The Independent: Dubai Real Estate is a haven for fraudsters, criminals, Russian oligarchs and tax evaders

London – “Al-Quds Al-Arabi”: The Independent newspaper published a report prepared by Borzou Dergahi, in which he touched on the dirty Russian money of Russia and Europe, which was flooding the real estate market in Dubai.

In the report, the author talked about data obtained by an investigative institute in Washington using a reliable source in Dubai, and found that the real estate market in the emirate “a safe haven for corrupt international officials, organized crime and a large number of players in the illegal trade, from drug trafficking to Russian oligarchs. ” .

For example, in Dubai, he combines a Russian businessman linked to Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a supporter of President Vladimir Putin’s efforts in Ukraine, an Irish organized crime group leader involved in cocaine smuggling, and a Czech citizen accused by the US sanctioned. Treasury for its involvement in an encrypted electronic money exchange operation that has become a subject of extortion They have one thing in common: they all own houses in Dubai, which have emerged as a hub for dirty money and laundry.

The emirate, with a population of 3.5 million people, is one of seven emirates, yet it still accounts for 3% of the world’s foreign real estate market. The study, published by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies “C4EDS” in the US capital, Washington, stated that “these networks come to the UAE to reap the benefits of high secrecy and the gap in the process of law enforcement and the use of high- property to store and launder money illegally earned “.

The statements were released this week with a group of news organizations led by the Norwegian online newspaper E24 and the Organized Crime and Corruption Monitoring Project. The latest data is based on 800,000 properties, all in Dubai, and contributes to its well-known image as a playground for the rich and cheaters who hide their money while practicing their hobbies by playing golf, visiting nightclubs, after good restaurants to go. and resorts on the beach.

“Some tax havens are used as a postal address for companies used to hide wealth owned elsewhere,” says Professor Annette Alstadster at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, who leads a team of academics conducting independent data analysis on do it anonymously. . But in Dubai you can basically use your money and hide it at real estate and use it. ”

Dargahi said a number of wealthy Russians had moved their yachts there, where they moored off the coast of Dubai to avoid Western sanctions. And the Financial Times reported last week that the Russian oligarchs are looking for ways to swap their properties in London for one in Dubai, and to move away from Western censorship and organizations that want to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. A few years ago, C4EDS identified 180 properties in Dubai that he said were linked to people who had been punished. Among the well-known figures who have been sanctioned and have a presence in Dubai is the well-known Turkish gangster Sedat Bakr, who last year revealed his relationship with officials in Ankara through a series of videos. And there is the Bulgarian oligarch, casino owner Vasyl Pukhov, who threatened officials in Sofia to reveal the secrets of the government of former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

And in the 46-page academic study entitled “Who Owns Foreign Property? Evidence from Dubai” Foreigners control a quarter of the $ 146 billion real estate market, twice the ratio in London, the researchers found. list of property owners appeared in Dubai, 70% of them violated the law by not informing the tax authorities, indicating that many investors use Dubai to hide their wealth.The UAE does not allow foreigners to own property no, but non-Emirati residents can buy property with a 99-year lease.

Indian citizens are among the largest foreign property owners in Dubai, with 35,000 people. They are followed by the British, who number 23,000, and citizens of the European Union are in third place. Twenty journalists from Western and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, the Baltic states and the Balkans sifted through the data, searching for the names of notorious fraudsters and manipulators. The team of journalists found that there are more than 100 Russian politicians, media personalities and oligarchs near the Kremlin. In addition to several names of Europeans accused of money laundering, embezzlement and corruption, including refugees from the court. Among the Russian names who own property in Dubai, Ruslan Baysarov, a businessman of Chechen origin and a relationship with Kadyrov, who sent his forces to Ukraine, has been accused of war crimes.

And there is Alexander Borodai, a former deputy in the Russian parliament who played a prominent role in supporting separatist forces in eastern Ukraine. Among the property owners is also Daniel Kinhan, who is accused of belonging to a gang and having a relationship with the world of boxing, and the United States has imposed sanctions against him, and the UAE froze his financial assets last month . Another name is Tibor Bokor, the CEO of a cryptocurrency company used by extortionists and criminals and faced by US sanctions.

Miroslav Fibo, a Slovak citizen facing charges of corruption, owns property in Dubai, although a representative of the Organized Crime and Corruption Project said he had never lived in Dubai and was trying to seize his property. sell. Italian meat trader Francesco Giordano, who was arrested for tax evasion, is said to own a number of flats in Dubai, albeit with a different owner.

The newspaper says that Dubai has not shown willingness to disclose the files and stop allowing the fraudulent rich to hide their money in its coast. Experts believe that the imposition of Western sanctions on future contracts to and from Dubai may be the only way to persuade the emirate to move. “The latest research is another piece of evidence that reveals the damage of secrecy,” says Professor Alstadster. “Secrecy is not good, and it helps tax evasion, as well as corruption, money laundering and even terrorist financing.”

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