by integrating the roles of competent government agencies and enhancing cooperation.


The Public Prosecution and its affiliates, such as courts, police agencies, the Central Bank, Customs, the Financial Information Unit, and the Executive Office, are authorized to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing crimes, he said. Further to the above, a selection of other law enforcement authorized have also been granted permission to receive reports of suspicious financial practices, make decisions, keep track of suspicious bank accounts and their transactions and seize funds. The Criminal Court has been granted the power to apply penalties, confiscations, and fines in connection to funds deriving by these crimes. These organisations have been given the aforementioned powers as part of the supportive measures designed to aid in the detection of such crimes and their culprits while remaining compliant with existing legislation.


The Executive Director of Dubai Economic Security Centre, Faisal bin Sulaitin, pointed out that the competent authorities have joined efforts to tackle economic crimes and safeguard the funds of the Emirate of Dubai and the UAE from said crimes. This reflects the commitment to uphold the directives to combat money laundering and terrorism financing crimes. The efforts also show the state's commitment to detecting and deterring inappropriate and illegal financial dealings as well as the transit or transfer of funds resulting from such activities within its borders.


Bin Sulaitin emphasized the UAE's unwavering support for global measures to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing crimes, in accordance with the International Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) standards. He stated that the government has taken significant measures in recent years for the development of a legal framework for accomplishing this as well as recognize institutional paths for establishing procedures to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. He went on to say that the establishment of the Dubai Economic Security Centre is the Emirate's first line of defence against economic crime. This will encourage investors and international financial institutions to domicile and operate in Dubai due to its secure environment.


His Excellency urged all public and private institutions, as well as the citizens, to join their efforts in tackling the risks posed to investors and consumers, as well as any funds and gains belonging to the emirate, through all the channels established by competent authorities, including the Dubai Economic Security Centre.


As part of UAE's ongoing efforts to tackle financial crimes, a Dubai bank's former employee and his wife, were prosecuted for embezzlement of more than AED5.23 million of real estate companies, deposited with the bank. The first has been convicted while the second accused for assistance to crime. Following the completion of the investigations, His Excellency Essam Eisa Al Humaidan, Attorney General of Dubai, ordered that a criminal case be filed against them, and they were referred to the Criminal Court, which has given a judgment of conviction, including five years in prison in their absence, the return of the embezzled funds, and deportation from the country.


In another case, the Dubai Criminal Court found a defendant guilty of concealing funds in his possession after he entered the country through Dubai International Airport. According to Federal Law No. (20) of 2018, issued by the UAE Central Bank, the court issued a judgment imposing a fine of AED100,000 and confiscating the amount totalling to AED1,108,484 that was seized from him in different currencies in accordance with Federal Law No. (20) of 2018, which determines the maximum amount of funds that one could carry when entering or leaving the country without disclosure.


In another instance, the Court found nine defendants guilty of money laundering as well as providing exchange services and transferring money without a license.


Furthermore, the Court sentenced the first defendant to two years in prison and the second defendant to six months in prison, as well as a fine of AED300,000 and deportation from the UAE. It also found the second accused's company guilty in its capacity as a legal entity, imposing a fine of AED1 million and confiscating the seized funds, totaling AED8,783,577. According to Counselor Ismail Madani, the defendants committed money laundering by transferring financial proceeds totaling US$3,290,000 from the first accused's company account in a bank in the United States to the third accused's local bank account in the UAE. The transfer was a fraud of the complainant company in the United States, aiming to conceal and disguise the illegal source of the funds. In addition, the first accused, along with others in good faith working for a legal consultancy firm in the UAE, committed money laundering by transferring funds worth US$685,500 from his company's account to the local bank account of the law firm. As a result, the complainant company in the United States was defrauded in an effort to hide the true and illegal source of the proceeds.


In a separate case involving three defendants, the Court handed down a ruling that sentenced the accused to five and three years in prison and deportation. The Court also ordered the confiscation of AED5,500,000 deposited in the second accused's account, as well as AED1.5 million dirhams seized by the Public Prosecution from the second accused's account. The two defendants were also fined AED53,476,023, the amount of money involved in the crime. It also fined three legal firms AED10,000 each after they were found guilty of two counts of fraud, breach of trust, money laundering, and forgery in an unofficial document. The three defendants defrauded and misappropriated AED1 million from the victim and his company by exploiting the victim's professional knowledge as an auditor and manager who is familiar with the financial balance sheet of the company that he shares with others, and leasing and re-leasing 23 offices as per a trade license issued by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai.


One of the defendants claimed that through investment rights in re-leasing those offices, their company makes profits of up to AED500,000 per year. The three defendants made an offer to the victim to buy the company in exchange for the rights to invest AED1,300,000, backed up by a forged document claiming the value of the expected profits, which they claimed would rise in the coming years. They then persuaded him to agree to sell for him for AED1 million, deceiving the victim and his company, and causing him to hand over these funds to the three defendants in six payments, including three cash payments of AED425,000 and transferring the remaining amount, AED575,000, at their request from a company account to an establishment account, as he is the authorised signatory as per the papers.


The aforementioned three defendants also committed a crime of breach of trust by embezzling money worth AED982,752 of the victim and his companies, which was handed over to them on trust and to be used for the victim's benefit, as the first accused took advantage of the victim's desire to change furniture in the offices relating to the criminal case that invested by the company, in which the third accused is a co-owner, and purchased by the victim. They offered the victim AED1,227,500 to furnish the aforementioned offices through the last mentioned company, and they requested a pre-payment of 80% of that amount to the account of the third accused's company for manufacturing and shipping furniture for him. They then fled, causing harm to the rightful owners.


According to Counselor Ismail Madani's (Senior Advocate General and Head of Public Funds Prosecution)statements, the Public Prosecution is continuing its unwavering efforts to implement the UAE's national strategy to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing crimes, as well as to put in place a strong financial crime control system. He also stated that the Public Prosecution is committed to assisting efforts to combat these crimes by integrating the roles of competent government agencies and enhancing cooperation.


The Public Prosecution and its affiliates, such as courts, police agencies, the Central Bank, Customs, the Financial Information Unit, and the Executive Office, are authorized to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing crimes, he said. Further to the above, a selection of other law enforcement authorized have also been granted permission to receive reports of suspicious financial practices, make decisions, keep track of suspicious bank accounts and their transactions and seize funds. The Criminal Court has been granted the power to apply penalties, confiscations, and fines in connection to funds deriving by these crimes. These organisations have been given the aforementioned powers as part of the supportive measures designed to aid in the detection of such crimes and their culprits while remaining compliant with existing legislation.


The Executive Director of Dubai Economic Security Centre, Faisal bin Sulaitin, pointed out that the competent authorities have joined efforts to tackle economic crimes and safeguard the funds of the Emirate of Dubai and the UAE from said crimes. This reflects the commitment to uphold the directives to combat money laundering and terrorism financing crimes. The efforts also show the state's commitment to detecting and deterring inappropriate and illegal financial dealings as well as the transit or transfer of funds resulting from such activities within its borders.


Bin Sulaitin emphasized the UAE's unwavering support for global measures to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing crimes, in accordance with the International Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) standards. He stated that the government has taken significant measures in recent years for the development of a legal framework for accomplishing this as well as recognize institutional paths for establishing procedures to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. He went on to say that the establishment of the Dubai Economic Security Centre is the Emirate's first line of defence against economic crime. This will encourage investors and international financial institutions to domicile and operate in Dubai due to its secure environment.


His Excellency urged all public and private institutions, as well as the citizens, to join their efforts in tackling the risks posed to investors and consumers, as well as any funds and gains belonging to the emirate, through all the channels established by competent authorities, including the Dubai Economic Security Centre.


As part of UAE's ongoing efforts to tackle financial crimes, a Dubai bank's former employee and his wife, were prosecuted for embezzlement of more than AED5.23 million of real estate companies, deposited with the bank. The first has been convicted while the second accused for assistance to crime. Following the completion of the investigations, His Excellency Essam Eisa Al Humaidan, Attorney General of Dubai, ordered that a criminal case be filed against them, and they were referred to the Criminal Court, which has given a judgment of conviction, including five years in prison in their absence, the return of the embezzled funds, and deportation from the country.


In another case, the Dubai Criminal Court found a defendant guilty of concealing funds in his possession after he entered the country through Dubai International Airport. According to Federal Law No. (20) of 2018, issued by the UAE Central Bank, the court issued a judgment imposing a fine of AED100,000 and confiscating the amount totalling to AED1,108,484 that was seized from him in different currencies in accordance with Federal Law No. (20) of 2018, which determines the maximum amount of funds that one could carry when entering or leaving the country without disclosure.


In another instance, the Court found nine defendants guilty of money laundering as well as providing exchange services and transferring money without a license.


Furthermore, the Court sentenced the first defendant to two years in prison and the second defendant to six months in prison, as well as a fine of AED300,000 and deportation from the UAE. It also found the second accused's company guilty in its capacity as a legal entity, imposing a fine of AED1 million and confiscating the seized funds, totaling AED8,783,577. According to Counselor Ismail Madani, the defendants committed money laundering by transferring financial proceeds totaling US$3,290,000 from the first accused's company account in a bank in the United States to the third accused's local bank account in the UAE. The transfer was a fraud of the complainant company in the United States, aiming to conceal and disguise the illegal source of the funds. In addition, the first accused, along with others in good faith working for a legal consultancy firm in the UAE, committed money laundering by transferring funds worth US$685,500 from his company's account to the local bank account of the law firm. As a result, the complainant company in the United States was defrauded in an effort to hide the true and illegal source of the proceeds.


In a separate case involving three defendants, the Court handed down a ruling that sentenced the accused to five and three years in prison and deportation. The Court also ordered the confiscation of AED5,500,000 deposited in the second accused's account, as well as AED1.5 million dirhams seized by the Public Prosecution from the second accused's account. The two defendants were also fined AED53,476,023, the amount of money involved in the crime. It also fined three legal firms AED10,000 each after they were found guilty of two counts of fraud, breach of trust, money laundering, and forgery in an unofficial document. The three defendants defrauded and misappropriated AED1 million from the victim and his company by exploiting the victim's professional knowledge as an auditor and manager who is familiar with the financial balance sheet of the company that he shares with others, and leasing and re-leasing 23 offices as per a trade license issued by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai.


One of the defendants claimed that through investment rights in re-leasing those offices, their company makes profits of up to AED500,000 per year. The three defendants made an offer to the victim to buy the company in exchange for the rights to invest AED1,300,000, backed up by a forged document claiming the value of the expected profits, which they claimed would rise in the coming years. They then persuaded him to agree to sell for him for AED1 million, deceiving the victim and his company, and causing him to hand over these funds to the three defendants in six payments, including three cash payments of AED425,000 and transferring the remaining amount, AED575,000, at their request from a company account to an establishment account, as he is the authorised signatory as per the papers.


The aforementioned three defendants also committed a crime of breach of trust by embezzling money worth AED982,752 of the victim and his companies, which was handed over to them on trust and to be used for the victim's benefit, as the first accused took advantage of the victim's desire to change furniture in the offices relating to the criminal case that invested by the company, in which the third accused is a co-owner, and purchased by the victim. They offered the victim AED1,227,500 to furnish the aforementioned offices through the last mentioned company, and they requested a pre-payment of 80% of that amount to the account of the third accused's company for manufacturing and shipping furniture for him. They then fled, causing harm to the rightful owners.


The three defendants also defrauded the same victim by misappropriating money worth 7,153, 690 euros (equivalent to AED34,337,712) belonging to the victim, his company, and another foreign company, which was a partner of them in joint commercial operations, through fraudulent means, as they exploited the victim and his company's search for a plot of land to buy for the purpose of building a hotel or hotel apartments. They gave him maps and plans for a plot of land in the Business Bay area that would be suitable for the project, and they took him to inspect it. Contrary to the truth, they claimed to him that he was an intermediary for its owner to sell it, and that the latter wanted to sell it for AED67,475,430, and that if he paid in cash, he would agree to reduce the price to AED58,337,745 (equivalent to AED12,153,690 euros), and that he would ask him to send the sums received from their partner (the concerned foreign investor) to his company. He made a single transfer from his company account for the purchase of that land in the amount of AED12,153,690 Euros.


The defendants transferred only 5,000 euros to the victim's company's escrow account, then misappropriated the rest of the funds and transferred them to their own accounts. The first suspect then fled the scene. Following the commission of those crimes, the defendants laundered the money they gained by committing fraud and breach of trust by making transfers to establishments' accounts and then transferring a portion of those amounts in their favor via several different cheques, either in the names of unknown persons or written in the name of the first absconding accused, with the intent of concealing and disguising the money's illegal source, as well as the manner of imputation.


By Flexi Team


*DISCLAIMER: This article and its publication are intended to provide a brief introduction and act as a general guide. This is provided for information purposes only and cannot be utilized as a substitute for professional advice. This document does not represent a legal opinion and one must not rely on it without receiving independent advice based on the particular facts of its own case. No responsibility is accepted by the author or the publishers for any loss suffered from acting or refraining from acting based on the contents of this publication.

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