The United Arab Emirates (UAE), pearl of the Gulf, has deformed into a global money laundering hub for the corrupt oligarchs. According to a French media house, covert financial institutions in the UAE are managing the opaque monetary flows of the Algerian oligarchs.
UAE’s money laundering record
In 1991, a leading United States bank revoked all business ties with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a Luxembourg-based banking institution. BCCI was established in 1972 by a Pakistani financier Agha Hasan Abedi, who initiated strong economic alliance in the private sector between Pakistan and the UAE.
The then UAE President, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan provided 75% capital investment to BCCI, which expanded its operations across 78 countries, with over 400 branches. During its early years, the Bank of America NT & SA (National Trust and Savings Association) was a 25% shareholder of BCCI.
Investigations disclosed that the bank accepted money from a million depositors from across the world, thereby turning into a personal treasury for its Arab and Pakistani owners. BCCI’s favored customers availed overdraft worth millions of dollars, usually without documentation, mostly violating the bank’s own lending policies.
The UAE-funded bank was accused of money laundering and other inconsistencies, such as, financing terrorists in the Middle East, underwriting of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein’s quest for a nuclear energy, etc.
BCCI under the protection of CIA
According to Richard Kerr, the former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), BCCI carried out sensitive intelligence-gathering operations under CIA’s control. Kevin Ryan, a prominent American entrepreneur, called it a “CIA-linked terrorist financing network”.
BCCI was used to supply guns to Iraq, fund Osama bin Laden’s Mujahadeen in Afghanistan and supply money in the illicit Iran-Contra operation. It also laundered money for Saudi Arabia’s intelligence services.
BCCI has worked with the “Arab and International Bank of Investments” based in the UAE.
UAE sovereign wealth fund: the financial weapon of war
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ), the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, did not learn from his father’s involvement in the BCCI scandal, which spurred worldwide criticism for the country.
Even today, Emirati banks are operating in open economies, where globalization affects all sectors. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is exhausting its sovereign wealth fund by serving diplomatic, geo-strategic and military interests in the war-torn Yemen and Libya.
Mondafrique, a French media house, recently reported that the UAE has established numerous banking institutions, which provide a safe money laundering haven to the Algerian oligarchs. It was also accused of meddling with the Algerian political framework during the mass demonstrations against the government.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Arab hooligan, has always challenged the possibility of sanctions against illegal practices that disturb the global trade harmony. However, on March 12, the UAE was included on the EU list of tax havens with countries like Barbados, Bermuda, the Virgin Islands and Marshal, Guam, Samoa etc.
This announcement had a great hit on the overall Emirati economy. This could be a wake-up call for the UAE regime to mend ways, before its too late.
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