Anti-fraud Law Made Tougher
Dubai imposed on Tuesday tougher penalties, including up to 20 years in jail, for those convicted of fraud in the matter of public or private funds.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, issued a new law that stipulated tougher penalties as part of a continuing clampdown on economic and financial crime.
“The law is in line with Dubai’s ongoing efforts to eradicate all forms while enhancing the emirate’s position as a leading global business hub,” a statement from the official news agency Wam said on Tuesday.
The law, which takes immediate effect, seeks “to protect Dubai’s economic interests and preserve financial rights of individuals”, according to the statement.
The law is part of series of anti-corruption initiatives by Dubai since April 2008 when a series of corporate scandals started to unfold.
Under the law, those convicted of public or private fraud could face between five and 20 years’ imprisonment. Earlier, the maximum sentence was five years.
Advocate Ahmed Afshir maintained those convicted of fraud were previously sentenced from two to three years in jail. “Putting strict penalties will make investors think twice before getting involved in any fraud,” he said.
“This will encourage investors in real estate sectors to continue investing after having suffered many problems in recent times,” he said. “In addition it will give people an opportunity to be released if they succeeded in paying their obligations.”
The law permits immediate release of convicts “once they fully return the money to their lawful owners or through settlement agreements negotiated with their debtors.”
The law facilitates “redemption of funds fraudulently seized from either public or private money,” the statement said. “Imprisoned convicts will be granted access to conduct all necessary external communications that guarantee timely redemption of funds.”
Dubai has been witnessing many high-profile investigations and arrest of senior executives over the past 20 months, amid an intensive crackdown by the government on corporate crime. In 2008, the government declared, “There would be no tolerance shown to anybody who tries to exploit his position to make illegal profits.”
K.K. Sarachandra Bose of Dar Al Adalah Advocates said: “This is progressive legislation. The new law will enhance confidence of investors, particularly the foreign investors. It will act as a deterrent against fraud.”
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