A collaboration with the Danish authorities to arrest and extradite British financial trader Sanjay Shah is a clear sign of the UAE’s commitment to disrupt organised crime, the justice minister has said.
Mr Shah, 52, has denied being a key player in a $1.7-billion tax refund scheme that is alleged to have defrauded the Danish state.
The ‘cum-ex’ trading scheme ran for three years from 2012. Foreign businesses pretend to own shares in Danish companies and claim ineligible tax refunds.
Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Minister of Justice, said the arrest delivers a clear message on international collaboration on law enforcement.
"International crime requires an international response,” he said in a statement to state news agency Wam.
“The arrest of Sanjay Shah, following receipt of an international arrest warrant from the Danish authorities, sends a clear signal of the UAE’s intent to work in close collaboration with international partners in pursuit of international crime.
“For the past two years, UAE authorities have worked closely with their Danish counterparts to compile a strong body of evidence in this case.
“There have been 25 legal assistance requests between the UAE and Denmark that have been executed on this particular issue.”
The alleged fraud is one of the largest such cases in Denmark’s history.
Mr Shah, who lived on The Palm Jumeirah, claimed he was operating within the boundaries of Danish law and denies the charges.
“The UAE’s commitment to collaboration is also symbolised in the general extradition treaty signed with Denmark in March 2022,” Mr Al Nuaimi said.
This is one of 37 treaties put in place in recent years and the UAE intends to sign more.
“Through the robust, collaborative structure of partnership, the UAE is determined to disrupt organised crime in all its forms to protect the UAE and uphold the integrity of the international financial system.”
At least 145 international fugitives were arrested and brought to justice in the Emirates last year, thanks to co-operation between national governments, anti-crime agencies and Interpol, a Ministry of Justice newsletter revealed in February.
Arrests included that of Leon Cullen, one of Britain’s most wanted criminals, extradited to the UK in February 2021 after two years on the run in Dubai.
Cullen, 33, was returned to the UK in a joint operation with UAE police, Britain’s National Crime Agency and Interpol. He was sentenced to 22 and half years for his role at the head of a crime gang responsible for supplying drugs and firearms.
Another high-profile arrest included that of Raffaele Imperiale, an alleged Naples crime lord who was arrested at his luxury villa in Dubai.