Weekly news – 15 June 2018
What do you think of when someone mentions Dubai? Luxury hotels, skyscrapers, man-made islands? Dubai projects an image to the world of an ultra-modern, extravagant and luxurious utopia. However, behind the sparkling façade lies one of the most secretive – and cash-friendly – money-laundering hubs in the world.
This week, an investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Centre for Advanced Studies (C4ADS) alleges that the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) secretive and weakly regulated financial sector and unaccountable high-end real estate market combine to offer a safe haven for money laundering and the corrupt.
Leaked private real estate data reveals that organised crime figures, politicians and high net worth individuals are flocking to Dubai to purchase property, hide their wealth and avoid sanctions or taxes.
Despite some improvements on paper in their anti-money laundering laws, Dubai seems to conduct little enforcement of these rules – a worrying sign that they don’t take their own regulations seriously.
Next year, UAE will host a high-level meeting of signatories to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Ahead of this, we call on UAE to strengthen the enforcement of its property and financial sectors and crack down on existing abuse in both areas.
News from Transparency International
At the start of June, the Spanish parliament voted to oust Prime Minister Rajoy after his political party was embroiled in the biggest corruption scandal in Spain’s democratic history. Although Gürtel is by far the most high-profile corruption scandal in Spain in years, it is far from the only one. There may be signs of a new climate of accountability, however.
As former president of Panama Ricardo Martinelli returns to his home country following his extradition from the United States, Transparency International urges authorities to ensure that he is kept in detention and tried in a fair process for the full extent of his alleged crimes.
New on Voices for Transparency
The four candidates running to head Mexico’s Federal Government have pledged to fight corruption fiercely at an unseen scale. However, it seems that the strength of their anti-corruption proposals do not yet match the loud voices of their speeches.
Source: Transparency International
Despite some improvements on paper in their anti-money laundering laws, Dubai seems to conduct little enforcement of these rules - a worrying sign that they don’t take their own regulations seriously.