Security agencies on Sunday announced that they had busted one of the world’s largest money laundering networks which was involved in the smuggling of around 95,000kg of gold and SR10 million (over Dh9 million) in cash.The operation was led by State Security with help from law enforcement and investigating agencies against the international gang of criminals who planned to use the UAE banking system to launder the black money and gold.The gang planned to smuggle 94,410kg of pure gold from an African country and SR10 million in cash into the UAE through the Ghuwaifat check post on the Saudi border. “The gang of criminal was planning to channel the gold into the banking system and then transfer them to a number of Arab and other foreign countries, but the full-proof inspection measures adopted by the Ministry of Interior at land and air ports had aborted the smuggling attempt and apprehended members of the network,” the official Emirates News Agency (Wam) reported.However, the nationalities and full names of the apprehended gang members were not disclosed as the investigation is ongoing.
The ring planned to smuggle the gold and money through oil tankers from an African country to a neighbouring country where three members, identified as A.M.A, H.B. and A.A, carried the consignment for delivery to another group of the gang who were identified as owners of the tankers for further transportation to the UAE.The tanker owners were tasked to smuggle the gold and cash into the UAE and hand them over to their accomplices here.The entire plan was aborted when undercover agents of the State Security and police waited for the consignment to arrive at the Ghuwaifat border post, and a key gang member was arrested red-handed. This led to the arrest of other accomplices. The culprit was arrested in possession of SR10 million hidden in the oil tanker. Further investigation and follow-up helped in rounding up the entire network.Money laundering has been a pressing issue for the international community, particularly the UAE due to its fast economic development and growth. Money launderers have been using different methods, including Hawala, to launder black money through operators based here and front countries in different parts of Asia.To curb the misuse of Hawala transaction of money, the Central Bank has already started registering all Hawala operations. The Central Bank has asked all such money transaction operators to declare their transactions and operate through legal channels.