Posts Tagged ‘Dubai’

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Dubai: a Mecca for sex trafficking

April 3, 2015

Watch this video to understand some of the basics about prostitution and human trafficking in the United Arab Emirates:

Money Jihad has previously noted that there are connections between jihadist groups and human trafficking syndicates. A study by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center found that Individuals [within the global illicit marketplace] involved in other illicit activities link to terrorists 35 percent of the time.” Although the video excerpt tends to focus on the women and their experiences, there are powerful networks operating behind them to coerce them into the sex business and skim millions of dollars off the top. Rest assured that the profits from the sex business aren’t being used to build schools and hospitals.

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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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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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Panhandlers flock to U.A.E. for Ramadan begging season

August 14, 2012

Muslim beggars are migrating west from India to the United Arab Emirates to shake down wealthy Gulf residents this Ramadan.  No word on how the alms seekers are paying for their airfare, but it sounds like it’s worth the investment.

At first we wondered if bulk cash smuggling were taking place as money is moved out of Dubai and back into India without being declared, but from the article it appears as though hawala is the primary mechanism for the capital flight.  The article doesn’t mention it, but hawala is essentially illegal in India.  Yet regulators and law enforcement seem to let this activity continue with impunity.

Thanks to Puneet for sending this eyebrow-raising article in from the Times of India on Aug. 10:

Indians pack bags for Dubai ‘begging fest’ during Ramzan

CHENNAI: Scores of Indians are flying to Dubai on a ‘business opportunity’ during Ramzan. Not all of them return soon enough though, as the business of begging is an offence in the Gulf country.

The Dubai police have arrested 131 people, including 16 from Tamil Nadu, for begging during the holy month. Devout Muslims are generous with alms (zakat) during Ramzan, though seeking alms in public can land one in trouble.

Diplomatic sources said a lot of Asians head for Dubai during the season. A beggar from Pakistan was caught with 18,000 Dirhams (around 2.45 lakh) during a recent raid. According to the Dubai police, this is an annual organised operation. “Even employed people come from different countries to seek alms in Dubai during Ramzan,” said a source. “After paying for their return tickets and the short stay, they still carry a handsome amount back home.”

A youth employed in a media organization in Dubai boasted that he made a cool 1,200 Dirhams (16,200) in a matter of ten minutes by seeking arms on the road a few days ago.

Though details of Indians arrested for begging in Dubai were not known, sources said that all of them had Indian passports and visit visas valid for 45 days. Diplomatic sources said they were from Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Assam. Those from Tamil Nadu hailed from Vellore, Ramanathapuram and Tirunelveli districts.

Those arrested are produced before courts and serve a jail term of up to three months. “Those who come to beg here know the penalty. Many think it is worth taking the risk,” said an Indian diplomat in the Gulf.

This year a number of police officials, some of who are women, have fanned out to mosques and shopping malls in the emirate to nab the beggars. A Dubai visit visa for example can be obtained for 75,000 through an agent and this investment is much less compared to the kind of money one could make from begging. The money obtained by begging cannot be transferred to India through official banking channels. Hawala operators help solve this problem with a 24 x 7 service to move money from Dubai to Tamil Nadu.

This is the system used by illegal Indian labourers in the Gulf as they cannot open a bank account or send money through exchange houses as they do not have a valid passport or a residential visa.

Bahrain, Muscat and Qatar are also preferred begging destinations during Ramzan.

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Michigan State declined Iran-backed Dubai campus bailout

April 15, 2012

Good for MSU and Lou Simon.  If they had accepted the funds, it’s very likely that Michigan State could have been held responsible for violations of sanctions laws and an even greater financial risk.  Not to mention the moral problem of working with an investor that may have been helping Iran gain money and scientific resources to acquire nuclear weapons to destroy Israel.

Normally we hear about undue influence from Saudi (Sunni) money on Western universities, but apparently Iran has tried buying academic influence as well.  From Bloomberg on Apr. 8, which says American universities are “infected” by foreign spies:

Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon contacted the Central Intelligence Agency in late 2009 with an urgent question.

The school’s campus in Dubai needed a bailout and an unlikely savior had stepped forward: a Dubai-based company that offered to provide money and students.

Simon was tempted. She also worried that the company, which had investors from Iran and wanted to recruit students from there, might be a front for the Iranian government, she said. If so, an agreement could violate federal trade sanctions and invite enemy spies.

The CIA couldn’t confirm that the company wasn’t an arm of Iran’s government. Simon rejected the offer and shut down undergraduate programs in Dubai, at a loss of $3.7 million…

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Indian Mujahideen gave hawala for 13/7 attacks

February 10, 2012

In a follow-up to Tuesday’s post about the money trail behind the 13/7 Mumbai terror attacks, Indian anti-terrorism police have uncovered an additional link in the financial pipeline behind the jihadist carnage that left 26 dead.

We had already learned that 13/7 mastermind Yasin Bhatkal received funding for the attack from Kanwar Nain Patrija (also spelled Pathreja), a hawala dealer.

Hawala is simply a transfer, so somebody had to give Patrija the money in the first place.  Now we know who:  Indian Mujahideen members Riyaz Bhatkal and Haroon Rashid, who was arrested last year on separate but not altogether unrelated charges of counterfeiting, have been named in the investigation.  Indian television reports that Haroon Rashid also has ties to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al Qaeda.  Roll tape:

More from DNA on Feb. 3, including information on the Dubai origins of the illicit cash:

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Pakistan sends more fake cash for India jihad

January 17, 2012

Further evidence of Pakistani counterfeiting of Indian currency to support Islamic terrorist operations has come to light.  The latest news from India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) also implicates Dubai (UAE) as a conduit for the funny money on its route from Karachi back through the Gulf, then on to Kerala in India for distribution to jihadists.

Islamic law permits theft against “disbelievers” and does not accept the legitimacy of infidel paper currencies, which legitimizes counterfeiting as a jihadist tactic.

Thanks to Creeping Sharia (actually, @creepingsharia on Twitter) for the link to this story via Haindava Keralam:

Fake currency for Jihad: NIA identifies kingpin

28/12/2011 01:20:21  Daily Pioneer – Kochi

The NIA has identified the main culprit behind the smuggling of Pakistan-manufactured counterfeit “Indian” currency notes into Kerala. The agency has also reportedly found that the counterfeit currencies were smuggled into Kerala to help Jihadi operations in the State.

The kingpin of the operation was identified as one Aboobacker of Kanhangad in Kasaragod district and the NIA has found him to be residing presently in Dubai. The agency is likely to send a team to Dubai for further investigations. The case had started with the confiscation of counterfeit currencies “worth” Rs 8,96,000 from Thalipparamba, Kannur on September 11.

The agency, which on Tuesday submitted its preliminary probe report in the Special CBI Court (designated NIA court) in Kochi, included two more persons – Aboobacker, also brother of second accused Kamal Haji, and Muthuvankattil Shanavas of Thrissur – as accused in the case.

The NIA has found that the counterfeit currencies, manufactured in Pakistan, were smuggled first into Dubai from Karachi port in containers and then rerouted to Kerala by air. The agency’s information is that such currencies “worth” crores of rupees have been smuggled into Kerala for helping Jihadi operations.

The agency has also learned that first accused Pradeep Kumar and Kamal Haji had gone abroad to examine the “quality” of the counterfeit currencies. The NIA had taken over the investigation of the case after doubts were aired about its possible connections to extremist operations.

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E*Trade’s unknown Dubai customers

May 9, 2011

The online stock trading company E*Trade owes Dubai at least $200,000 and up to $300,000 in fines for its failures to comply with anti-money laundering requirements including know-your-customer provisions.

What’s disturbing about the news is the faint suggestion that nefarious characters could be investing and trading with E*Trade’s Dubai unit.  E*Trade is closing 1,200 customer accounts in the wake of this news.  That means E*Trade may have had 1,200 customers for whom they could not document the source of their wealth or for whom they lacked current customer information.

Hat tip to Bachir El-Nakib from Compliance Alert for the following:

E*TRADE acknowledges these deficiencies which include failing to:

  • Obtain sufficient documentary evidence of its clients’ origin of funds and/or sources of wealth;
  • Obtain, for some of its clients, sufficient documentary evidence of address or appropriately certified copy documents;
  • Have adequate polices in place to ensure that documentation concerning a client’s identity remains accurate and up-to-date, resulting in E*TRADE’s failure to request and obtain updated Know Your Customer documents;
  • Have policies, procedures, systems and controls to adequately address the need to assess the money laundering risk of its clients; and
  • Ensure that its compliance resources were sufficient given the nature and scale of its business activities.

Now if Dubai could just apply the same standards to real estate corporations, zakat charities, and hawaladars in the U.A.E., we’d be on the right track.

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Dubai atop a “toxic tide of illicit cash”

January 29, 2010

Today’s post involves another news story about the connections between crime and terrorism.  However, this article is better than average, because it doesn’t try to equate terrorism with international crime, like the speech analyzed here in yesterday’s post.

Last Sunday’s Guardian printed a follow-up to the story of hawaladar Naresh Jain’s arrest.  I’ve blogged about Jain here earlier, so I’ll cut out the background and go straight to the heart of the Guardian piece, which is how Dubai was the perfect setting for Jain’s and other people’s crimes:

Jain has reportedly admitted to Indian police that he has laundered cash, but denies being involved in the drugs trade.

However, investigators believe that his businesses are based on huge sums of cash originating in Africa and passed on to him by diamond smugglers and drug dealers – and that most of that illicit cash flows into Dubai. But the allegations against him do not make him unique in the emirate. “[Jain’s arrest] was an important incident, but many wanted men reside in Dubai,” says Dr Christopher Davidson, an expert on Gulf economics at the University of ­Durham.

To many, Jain is the latest, perhaps the biggest, example that proves the United Arab Emirates is not so much awash with vast oil wealth but built on a toxic tide of illicit cash: a place where Russian mafia and drug cartels clean their dirty cash and al‑Qaida finances terror atrocities. And at its heart is Dubai, a world financial centre that in the past 15 years has grown exponentially.

As Dubai’s ruling elite pick through the wreckage of its bombed-out economy, which exploded under the weight of $60bn of debt last year, an equally pressing issue threatens to undermine not just Dubai but the UAE as a whole.

Next month, a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the powerful intergovernmental body responsible for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorist networks, will meet in Abu Dhabi. The meeting is expected to establish which countries to put on a high-risk jurisdiction list following a request by G20 finance ministers last year. It is thought likely that the UAE will feature on the list. Such a development would be a serious blow to the money men of Dubai, but would confirm many people’s fears that it remains a port of choice for dirty cash. Read the rest of this entry ?