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Friday , November 27 2020

Focus turns to social media celebrities in move to curb money laundering increase

Bank balances of some personalities exceed KD 20 million

KUWAIT CITY, July 18: In a new and decisive move to curb money laundering operations that have witnessed a significant spike in recent times, the State Security Department has finished gathering serious information about the involvement of some social media celebrities in suspicious financial transfers through investment companies, third parties and prominent personalities, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting reliable sources.

They explained that the security authorities are in the process of summoning a number of companies endorsed by some social media celebs on their accounts in social media. This was after receiving evidence of large financial transactions and circumvention of the law. Also the bank balances of these celebrities had inflated such that the bank balance of one of them exceeded KD 20 million. This is what has been found so far.

The sources said the process of pursuing money laundering operations has reached the bone-breaking stage, adding, “All necessary information is in place, and investigations are being conducted. The security authorities will open extensive investigations and summon those involved in the coming days.”

They revealed that some celebrities sign contracts with advertising companies through their accounts for a fee that is five times more than the actual paid value, indicating that this is a way to legalize money laundering operations, as money is deposited in the banks in a way that appears to conform with the regulations governing this aspect.

The sources said the companies were unknowingly involved after handing over double-digit invoices to the celebrities who requested such information amicably. In addition to bank balances, the sources revealed that the security authorities have identified other assets belonging to some celebrities such as real estate properties both locally and internationally, adding that they are monitoring the expensive gifts that fashionistas give their relatives and friends such as luxury cars, watches, and other items of rare brands, as a way of showing off as well as drawing attention to those items to attract more ads and concessions.

They stressed that it has become clear that many famous media celebrities have made huge fortunes within a short time, which raises question marks about the sources of their money, affirming that the security authorities are currently probing this aspect.

Meanwhile, security sources reported that money laundering operations have increased dramatically since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. They indicated that this is mainly through the exploitation of the boom in online shopping, which some benefited from for carrying out suspicious financial operations, adding that many companies sought to promote their products through the social media accounts of prominent personalities.

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