KUWAIT CITY, June 19: Money launderers and real estate fraudsters found an opportunity in Kuwait to carry out their shady operations in various ways and methods to launder money by smuggling it, and to carry out real estate fraud operations, which include selling chalets, farms, livestock pens, luxury cars and apartments outside Kuwait, during the period from 2013 to 2016, generating exorbitant amounts that exceeded hundreds of millions and in various currencies, reports Al-Rai daily. There are cases currently open in the courts, some of which were issued final rulings between June 2019 and February 2021, and some others are still pending with the courts.
According to information obtained from the Mishary Al-Osaimi Group (legal firm), money laundering operations involved a total of KD 1,065,367,207, as well as 43,251,808 Qatari riyals, 615,000 Euros, and 24,000 Bahraini dinars. As for the real estate fraud, it amounted to KD 174,926,350 and about 1.5 million Qatari riyals. All these figures were included in only nine cases. There are other cases of laundering and fraud, of which the total figures involved were not mentioned. These swindling operations affected Kuwaiti citizens and residents who were victims of the real estate exhibitions that were held during the aforementioned period under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
This affirms the existence of shortcomings in some supervisory authorities, and the failure to track suspicious funds that fall under their responsibility. Some lawyers demanded the establishment of a stricter control system through deterrent laws that go beyond any shortcomings in legislation and its development. In looking at the cases through the issued rulings, according to statistics prepared by the office of Mishary Al-Osaimi Group (legal firm), it is clear that the real estate fraud operations were focused in the marketing and sale of real estate in the United States, Britain, Canada, Turkey, Saudi Arabia (hotels in Makkah and Madinah), Oman, Egypt and Dubai. These shady operations varied from selling apartments and chalets, participating in hotel projects, to local real estate fraud operations, represented in the marketing of apartments in Bneid Al-Gar and Sabah Al-Salem areas, and chalets in Khairan, Subbiya, and Nuwaiseeb areas.