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Friday , January 15 2021

Global gangs target Kuwait, Gulf transit points in money-laundering operations

‘Money from drugs, alcohol, visa trade laundered locally’

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 8 : Some of the money laundering operations uncovered recently in Kuwait indicate that they are part of some organized crimes committed internationally, and Kuwait was one of the stations of the international gangs that have held in-depth studies on the target countries, reports Al-Qabas daily. It also seems clear that these gangs are seeking the help of entities and people from within the target countries to carry out their crimes, especially government officials, MPs and celebrities.

The money laundering crime associated with the “Malaysian Fund” file revealed the extent of the multiplicity of countries, companies and people associated with the crime. It began with a crime of corruption in Malaysia in which Chinese companies and American banks that have strict supervision were exploited. It then passed through banks in the Comoros Islands and eventually reached Kuwait.

According to legal sources, Kuwait and other Gulf countries have become a preferred destination for imported money laundering operations, due to their financial solvency, weak tax systems in some of them and the difficulty in detecting them.

The sources highlighted that the local money laundering crimes may be much higher in number than those imported from abroad, as money from trade of alcohol and drugs, as well as trade of visas are part of local crimes. They explained that the largest part is the plundering of public funds in various ways.

The large number of cases that were discovered in recent years, which are estimated to be in hundreds of millions and perhaps more. Foremost of these cases are those of social security embezzlement, multimillion- dinar deposits, Ministry of Interior Hospitality, the Eurofighter deal, the Army Fund, the visa trading, and so on. Even though some of these cases are still open at the courts, they all affirm that the engines of the money laundering machine are spinning professionally in Kuwait.

The sources said one of the evidence about the existence of a money laundering “mafia” in Kuwait is the use of social media celebrities who became millionaires in front of the eyes of people. They indicated that those in charge of money laundering operations in Kuwait are professionals. According to economic sources, the COVID-19 crisis and its negative effects on the local companies may make them vulnerable to accepting money laundering operations in order to get out of their setback. Therefore, severe supervisory caution is essential to prevent this from happening.

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