Abu Dhabi Criminal Court convicts 40 defendants, 8 companies of fraud, money laundering, conducting unlicensed economic activities

Abu Dhabi Criminal Court convicts 40 defendants, 8 companies of fraud, money laundering, conducting unlicensed economic activities

ABU DHABI, 17th August, 2021 – The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court, which is competent to hear crimes of money laundering and tax evasion, has convicted 40 defendants of different nationalities as well as eight companies, on charges of forming a fraudulent organisation and engaging in illegal economic activities.
They prepared and designed a digital platform through which they committed fraud and engaged in money laundering. The defendants have been sentenced to prison terms ranging between 5 and 10 years and have been collectively fined nearly AED860 million. All their assets and proceeds from the crime have been confiscated, and 23 expatriate convicts face deportation.
The convicted companies each have to pay a fine of AED50 million. Each of the 23 main defendants has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined AED10 million, while 11 defendants have received jail terms of seven years and fined AED10 million. One defendant was sentenced to five years in prison and fined AED10 million and five others received a six-month jail term and were fined AED20,000 each, as they were convicted for collecting illegal funds.
According to the details of the case, the security service received information about a new gang formed by a group of people consisting of 17 Emiratis, 16 Iranians, two Indians, one Saudi, one Mauritanian, one American, one Greek and one Comorian, who engaged in fraud, unlicensed economic operations and money laundering.
Investigations revealed that this group had illegally simulated a digital trading platform in the stock market using funds collected from subscribers and shareholders, and conned the victims into believing they were receiving profits ranging between 16 percent and 18 percent of the invested capital per month. In addition, they deceived the victims by providing them with the possibility of manual trading of shares. This was done through companies and natural persons in the country, and then the gang announced the conversion of the victims’ funds into a fake digital currency called Foin, thus not enabling investors to recover their capital.
Upon referring the case to the competent public prosecution of financial crimes in Abu Dhabi, investigations indicated that from 2015 to 2017, the group managed an unlicensed organisation headed in the Middle East region by M. R. A. K., an Iranian national, who utilised complex schemes, such as creating a hierarchical communication structure between his accomplices, allowing each of them to know only the person above them in the hierarchy.
The investigations showed that the accused avoided receiving cheques or money transfers from the victims and instead conducted their operations in cash. They also created groups and teams to organise work, conducted training workshops, and held massive concerts attended by international artists.