Arab Post Staff
Pandara Papers has made recent revelations about a pile of secret records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, revealing that the UAE is home to a host of shadow players in the overseas world.
Among them: Belgian tycoon accused of profiting from the smuggling of “conflict gold” torn from violent regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo. An Internet tycoon from Quebec convicted in the United States of money laundering, authorities said, has fined $ 250 million for fraudsters, child porn merchants and other criminals. A 26-year-old crime boss whose “dark website” has been selling guns, stealing financial information, fake documents, toxic chemicals and huge amounts of illegal drugs – including heroin and fentanyl linked to overdose deaths across the United States.
The story of the foreign companies created within Dubai’s corporate enclave sheds fresh light on Dubai’s rise as one of the world’s financial capitals — and on the UAE’s role as a link for money laundering and other financial crimes, according to Pandara. Papers.
It says the UAE is home to a thriving business in financial secrecy. It offers shell companies that mask the identities of their actual owners; dozens of internal free trade zones that provide even more shade for them to hide; and a regulatory system known for what anti-corruption advocates call its “ask-no-questions, see-no-opposite approach”To dealing with money linked to gold smuggling, arms smuggling and other crimes.
“The UAE provides secrecy, complexity and control,” Graham Barrow, a money laundering expert and co-host of The Dark Money Files podcast, told ICIJ. “It’s a perfect storm. An invitation to criminals to make the most of it. “
The more than 11.9 million files in the Pandora Papers include approximately 190,000 confidential files from a UAE-based company that has proclaimed itself as “the World’s No. 1 Provider of Formation of Foreign Companies.” It has been cited as one of thousands of companies in the Emirates that help clients incorporate companies, including hard-to-find companies for people living and doing business outside the UAE. These corporate providers are part of a global network of lawyers, auditors and other agents that enable the overseas financial system.
The ICIJ review identified the owners of at least 2,977 companies in the UAE, the British Virgin Islands and other foreign financial centers that were incorporated with the help of this firm or received other services from it. The owners of these companies include the Belgian gold magnate, the internet tycoon. , the dark network impresario and more than 20 other people accused of financial crimes and other misconduct around the world, ICIJ investigation found.
The company said in a statement that it operates in a manner “absolutely legal in every aspect. SFM complies with the applicable laws and regulations in each jurisdiction in which it operates.”