UAE levies Dh60 million in fines, confiscates Dh22.6 million to combat financial crimes

The fines and prison sentences are a part of UAE's efforts to combat money laundering and financial terrorism



(Reuters file)
(Reuters file)
by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Sat 30 Oct 2021, 5:36 PM

As part of the efforts made by authorities in UAE to combat financial crimes, a former employee of a Dubai bank was convicted of embezzling more than Dh5.23 million belonging to real estate development companies that were deposited with the bank.

The Dubai Media Office on Saturday said this was done in agreement and with the assistance of his wife, the second accused, Essam Eisa Al Humaidan, the attorney-general of Dubai said.

Al Humaidan ordered a criminal case to be filed against the accused following the completion of investigations and referred them to the Criminal Court, which handed its judgement of conviction.

The conviction included imprisonment for five years in absentia, return of the embezzled money and deportation from the country.

UAE has intensified its efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing crimes, and strengthen deterrent penalties for perpetrators, the government’s media office said on October 30.

Counsellor Ismail Madani, senior advocate general and head of Public Funds Prosecution confirmed prison sentences and fines were issued against 20 defendants and seven legal companies as part of such efforts.

Defendant charged for concealing over Dh1 million

In another ruling on a case, the Dubai Criminal Court convicted a defendant, who entered the country through Dubai International Airport, on the charge of concealing funds in his possession.

The court issued a judgement imposing a fine of Dh100,000 and confiscating the amount seized from him in different currencies equivalent to Dh 1,108,484 in accordance with Federal Law. No. (20) of 2018 issued by the UAE Central Bank, which specifies the upper limit for funds that can be carried by those coming to the country or leaving its territories without disclosure.

In another case, the court convicted nine defendants on the charge of providing exchange services and transferring money without a license, in addition to money laundering.

Individual deported for concealing Dh8 million

Another case saw the court sentencing the first accused to two years of imprisonment and the second accused to six months' imprisonment and a fine of Dh300,000 each, along with deportation from the country.

It also convicted the company of the second accused in its capacity as a legal person and imposed a fine of Dh1 million and confiscation of the seized funds, amounting to Dh8,783,577.

Counsellor Madani said the defendants committed the crime of money laundering by transferring the financial proceeds, amounting to $3,290,000, from the company account of the first accused in a bank in the USA to the local bank account of the third accused in the country.

The transfer was an act of fraud on the complainant company in the USA, which was committed with the intention of concealing and disguising the truth of the proceeds and its illegal source.

Also, the first accused, along with others of good faith working for a legal consultancy firm in the country, committed the crime of money laundering, by transferring financial proceeds worth $685,500 from his company's account to the local bank account of the law firm in the country.

This resulted in the crime of defrauding the complainant company based in the US. This crime was committed with the intention of concealing and disguising the truth of the proceeds and their illegal source.

In another case involving three defendants, the court delivered a ruling, sentencing the first accused to jail for five years and deportation from the country, and the second accused to three years in prison and deportation.

The court also ordered the confiscation of an amount of Dh5.5 million deposited in the account of the second accused, as well as an amount of Dh1.5 million in the account of the second accused seized by the Public Prosecution.

The court further imposed fines on the two defendants amounting to Dh53,476,023, the value of the money involved in the crime.

Fines of Dh10,000 each were also imposed on three legal companies, following their conviction of two charges of fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and forgery in an unofficial document.

The three defendants defrauded and misappropriated money amounting to Dh1 million belonging to the victim and his company, using fraudulent means 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 as per trade license issued to it by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, leasing 23 offices and releasing it.

One of the defendants claimed that their company makes profits in the range of Dh500,000 annually through investment rights in re-leasing those offices.

The three defendants made an offer to the victim to buy that company with the rights to invest in the amount of Dh1.3 million, supported by a forged document that showed the value of those expected profits, which they claimed was set to increase in the following years.

They then persuaded him to agree to sell for him by an amount of Dh1 million, which deceived the victim and his company and prompted him to hand over these amounts to the three defendants through six payments, including three payments of Dh425,000 in cash and transfer the remaining amount, Dh575,000, at their request from the account of a company to the account of an establishment, as he is the authorised signatory as stated in the papers.

The above mentioned three defendants also committed the crime of breach of trust with the same victim by embezzling money amounting to Dh982,752, belonging to the victim and his company. This amount handed over to them by trust, and to be used for the benefit of the victim. But the first accused exploited the victim's desire to change the furniture for 23 offices invested by the company and purchased by him (the same offices related to the criminal case), and that the third accused is a co-owner of the company.

They offered the victim to furnish the aforementioned offices through the last-mentioned company with money amounting to Dh1.2 million. They asked him to transfer an advance payment of 80 per cent of that amount to the account of the company managed by the third accused of manufacturing and shipping furniture for him. They then absconded, harming the right holders.

The three defendants also committed another crime by defrauding the same victim. They misappropriated for themselves money amounting to Dh34 million, which belonged to the victim, his company and another foreign company. They used fraudulent means, as they exploited the victim and his company's search for a plot of land to buy.

They offered him maps and plans of a plot of land in the Business Bay area suitable for the project, and they took him to the location of that plot so as to inspect it.

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Contrary to the truth, they claimed to him that he was an intermediary from its owner to sell it and that the latter wanted to sell it for Dh67,475,430 and he would agree to reduce its value to Dh58 million in the event of paying in cash and he asked him to send the sums received from their partner (the concerned investor in the foreign country) to his company’s account in euros until a real estate account is opened for that project, which deceived the victim and his company and made him agree to send that amount.

He transferred the amount of Dh58 million through one transfer from his company account for the purchase of that land. But the defendants transferred only an amount of 5,000 euros to the escrow account of the victim's company, and then misappropriated the rest of those amounts and transferred it to accounts in their favour. The first accused then absconded.

After executing those crimes, the defendants laundered the money they got by committing crimes of fraud and breach of trust by making transfers to the accounts of establishments and then transferring part of those amounts in their favour by means of several different cheques.

In addition, they laundered part of those funds through the use of personal accounts by depositing some cheques, re-transferring the amounts to the account of one of the accused, withdrawing and misappropriating the remaining amounts, and using part of it to purchase a plot of land in his favour with his knowledge of it.


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