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UAE Convicts US Citizen with Money Laundering

UAE Convicts US Citizen with Money Laundering

Thursday, 11 August, 2022 - 06:00
A general view of Abu Dhabi, UAE. (WAM)

The Abu Dhabi Money Laundering and Tax Evasion Court convicted a US citizen, Asim Abdul Rahman Ghafoor, of committing money laundering crimes related to a US-based tax evasion operation.

The court ordered the confiscation of funds linked to the crime and Ghafoor's deportation from the United Arab Emirates.

The state news agency (WAM) reported that the case was initiated following an assistance request received from US authorities regarding their investigation into the accused's involvement in tax evasion and suspicious money transfers to conceal the illegal means by which the funds were acquired.

US authorities also requested an examination of Ghafoor's bank accounts through which he received transfers of the funds in question.

The Public Prosecution in Abu Dhabi started its procedures towards implementing the request for judicial assistance and verifying the nature of the financial transactions related to those accounts and bank transfers in coordination with the concerned authorities.

It was found that a money laundering crime occurred in the country through international money transfers, which the accused made without proof of their source.

The Public Prosecution ordered the referral of the case to the Abu Dhabi Money Laundering and Tax Evasion Court, which issued the previous sentencing of three years imprisonment and a fine of AED 3 million, followed by deportation.

The Emirati Embassy in Washington noted that the Emirati investigation had determined Ghafoor had committed tax evasion and money laundering by moving at least $4.9 million in international transfers through the UAE banking system.

The transfers were executed through multiple bank accounts that he opened with the intent to conceal the origin of the funds from tax authorities. One account was opened as early as 2013, and another was closed in 2020 after suspicious activity was detected.

While Ghafoor was not a resident of the UAE, dozens of cash deposits and debit transactions were made on his accounts through ATMs based in the UAE by an unidentified third party using the accused's bank cards.

The investigation established evidence that the transfers on the accounts were inconsistent with the original purpose for which they were opened, intending to conceal or disguise the nature and origin of the funds obtained from illegal sources.

The UAE provided the US with details of these transfers, which were directed to recipients in several countries, including the US.

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