Monday, 2 February 2009

Australians arrested in Dubai fraud probe

Three Australians are reported to have been arrested here as part of an investigation by local authorities into corruption allegations involving state linked companies in Dubai. It is believed the Australians have lived and worked in Dubai. DFAT, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is attempting to confirm that the men are in custody.

Rumours of an impending investigation circulated last year in the expat community and in August '08 the London Financial Times reported that Adel Shirawi, vice-chairman of Istithmar and former chief executive of the home-finance company Tamweel, had been detained on allegations of embezzlement. The newspaper also reported in the same article that authorities in the UAE had started an investigation into "financial irregularities" at the Dubai Islamic Bank and its real estate arm, Deyaar. Meanwhile, Kabir Mulchandani, the chairman of Dynasty Zarooni, was arrested last week on allegations of fraud after investors claimed he defrauded them of more than $100m.

The Financial Times reported that there were indications that Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, "plans to leave no stone unturned" to allow investigators the freedom to build their case. It seems that susequently the fraud investigation has "mutated into an audit of government-wide graft". Rumours last year were circulating that The Boss had given a warning that an investigation at the highest level was coming and those concerned should 'clean up their acts'. Some did, but it appears some didn't.

Investigators are reported to have uncovered a lot of material but whether anything is done about it, or whether its all swept under the carpet, only time will tell.

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