Abu Dhabi court imposes hefty fines, jail terms on 40 people, 8 companies for money laundering
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Abu Dhabi court imposes hefty fines, jail terms on 40 people, 8 companies for money laundering

Abu Dhabi court imposes hefty fines, jail terms on 40 people, 8 companies for money laundering

The accused are charged with creating a fraudulent digital platform through which they engaged in illegal economic activities

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A court in Abu Dhabi has convicted 40 defendants of different nationalities as well as eight companies on charges of forming a fraudulent organisation and engaging in illegal economic activities.

The accused are charged with preparing and designing a digital platform through which they committed “fraud and engaged in money laundering”, the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court stated.

The defendants have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 10 years and have been collectively fined nearly Dhs860m. All their assets and proceeds from the crime have been confiscated, and 23 expatriate convicts face deportation, official news agency WAM reported.

Each of the 23 main defendants has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined Dhs10m, while 11 of them have received jail terms of seven years and fined Dhs10m.

One defendant received a five-year sentence with a fine of Dhs10m, and five others received a six-month jail term and were fined D20,000 each, as they were convicted for collecting illegal funds.

The convicted companies also have to pay a fine of Dhs50m each.

According to the details of the case, security officials received information about a ‘new gang’ consisting of 17 Emiratis, 16 Iranians, two Indians, one Saudi, one Mauritanian, one American, one Greek and one Comorian, who engaged in “fraud, unlicensed economic operations and money laundering”.

Investigations revealed that the group had illegally simulated a digital trading platform in the stock market using funds collected from subscribers and shareholders, and conned the victims into believing they were receiving profits ranging between 16 per cent and 18 per cent of the invested capital per month.

They also “deceived the victims by providing them with the possibility of manual trading of shares” through companies in the country, the WAM report stated. The group then announced the conversion of the victims’ funds into a ‘fake digital currency’ called Foin, with investors unable to recover their capital.

According to the investigation, from 2015 to 2017, the group managed an unlicenced organisation headed in the Middle East region by an Iranian national, who created an hierarchical communication structure between his accomplices, allowing each of them to only know the person they were reporting to.

The accused avoided receiving cheques or money transfers from the victims and instead conducted operations in cash.

The group also created teams to organise work, conducted training workshops, and held “massive concerts” attended by international artists, the report added.

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