Abu Dhabi court jails 13 for money laundering and tax evasion

Fines totalling more than Dh100 million imposed on defendants and their companies

The court sentenced four defendants in person, and the other nine defendants in their absence. Photo: Abu Dhabi Judicial Department
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Abu Dhabi Criminal Court has convicted 13 defendants and seven companies belonging to them for money laundering and tax evasion.

The court found the accused guilty of laundering Dh510 million through point-of-sale devices at a travel agency.

The court sentenced four defendants in person, and the rest of the defendants in their absence, to five to 10 years in jail.

It also ordered the confiscation of the seized funds, the deportation of the convicted individuals from the country after serving their sentences, and imposed fines ranging from Dh5 million ($1.36 million) to Dh10 million.

The seven companies involved were fined Dh10 million each.

The case revolves around the defendants forming an organised criminal group to provide unauthorised credit facilities using point-of-sale devices owned by several companies.

The activity was carried out at the premises of a travel agency owned by two of the defendants, which acted as headquarters for their criminal operation.

Some of the defendants exploited the powers granted to them to use the bank accounts of companies owned by others to covertly conduct fictitious purchases.

The bank transaction reports and financial analysis issued by the Financial Information Unit indicated an unusually high volume of financial activity in and out of the bank accounts of the defendants and their companies in a short period of time.

There were also numerous financial operations on the accounts through deposits, withdrawals and transfers that attempted to conceal their source.

In December last year, UAE authorities fined six companies Dh3.2 million for breaching anti-money laundering laws.

The companies were fined after inspections by the Ministry of Economy.

The businesses included real estate agents and brokers, precious metals and gemstone dealers, auditors and corporate service providers.

Updated: May 18, 2023, 12:16 PM