With a lax attitude to shell companies and regulation as well as its lack of extradition treaties, the UAE became home to the big drug lords, those known as the “super cartel.”
Welcome to Whale Hunting, a weekly newsletter delving into the hidden worlds of wealth and power. This week Georgia Gee explores how Dubai has become a haven for criminals, including some of the world's scariest drug kingpins (cross-posted from Gateway). Tomorrow, as a follow-up I'll share my own story of running into one of the U.K.'s worst heroin smugglers in Dubai (one of his underlings put in his finger in my eye to explain how he'd once popped someone's eyeball out). On Thursday, you'll hear from Georgia again with updates on the Isabel Dos Santos case and Interpol. – Bradley
By Georgia Gee
“Dubai did become a bit of a mecca for all sorts of interesting individuals on the run,” Alex Yearsly, an expert on money laundering, tells us in our new podcast Gateway.
We’ve already reported on how Dubai is a refuge for oligarchs and kleptocrats. But for years, it has also had a history of protecting European criminals — in particular those controlling the cocaine trade. With its lax attitude to shell companies and regulation as well as its lack of extradition treaties, the UAE became home to the big drug lords, those known as the “super cartel.”