US lawyer Asim Ghafoor to pay Dh5m fine but avoid jail term, UAE court rules

Ghafoor will be released and deported on payment of the financial penalty

Abu Dhabi Judicial Department ordered Asim Ghafoor to be deported on payment of a Dh5 million fine. Photo: DAWN
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A US lawyer convicted of money laundering by a UAE court has been ordered to pay a fine of Dh5 million ($1.35m).

Asim Ghafoor will be deported on payment of the penalty, Abu Dhabi Judicial Department said on Wednesday.

He was originally sentenced to three years in prison, which has now been quashed.

Last month, Ghafoor was found guilty of tax evasion and laundering at least $4.9m using international financial transfers through the UAE’s banking system.

He was initially told to pay a Dh3m fine. The ruling was amended by the Abu Dhabi money laundering and tax evasion court.

His accounts will be seized and he will be deported, Abu Dhabi Judicial Department said.

"The UAE and the US have been sharing information on the case of Asim Ghafoor for more than two years”, the UAE embassy said on Monday.

The UAE started its investigation in 2020 “after receiving an official request from the US embassy in Abu Dhabi on behalf of the US Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division for mutual legal assistance related to an ongoing probe of Ghafoor by US authorities”, authorities said.

Ghafoor was convicted in his absence on May 25 on charges of money laundering and tax evasion.

It is understood that he was arrested at Dubai airport while transiting between flights.

Updated: August 11, 2022, 6:04 AM