Radha Stirling of Detained in Dubai comments on Alaskan man who laundered $1B for Iran via UAE
Radha Stirling of Detained in Dubai comments on the case of Kenneth Zong:
“Money laundering in the UAE has been a major issue for years, and it continues to be something of an open secret that individual emirates maintain illicit financial relations with the government of Iran in violation of international sanctions. The UAE’s response to global concern about its status as a hub for money laundering has been, as in so many other instances, to enact but not enforce regulations to placate criticism.
“Not only has the UAE not taken genuine steps to improve transparency, they have in fact become increasingly opaque. In the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, which is implicated in the Zong case, we have actually seen the ruler systematically remove government accountability over state assets and resources, not only dismissing every executive and appointee of the investment authority responsible for transparency, but literally fabricating criminal charges against them; all to ensure that no one can question how he manages RAK’s finances. Indeed, this case is just one of many investigations into RAK’s illegal dealings with Iran, and yes, these kinds of money laundering operations exist throughout the country, with the government consistently protecting the main perpetrators.
“The Gold AE case in Dubai is another prime example. The architect of that scheme was under investigation by the FBI for his alleged involvement in a vast , complicated scam that included bypassing sanctions on Iran, but he was allowed to flee the country while the key whistleblower in the case, Canadian Andre Gauthier, has been scapegoated for the crimes and remains in detention at this very moment.
“If the international community is serious about cracking down on money laundering, and serious about sanctions against Iran, or indeed any other rogue nation; the UAE needs to be called to account with greater scrutiny, and the implementation of a comprehensive monitoring system to ensure the country’s compliance with global expectations and requirements of financial integrity”,