Posts Tagged ‘UAE’

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Tricky business in France: news roundup

March 9, 2014
  • BNP Paribas may have disguised transactions with Iran. A major settlement with the U.S. over the alleged sanctions violation may be in the offing… more>>
  • Credit Agricole and Societe Generale are under investigation by U.S. officials for helping Iran skirt sanctions too… more>> (h/t Sal)
  • During this current sanctions pause, delegates representing 120 French corporations have traveled to Tehran about potential business deals… more>>
  • U.S. regulators are concerned about France’s intentions to build satellites for the United Arab Emirates with U.S. components… more>>
  • French anti-money laundering regulator Tracfin finds that crime rings are increasingly reliant on bitcoin and other virtual curriencies… more>> (Fr)
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This Valentine’s Day, give her diamonds. (Money is easier to launder that way.)

February 14, 2014

International financial watchdog FATF has issued a report that raises concerns about the use of diamonds to launder money in five countries that voluntarily disclosed information for the report.

India cited cases of overvaluation of diamonds sold abroad as a means of transferring illicit money back to India.  Trade-based money laundering is one of, if not the largest mechanism worldwide for transferring value without being detected.

As John Cassara and Avi Jorisch have noted in their book, On the Trail of Terror Finance, “diamonds are the most condensed form of physical wealth in the world. As a result, they are widely used in global laundering and value transfer schemes.”

Cassara and Jorisch also noted that Dubai, which maintains significant business relationships with diamond dealers in Mumbai, India, “are adept at invoice manipulation,” which Dubai traders can use to transfer significant amounts of value without transferring physical money.

Thanks to Sal Imburgia for first notifying Money Jihad about the report.

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Haqqani financier with deep Gulf ties killed

November 24, 2013

The chief money man behind the Haqqani network, Nasiruddin Haqqani, has been shot dead.  He has been under U.S. sanctions since 2010; at the time the Treasury Department said, “From at least 2005 to 2009, Nasiruddin Haqqani collected funds for the Haqqani Network, including during a 2008 fundraising trip to a Gulf state and during regular travel to the (UAE) in 2007. As of mid-2007, Haqqani reportedly received funding from ­donations from the Gulf region, drug trafficking, and payments from al-Qa’ida. In 2004, he traveled to Saudi Arabia with a Taliban associate to raise funds for the Taliban.”

Nasiruddin Haqqani used to live next door to the headquarters of ISI, the Pakistani spy agency, with whom he collaborated.

The BBC reports:

… As the group’s main fundraiser, Nasiruddin frequently travelled to the oil-rich sheikhdoms of the Middle East to solicit donations.

He represented the Haqqani network in last year’s efforts to set up a Taliban office in Doha for peace talks with the United States.

He was also the group’s main contact person for pro-Taliban elements in Pakistan, as well as its representative with the Afghan Taliban.

‘Well-dressed networker’

Unlike his father and many of his brothers, Nasiruddin Haqqani and two of his uncles did not live in Miran Shah in North Waziristan. He chose to base himself near Islamabad, from where he made his many journeys abroad to secure funds.

Some sources said he had major business interests in the Gulf, including a transport company.

Nasiruddin is not thought to have been publicly photographed.

Those who have met him describe a tall, educated, well-dressed man who travelled in expensive cars and networked an extensive list of contacts all the time.

They say his appearance gave no clue to his militant connections. His code name was “the doctor”, possibly because of a degree that he had studied for.

His death will be a major blow to the Haqqanis, who will need to find someone else to spearhead their efforts to secure financing…

Shouldn’t be too hard for the ISI to anoint somebody else.

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Enforcement action news: recommended reading

October 30, 2013
  • A company in the United Arab Emirates that exported U.S. merchandise to Iran has been caught, fined, and slammed… more>>
  • A new ruling says that the Lebanese bank that funded Hezbollah through an account in New York can be sued by terror victims… more>>
  • The UN casually mentions that the latest addition to their sanctions list may have been involved in the attack in Benghazimore>>
  • Sanctions against Iran have done more damage to the Islamic Republic than anything since its war against Iraq, says a former spymaster… more>>

 

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Why jihadists ignore the ivory trade ban

October 6, 2013

It should not surprise us that terrorists who have no respect for human life have even less respect for the lives of animals, much less critically endangered ones.

A recent assessment of the Elephant Action League is that as much as 40 percent of al-Shabaab’s revenues come from the illegal trade in ivory (h/t Sal), which is driving rhinos and elephants closer toward extinction.

Why does al-Shabaab believe that it is permissible to profit from this dreadful business?  It could be purely financial (like al-Shabaab’s hyena meat sales), but it’s worth examining how al-Shabaab’s leaders would justify behavior which, on its face, may appear to contradict passages of the Koran about treating animals gently.

One consideration is that whatever protections to animals that may be afforded under Islamic law can also be overridden in the in larger interests of profit and jihad—two topics which are the focus of far more Koranic verses than animal rights.

The Koran declares, “Allah hath allowed trade” (2:275), and sharia law provides protection to Muslim traders engaged in commerce.  The prominent Islamic philosopher Imran Hosein says “we stand for a free and a fair market around the world.”  Sanctions and embargos have been called “un-Islamic,” and has been suggested that Islam generally endorses free trade without restrictions on any merchandise other than goods which are specifically declared halal such as pork and wine.

Secondly, the Islamist ivory purveyors are unlikely to accept the concept of limiting their own lucrative trade to protect what they perceive to be abstract ecological interests imposed by international, secular law.  Groups such as al-Shabaab may also reason, as have many other jihadists and their imams, that if the proceeds of illegal activity are used in the furtherance of Islam, then it is ultimately justifiable under Islamic law.

A final challenge to limiting the illegal wildlife trade is that terrorists and smugglers in Africa are often working for or with businessmen in Dubai.  Although it is a signatory to the international convention against the international trade in endangered species, the UAE is a major enabler and broker for the exploitation of Africa’s natural resources, and is a hub for the global black market.

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Bookies and athletes named in terrorism-linked gambling ring

June 10, 2013
Spot-fixing scandal update

Cricket bowler and defendant S. Sreesanth

In what is being called a “sensational twist,” three cricket players including former Rajasthan Royal bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth have been charged in a match fixing conspiracy reporting to Dawood Ibrahim, the international terror financier and mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai bombings that killed hundreds of civilians.  The direct ties between the athletes and Dawood were previously unknown.

Rediff News notes that, Dawood was “No. 3 on the Forbes’ World’s Top 10 most dreaded criminals list of 2011.”  Seventeen other cricketers have been arrested, although their ties Dawood are less clear at this point.  Sreesanth and his conspirators will be prosecuted under India’s laws against organized crime.

IPL spot-fixing: Dawood, Chhota Shakeel are suspects, say sources

CNN-IBN | Updated Jun 04

New Delhi: Sources in the Delhi Police on Tuesday said that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his close aide Chhota Shakeel are suspects in the IPL spot-fixing case.

In a sensational twist to the scandal, Delhi Police said that Sreesanth and two players were acting at the “command” of the underworld don and his aide, among India’s most wanted, as it invoked the stringent MCOCA against 23 accused in the case.

Police claimed it has “concrete” evidence like intercepted telephonic conversations to link Sreesanth and some others with D-company.

Under MCOCA, the accused face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment along with fine of Rs five lakh. Police’s disclosure came in a court which extended till June 18 the judicial custody of Sreesanth and 22 others against whom Maharasthra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) was invoked. A total of 26 people have been arrested by Delhi Police since May 16 in the case.

“Since the accused persons were acting on command of people based abroad like Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar and Chhota Shakeel who have a continuous past record of organised crimes, provisions of MCOCA have been invoked against the accused,” police told Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain.

The court, in its order, referred to the approval granted by Joint Commissioner of Police Special Cell for invoking section 3 and 4 of MCOCA and also a report citing reasons for the same.

“It has been stated that the approval for invoking MCOCA has been accorded by Joint CP (Special Cell) on the premise that the arrested persons/accused through extensive use of electronic and via media were in communication with each other and with their other associates, who are still absconding, including those associates who are based abroad.

“The illegal organised betting syndicate in India is being controlled by persons based abroad”…

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Dawood henchman oversees illicit sports betting

May 28, 2013

Authorities add spot fixing to list of crimes by international terror financier

The current sports gambling scandal in India over fixed cricket matches may trace back to international terror financier Dawood Ibrahim and his D-Gang syndicate, according to sources in the Delhi police department.

Sunil Dubai, a Dawood lieutenant and bookie kingpin, oversees the spot fixing from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, but travels frequently to Karachi, Pakistan, and has family in London.

Dawood Ibrahim was the mastermind and financier of the 1993 Mumbai bombings that killed 257 people.

From the sports pages of the Times of India:

Spot-fixing in IPL: Dawood’s man in Dubai mastermind of betting racket

C Unnikrishnan & Raj Shekhar, TNN May 17, 2013

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: The mastermind of the cricket betting syndicate is said to be a Dubai-based Dawood Ibrahim man named Sunil Ramchandani alias Sunil Dubai while the principal bookie referred to as ‘Jupiter’ in phone intercepts is a person called Chandresh. He is reportedly close to several politicians, builders and police officers.

“The hawala route in the payout of money indicates links to Dawood gang,” said a Delhi Police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The increase in the seizure of ‘dabba phones’ – phones on which betting rates are taken from Dubai – in recent days from betting syndicates seem to confirm that Dawood’s men control much of this cash-spinning industry running into thousands of crores.”

While Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar didn’t elaborate on the Dubai-Karachi connection, terming the link as that of the ‘Mumbai underworld’ whose kingpin lives abroad, sources in the special cell said that a team was probing Dawood’s connection with the bookies and joining the dots using tip-offs gathered.

“We’re trying to figure out whether the Dubai number used by the bookie kingpin actually originated in Dubai or somewhere else. The wires of this operation extend to Karachi, Dubai, Jaipur, Kolkata and Ahmedabad,” said a Delhi cop, adding that the teams are in most of these places for further investigations.

Intelligence sources said Sunil Dubai started his operations in Mumbai about 20 years ago before shifting base to Dubai. “He used to shuttle between Dubai and Mumbai to coordinate operations till a few years ago,” said a senior Mumbai police officer. Mumbai police issued a look-out notice after his name cropped up in betting cases involving a number of bookies. From Dubai, Sunil applied for anticipatory bail in a Mumbai court, but his plea was rejected last month.

Sunil took over the betting business after Sharad Shetty, also a Dawood man, was assassinated by rival gangster Chhota Rajan’s men in Dubai 10 years ago. Sunil’s family is believed to be in London. He frequently travels to Karachi, where Dawood and his right hand man Chhota Shakeel are based. Sources in the police said he heads a business worth over Rs 500 crore spread across Mumbai, Delhi, Dubai and Karachi.

It is learnt that a few years ago, he bought most of an apartment building near Mantralaya, the Maharashtra government headquarters.

“The five-storey building was initially occupied by Indian Navy officials. He bought most of the flats except one owned by the state government. He is trying to capture that too. He intends to redevelop it once he manages to buy the last flat,” said a person with knowledge of the deal.

Several Mumbai bookies owe their allegiance to him. “He decides the betting rate and the others follow it. Cricket fixing cannot happen without his go-ahead,” said sources.

As for Jupiter/Chandresh, sources said he shifted his base to Delhi some time ago after Mumbai police began cracking down on bookies. He had operated from Mumbai along with Ahmedabad-based Naresh Majethia for close to 15 years ago. The police are said to be gathering more information on Chandresh’s operations here.

It all began with the interception of calls between Dubai and Karachi that had alarmed the special cell who mistook them first as “coded exchange between terrorists”. But, further interceptions led to the unraveling of connections between IPL players and bookies.

The cops will now question Ramesh Vyas, a bookie arrested by the Mumbai police on Tuesday, who was the link between Indian and Pakistani ‘bookies’ and had exchanged around 30 calls to Pakistan, an officer said.

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Clandestine finance news: recommended reading

May 16, 2013
  • It took Kuwait 12 years after 9/11 to outlaw the financing of terrorism. That was still faster than Sweden…  more>>
  • A Dubai subsidiary illegally transfers software to Syria, and incurs the second biggest fine in the history of export controlmore>>
  • Bitcoin‘s sales pitch was based on freedom from regulation. Not so fast, say the feds… more>>

 

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Sheltering the ill-gotten gains of Dawood Ibrahim

April 9, 2013

Dawood Ibrahim, the second wealthiest terrorist ever, and his criminal D-Gang syndicate sit atop a multi-billion empire.  Much of that wealth has been offshored to the Nassau branch of Bank of Baroda in the Bahamas, according to new investigative reporting.

Firms in Dubai have served as the intermediaries for Ibrahim to transfer funds from Pakistan through the United Arab Emirates to secondary tax havens.  Ibrahim is able to get away with his terrorist operations and criminal financial activities because 1) he is basically supported and shielded by the government of Pakistan, and 2) Dubai can facilitate just about any illicit transaction you can imagine.

The Bank of Baroda has denied the allegations.

Thanks to Shreekant Sahu for sending us a link to this excellent article from the India-based news website Firstpost:

Dawood Ibrahim’s blood-money washes up in Nassau

Twenty years after he paid for the bombs which tore through Mumbai in 1993, killing 257 people, organised crime kingpin Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar’s cash has begun washing up on the shores of Nassau island – known for its perfect beaches, perfect weather, and zero-tax, high-secrecy banking. Ibrahim, a Firstpost investigation has found, has emerged as the principal provider of financial services to narcotics traffickers and jihadists across South Asia – a business pegged at over $3.5 billion a year, which uses front companies to access the global financial system.

Ibrahim, transnational crime expert Gretchen Peters says, has become the, “the Goldman Sachs of organised crime. They’re highly transnational, they move billions of dollars annually, and service a wide range of clients from corrupt officials, to drug traffickers to terrorists”.

Last year, highly-placed government sources told Firstpost, the Bank of Baroda’s Nassau branch saw successive wire transfers of several hundred thousand dollars from Dubai-based currency exchanges suspected of laundering organised crime proceeds. The firms, sources have told Firstpost, included the al-Dirham Exchange named in an Indian government dossier on Dawood Ibrahim’s operations.

“From the bank’s point of view”, the source said, “they’re doing nothing illegal, or even wrong. From our point of view, there’s a real concern: whose money is this, and where is it going”? Read the rest of this entry ?

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BCCI bankrolled the father of the “Islamic bomb”

March 15, 2013

Founded by a Pakistani banker with prominent Gulf investors, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) became a depository of wealth acquired by Arab officials during the oil embargo against the U.S. in the 1970s.

BCCI took their profits and invested in fraudulent enterprises.  According to History Commons, BCCI also set up a charitable foundation in the 1980s which gave most of its money to A.Q. Khan, the scientist created the first nuclear bomb ever possessed by an Islamic country—Pakistan:

1981 and After: BCCI Charity Front Funnels Money to A. Q. Khan’s Nuclear Program

In 1981, the criminal BCCI bank sets up a charity called the BCCI Foundation. Pakistani Finance Minister Ghulam Ishaq Khan grants it tax-free status, and it supposedly spends millions on charitable purposes. Khan serves as the chairman of the foundation while also running the books for A. Q. Khan’s Kahuta Research Laboratories. Ghulam Ishaq Khan will be president of Pakistan from 1988 to 1993. (Levy and Scott-Clark, 2007, pp. 126-127) BCCI founder Agha Hasan Abedi announces that he will donate up to 90% of BCCI’s profits to charity through the foundation, and he develops a positive reputation from a few well-publicized charitable donations. But the charity is actually used to shelter BCCI profits. Most of the money it raises goes to A. Q. Khan’s nuclear program and not to charitable causes. For instance, in 1987 it gives a single $10 million donation to an institute headed by A. Q. Khan. Millions more go to investments in a front company owned by BCCI figure Ghaith Pharaon. (Beaty and Gwynne, 1993, pp. 290-291) An investigation by the Los Angeles Times will reveal that less than 10% of the money went to charity. (Los Angeles Times, 8/9/1991) BCCI uses other means to funnel even more money into A. Q. Khan’s nuclear program.

Later on, Khan sold nuclear secrets to rogue regimes to develop their own nuclear programs.  BCCI has also been implicated in financial deals with Osama Bin Laden, and Khan’s men may have shared nuclear information with Al Qaeda.

Just a few weeks ago, Khan, who formed a political party of his own, announced a coalition with Jamaat-e-Islami, a political party closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.  What could go wrong?

Thanks to Twitter user @RushetteNY for suggesting coverage related to this topic.

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Black money news: recommended reading

March 8, 2013

• Jiminy cricket! Our friend El Grillo says a “Stockholm suicide bomber falsely claimed student loans to fund his terrorist activity.”  The latest case of debt financing the jihadmore>>

• The good news is that Indian financial institutions are getting better about filing suspicious transaction reports. The bad news is that it makes it look like India has experienced a 300 percent increase in terrorist financing activity since last year.  Maybe they have… more>>

• Which way is the wind blowing?  Towards Iran.  Just ask Europe about its renewable energy sanctions waiver for Iranian wind power.  Thanks to Willauer Prosky for sending this in… more>>

• International financial watchdog FATF is supposed to counter the financing of terrorism. But lately it seems more focused on getting countries to pass meaningless laws and high-fiving itself… more from Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld>>

Money Jihad has covered the illicit wildlife trade, particularly in cheetahs by rich Arab buyers. But even we didn’t know how extensive the cheetah market has become in Dubai.  No reporting yet on how the smugglers use the revenues… more>>

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