July 7, 2020

In Dubai, weak regulation, poor enforcement, and relatively high levels of secrecy and anonymity create a welcoming environment for global kleptocrats, money launderers, and other illicit entrepreneurs seeking to hide ill-gotten earnings.

We’re excited to announce our contributions to Carnegie Endowment’s new report, Dubai’s Role in Facilitating Corruption and Global Illicit Financial Flows.

In Chapter 5, C4ADS alumnus Peter Kirechu examines how weak regulation and high levels of secrecy make Dubai vulnerable to illicit financial activity, including how service providers like lawyers, precious metal dealers, and real estate brokers may take advantage of gaps in enforcement.

Chapter 6 goes on to examine money laundering in Dubai’s luxury real estate market. Using data & cases from our report Sandcastles, our analysis show how and why Dubai is exploited as a haven for real estate-related money laundering. Sandcastles specifically identifies forty-four luxury properties directly associated with seven individuals sanctioned by the United States and/or European countries. These properties were valued at approximately $28.2 million in total.

We’re very proud to have contributed to Carnegie Endowment’s report and hope that the analysis and recommendations laid out here can pave the way for increased transparency and accountability in the global financial system.