Abu Dhabi court jails 79 people for swindling investors in fake stock trading scam

Group included 72 Chinese nationals

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, July 31, 2012:  
UAE dirhams. (Silvia Razgova / The National)
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Abu Dhabi Criminal Court has sentenced 79 people to jail for fraud and money laundering.

Each was fined between Dh200,000 to Dh10 million, while the prison sentences ranged from three to 15 years, followed by deportation, the court said in a statement.

Judges heard how the accused tampered with the online address of a China-based stock trading website and created a fake address that victims used to invest.

After they fraudulently obtained money from the victims, they tried to conceal the sources to make their gains look legitimate.

The group includes 72 Chinese people, a Jordanian, Nigerian, Cameroonian, Ugandan and Kenyan.

The total amount that the group swindled was not revealed.

Authorities said the group was helped by an unidentified person.

Thirteen people were found guilty during court proceedings in their absence while 66 were present. It was not made clear if the 13 people are in the UAE or outside the country.

Money, cars, jewellery, devices and other assets found in their possession were confiscated.

According to UAE law, sentences issued by any of the country’s criminal courts are subject to appeal.

In March, the country's Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism said, via state news agency Wam, that the country takes “its role in protecting the integrity of the global financial system extremely seriously”.

The Financial Action Task Force, the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, has praised the UAE for its efforts and said it had made “significant progress” to strengthen its anti-money laundering controls including by demonstrating increased and swifter action against financial criminals.

In recent months the Emirates has expanded its efforts to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing risks. The Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing, which was established a year ago, said authorities had confiscated Dh2.33bn as part of intensive efforts against financial crime.

Updated: May 22, 2022, 6:08 PM