Le Monde: Property in Dubai is a haven for the money of oligarchs and criminals

The newspaper added that since the outbreak of war in Ukraine on February 24, there has been a fear that the Russian oligarchs will transfer their wealth there to escape the sanctions. In early March, the global anti-money laundering body, FATF, put Dubai on the gray list of countries that have asked to close their loopholes in the fight against dirty money: finances but also luxury property, a major factor for money laundering, which dominates the larger puzzle. These fears were confirmed today by a database that, according to Le Monde, was able to access them, which revealed the identities of 274,000 owners of 800,000 properties in Dubai. It was obtained by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), a U.S. think tank – composed of former U.S. officers and academics, that investigates international crimes and conflicts.

top Russian politicians

And Le Monde added that this database, which has so far been inaccessible to the general public, as well as to the press and researchers, reveals the darkest side of Dubai, as the list of property owners in the emirate includes not only businessmen and women who came to enjoy the economic dynamics of the small emirate. His financial generosity: There are also a large number of people involved in criminal activities (fraud, corruption, drug trafficking, etc.), which are targeted by judicial investigations or under international sanctions.

For example, the name of Alexander Borodai, who is known to have been briefly in 2014, appears the “Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic”, installed by pro-Russian separatists in the context of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. He was then elected to the Duma in 2021. During his rapid rise in the Russian political scene, he secretly acquired a large apartment in the luxury apartment complex Grandeur Residences-Maurya, located on the famous Palm Jumeirah.

The list of property owners in the Emirate of Dubai not only includes businessmen and women who came to enjoy the economic dynamics of the small emirate and its financial generosity: there are also a large number of people involved in criminal activities

Less than 3 kilometers further there is a more modest apartment, 109 square meters, worth 430 000 dollars (409 000 euros), owned by fellow MP Roman Lyabikov, which in 2021 under the name of the Russian Communist Party was elected.
Le Monde goes on to explain that the two men came into contact with well-known oligarchs in the leak: Ruslan Baysarov, a Russian businessman close to Ramzan Kadyrov, the approved Chechen dictator, who provided Russia with soldiers and military resources for his conquest of Ukraine, and Dmitry Rybolovlev, who enjoys wealth and controversial methods, and holds On to a Cypriot passport, he is the president of the French football club Monaco.
As a result, “Le Monde” claims, more than a hundred members of the Russian political elite, government officials and businessmen near the Kremlin own real estate in Dubai. A phenomenon that is likely to increase, given the neutrality that the UAE has shown towards the Russian attack on Ukraine, and its refusal to apply the sanctions that the West has voted on. The money invested in Cyprus, which is considered a refuge for oligarchs, can find refuge there in particular.

suspected cocaine smuggling

But Russian money is not the only one that is heavily invested in this large financial center in the Middle East and raises questions, as appeared in the Dubai Uncovered files, as there are dozens of Europeans involved in money laundering and corruption cases.

Included in this list are the names of several suspects involved in the “Cum-Ex” scam, an international scam that was exposed in mid-2010 affecting the public finances of several European countries, including Germany, Denmark. , Belgium and France, damaged.
Le Monde wondered, by opening the doors of money wide from all over the world, would Dubai become a haven for criminals? Referring to what the Tax Justice Network wrote to NGOs in 2020, “Dubai follows an approach in dealing with commercial and financial regulation, as well as foreign financial crimes, which is to ask no questions and see no harm.[…]“.

pure tax haven

Le Monde further said that data obtained by C4ADS estimates the value of foreign-owned properties in Dubai at at least $ 146 billion, a staggering amount that represents almost a third of the emirate’s real estate market. And 27 percent of listed properties in Dubai are owned by foreigners. Even more than that, since 7 percent of the owners listed in the real estate registry can not be linked to a nationality.
These colossal sums make the tiny emirate one of the largest marine real estate centers on the planet. This amount is actually twice the value of London apartments and houses owned by non-residents, and even higher than the total value of all French real estate owned by non-residents ($ 131 billion in 2019).
India owns 20% of the total foreign-owned property in Dubai, part of which is also owned by Europeans. For example, 3,256 French people (athletes, businessmen, rich people, etc.) own just under 5,000 properties, with an average value of $ 400,000, Le Monde points out.

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