Abu Dhabi: 79 people convicted of fraud, money laundering
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Abu Dhabi: 79 people convicted of fraud, money laundering

Abu Dhabi: 79 people convicted of fraud, money laundering

The group comprised 72 Chinese nationals, one Jordanian, two Nigerians, two Cameroonians, one Ugandan and one Kenyan

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The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court has convicted an organised criminal group consisting of 79 people from different nationalities on charges of fraud and money laundering.

The group specialised in internet fraud by using fake URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) of a Chinese website offering securities brokerage and trading services, and using deception to induce their victims to invest in securities with the aim of appropriating the value of their investment, according to news agency WAM.

In addition, the group committed the crime of money laundering in order to conceal the source of the sums they received.

The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court which has jurisdiction over crimes of money laundering and tax evasion ruled, in presence, against 66 defendants and, in absentia, against 13 others who were part of the same criminal enterprise.

The group comprised 72 Chinese nationals, one Jordanian, two Nigerians, two Cameroonians, one Ugandan and one Kenyan.

The court sentenced them them to prison terms ranging from three to 15 years with deportation from the country after serving their respective sentences.

It also issued fines ranging from Dhs200,000 to Dhs1m for each accused, while confiscating all funds that were seized from the accused, as well as their bank balances, real estate, cars, computers, mobile phones, watches and jewellery.

The accused individuals were also reported to be involved in association with another unknown accused person in tampering with the internet protocols of a China-based website specialised in securities trading, using a fictitious address belonging to others with the intention of defrauding the victims who were lured into investing in securities.

In March, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recognised that the UAE has made positive progress in its anti-money laundering, countering the financing of terrorism (CFT), and counter proliferation financing (CPF) efforts. With the aim of ensuring the success and sustainability of the UAE’s efforts to strengthen its anti-financial crime framework, FATF has announced that it has placed the UAE under increased monitoring.

The UAE’s Executive Office to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing earlier said that the total value of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing penalties collected in 2021 amounted to nearly $1.048bn. This amount comprised asset seizures worth $625m, fines for non-compliance to anti-money laundering and terrorism financing regulations worth $64m, penalties on major financial institutions in the UAE worth $5.3m, tax evasion and money laundering fines on individuals worth $10.8m, confiscations valued at $109m, preventive measures to address terrorist financing and collective actions amounting to $234m against 48 defendants and companies convicted in one case by the Abu Dhabi Courts for money laundering and fraud.

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