Dubai Called Out for Being “Money-Laundering” Capital of the World
Dubai has been in the news for being home to what is now the world's tallest building the Burj Khalifa-and for welcoming foreign investors who want to dabble in their domestic real estate market. However, The Real Deal reported the Arab country was pointed out for being something it shouldn't have been; Dubai is being singled out for being kind to money-launderers.
The group behind the label is Transparency International, an anti-corruption watchdog which releases the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) annually. According to the list, Dubai's policies are meant to embolden money-launderers and foster corruption in the city. Dubai is the city most ripe for corruption among its Arabian neighbors, according to the group.
The United Arab Emirates, in contrast, was hailed by the group for being the "least corrupt" country among its Arabian neighbors and on the Northern African peninsula. Efficiency in public administration and human development, among others, allowed the country to flourish. Joining Dubai at the bottom, meanwhile, were Libya, Yemen, and Syria, countries torn by war.
Dubai aims to maintain a balancing act. It has recently designated itself as a destination for businesses and policy makers among the Arabian nations, with an "open economy" that has been welcoming to most companies from around the world. This, however, seems to have invited in people and groups of corrupt backgrounds, as Forbes pointed out.
Specifically, Transparency International mentioned Dubai as an "active global hub" for money laundering operations and similar activities. The group also added that the corrupt, as well as other criminal groups, can go to Dubai, purchase property, and enjoy living with impunity.
That being said, Dubai isn't alone on the list. Along with countries like Syria, Dubai also shares space at the bottom with cities popular for dirty money such as Malaysia. The country was recently embroiled in an 1MDB scandal which included investments in a number of NYC properties. The country vowed to clean up its act, but that had been easier said than done, what with the infighting among rival political factions.
Transparency International stated that the CPI doesn't really position itself as a "money laundering" benchmark. For instance, the "least corrupt" country on the list, Denmark, isn't getting away scot-free. This year, the country had been marked by a scandal which involved the Danske Bank allowing money laundering through its branch in Estonia.