Abu Dhabi court jails six money launderers and imposes fines of Dh160m

Turnover of two accounts held by drug-trafficking gang totalled about Dh8m in six months

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, July 31, 2012:  
UAE dirhams. (Silvia Razgova / The National)

Abu Dhabi Criminal Court jailed six Pakistani citizens for money laundering.

The men were fined Dh10 million each. Two companies owned by one of the men were also fined Dh50m each.

Authorities accused the six of selling drugs and conducting suspicious banking transactions to conceal the origin of funds.

Investigators uncovered a complex web of trafficking controlled by the gang.

Gang members directed buyers to the drugs after money was deposited into bank accounts of the accused in the UAE or into the accounts of the two companies.  The turnover of the two accounts reached about Dh8m ($2.17m) in six months, which was not compatible with the activities of the two companies.

These illicit funds were then transferred to Pakistan using money exchanges.

Close to Dh2m was found in one of the men's homes and investigators found that the men's bank accounts had recorded a significant turnover not consistent with the account holder's activities.

It was also revealed that at least 50 deposits were made to an account of one of the men with values between Dh500 and Dh1,000. The investigation found that eight of the people who deposited money had a history of drug addiction.

Investigators also proved one of the men had accounts with two other banks in the name of two companies he owned.

Abu Dhabi Judicial Department said the UAE has a special judicial structure to combat financial crimes, which clamped down on money-laundering operations and helped arrest those involved.

Abu Dhabi in November established a dedicated court to tackle money laundering and tax evasion.

Earlier this year, the Central Bank said the UAE had made significant progress with a plan to combat money laundering and interrupt terrorist finances.