The US Department of Justice is seen in Washington, DC. File/ AFP
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The UAE Embassy in Washington on Monday issued a statement in which it said that as part of intensive co-operation to combat money laundering and illicit financing, it had been exchanging information with the US regarding the case of lawyer Asim Ghafoor, for more than two years.
“The UAE has initiated investigations into Ghafoor’s activities in 2020 after receiving an official request to this effect from the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi on behalf of the US Department of Justice, US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Criminal Investigation Department, and the Internal Revenue Service,” the embassy said.
The investigations conducted by the UAE and reported to the US authorities confirmed that Ghafoor was involved in tax evasion and money laundering activities after executing international money remittances estimated at no less than $4.9 million through the UAE banking system, it added.
These remittances were made through several bank accounts, which he opened with the aim of concealing the source of the funds from the tax authorities, it said, adding that one of the accounts was opened in early 2013 and another was closed in 2020 after suspicious activity was revealed.
While Ghafoor does not have UAE residency, there are dozens of withdrawals and deposits that were made through his accounts with UAE ATMs through an unknown third person, who used Ghafoor’s bank cards, the embassy said, noting that investigations gave evidence that the remittances on the accounts were inconsistent with the original purpose for which they were opened.
The UAE provided the US with details on these remittances, which were directed to recipients in many countries, including the US, it said.
The UAE embassy in Washington indicated that since he was arrested, Ghafoor was given access to the procedures provided for by the law and obtained advice from a legal advisor in the UAE.
Ghafoor said he was set to file an appeal against the ruling against him during his next appearance before the court on August 9, knowing that the court rejected in a previous session a request to bail him out and that he was still getting constant contacts with his family and US consulate officials.
At the conclusion of its statement, the embassy said the case reflected the broad judicial co-operation between the UAE and the US to combat cross-border financial crimes. It referred to the joint statement that followed the UAE-US bilateral meeting on July 16, which confirmed that the US President Joe Biden was aware of the UAE’s efforts to strengthen its policies and executive mechanisms in combating financial crimes and illicit financial flows.
CBUAE’s examination findings revealed that the exchange house had a weak compliance framework to prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism.
Victims were conned by the fake scheme and were exhorted to invest in a shell company, which the accused claimed specialised in trading digital currencies and has shares in the global markets.
The Court ordered Ghafoor to pay Dhs5 million ($1.36 million) fine, while the Dhs18 million in his account to be confiscated.
The FIA action followed Hareem Shah's claim of smuggling thousands of British pounds abroad, while travelling from Jinnah International Airport Karachi to London without being checked anywhere at the Karachi airport. Her social media claim soon became viral.
Nearly 50 vehicles were involved in multiple collisions along a highway in Hunan province within the span of 10 minutes on Saturday evening, "with some vehicles catching on fire", local traffic police said in a statement.
On her first official visit, Sheikha Bodour met with the Chancellor, Chief Operating Officer, Provost, Deans, University Librarian, and Chief of Protocol to learn about the various portfolios and departments of the university.
The latest emergency order covers the southern region of La Araucania, next to the previously declared Biobio and Nuble regions, located near the middle of the South American country's long Pacific coastline.