The Dubai Court of Misdemeanour completed hearings in a money laundering case yesterday and adjourned to August 3 for the verdict. The four accused were from the UAE, Pakistan, India and the UK. Seven companies in the emirate were also charged.
Defence counsel Issa bin Haider said his clients were innocent and had been framed by certain people with vested interests who wanted to prevent them from entering the local market with their money.
Bin Haider based his defence on the integrity of the defendants’ commercial activities outside the UAE and said authorities in Holland and the UK – where the accused have business interests related to the case – do not have evidence that they were involved in money laundering activities .
The case dates to August 2006 when the department for combating organised crime received information some people were involved in money laundering. Their bank accounts had shown dubious cash flows, and vast funds estimated at £150 million (Dh893m) had moved between the accounts and others in the UK and Holland, suspected to be the result of fraud against the income and customs departments in the UK and the Dutch Antilles.
Dubai Attorney General Essam Al Humaidan had referred the case to the Court of Misdemeanour on the charge of money laundering, forging and misusing official documents after an investigation team collected evidence over two years.
The prosecution also sought help from a panel comprising the Central Bank’s anti-money laundering unit and the economic crimes section of Dubai’s CID to compile a detailed report on the volume of funds transferred from the defendants’ accounts to several parties receiving them.