ABU DHABI 17 March 2021: The court in charge of the fight against money laundering and tax evasion within the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) convicted four persons, all Asians, and a company owned by one of the accused, for committing money laundering and fraud against 4,000 victims of the same nationality and appropriating their money by enticing them with investment in the gold trade.
The court also decided to punish each of the four defendants (PPL, GPL, KCRS, GBA) with a five-year imprisonment term and a fine of Dh10 million and deportation from the country after serving their sentences. For its part, the company engaged in the jewelry trade will be fined Dh50 million. The confiscation of the seized items, which included approximately 7,430 grams of 18-carat gold, amounted to more than Dh1,370,000.
The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department confirmed that the arrest of the defendants in this case and their prosecution are part of the UAE’s efforts to combat money laundering crimes. The ADJD also commended the coordinated efforts between the various judicial, executive and financial authorities in a preventive control system, with the aim of effectively protecting the national economy by limiting money laundering activities and deterring suspicious financial transactions. Noting that the UAE has an integrated and flexible financial legislative system and a specialised judicial structure in the field of combating money crimes, said official news agency Wam.
Alert on false advertisements, deceptive temptations
The ADJD urged the public to avoid being lured by false advertisements and deceptive temptations, and to report any suspicious activity in this context, stressing that the entire society is directly responsible for protecting the economic and social security, as crime reporting is both an individual and collective responsibility, in addition to being a real contribution to strengthening the capacity of the various stakeholders to deal with these crimes more effectively.
The Public Prosecution had referred the four accused persons to the criminal court with jurisdiction over money laundering crimes for the charges of money laundering and appropriation of victims’ funds. This referral is based on investigations that revealed the formation of a gang comprising the four accused, working to promote a false investment in a jewellery trading company owned by one of the accused, using a website under the banner of “Gold Empire Management” (GEM).
The investigations also disclosed that the accused persons targeted their victims through advertisements, videos and contests that were posted on the said website and social media pages, enticing them with investment in the gold business by subscribing via the website. Each subscriber was required to pay a subscription fee of Dh2,000.
Among other fraudulent means used by the accused, they encouraged their victims to persuade others to participate in the “investment” and rewarded any subscriber who brought in new subscribers with the sum of Dh1,000 for each newcomer. This is a fraudulent method based on the idea of rolling over the sums collected from each subscriber, without the subscribers – who reached 4,000 victims – getting any interest for the subscription they have paid.