Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have taken stern action against a Kenyan and 78 other people of different nationalities caught in the illegal wash wash scam deals.
The Kenyan national was convicted by the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court after being found guilty of being part of an organised criminal group consisting of 79 people.
The Kenyan was accused of being part of the syndicate that specialised in internet fraud using fake URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) of a Chinese website offering securities brokerage and trading services.Abu Dhabi Criminal CourtCourtesy
Abu Dhabi media reported that the Kenyan national and his accomplices were also found guilty of using deception to induce their victims to invest in securities with the aim of appropriating the value of their investment.
In addition to committing the crime of money laundering, the convicts were also found guilty of attempting to conceal the source of the funds they received.
The court sentenced the 79 people to prison terms ranging from 3 to 15 years with deportation from the country after serving their respective sentences.
Further, they will pay fines ranging from Ksh6 million to Ksh317 million as well as confiscation of all their funds seized by authorities.
The accused will also have their bank balances, real estate, cars, computers, mobile phones, watches and jewellery confiscated.
"The accused persons were involved in association with another unknown accused person in tampering with the internet protocols of a China-based website specialised in securities trading.
"... using a fictitious address belonging to others with the intention of defrauding the victims who were lured into investing in securities, and thus appropriating their funds, facts which were followed by the commission of money laundering crimes in order to conceal the truth about the source of these proceeds," the press release posted by UAE publication, Zawya read in part.
UAE has become a lucrative investment destination benefiting from the high concentration of money coming from foreign sources. However, this influx of big money makes the UAE, in particular the city of Dubai, increasingly susceptible to financial crime.
Some UAE citizens, including some alleged members of the ruling families, have fallen prey to the growing wash wash scams that, according to Interior CS Fred Matiang', have become a national security matter in Kenya.
In 2019, a case in which a UAE national was scammed millions through a fake gold deal escalated into a diplomatic scuffle as some of the culprits had posed as national government officials in carrying out the crime.Data by the Communications Authority for the period between January and March 2020 shows 34,644,531 cyber threats
In November 2020, the Ministry of Economy established an anti-money laundering department, while a special court was established in Abu Dhabi for the sole purpose of preventing money laundering and tax evasion.
The UAE has quite a lot of regulations that have jointly issued guidelines for the adoption of technology that empowers financial institutions with tools to counter illicit crimes.criminal illegal scam tax evasion
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