Forex fraudsters receive 517 year prison sentences for role in Ponzi scheme
A Dubai court has sentenced two men and one woman to 517 years in prison each for their part in defrauding thousands of investors in a $299 million fraud case. Exential owner Sydney Lemos, his wife Valany Lemos and company accountant Ryan D’Souza were found guilty of deception and fraud and ordered to pay back the group of investors who lost their money in the Ponzi scheme disguised as a foreign currency trading programme. The 7,000 victims, mostly from the aviation and oil and gas sectors, had invested a minimum of $25,000 (Dhs91,500) per forex account after being promised annual profits of up to 120 per cent. Further investigations showed that FC Prime, the Australia based brokerage firm used by Sydney Lemos to send UAE investors' money abroad, was owned by his wife, presenting a serious conflict of interest under forex regulations. The ruling indicates how seriously the Dubai courts treat financial crimes; legal counsel representing the investors reported that they had received favourable judgements in 15 different cases against Sydney Lemos alone.
Saudi Arabia begins anti-corruption probe into dozens of officials and business leaders
Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor has begun investigations and opening arguments in the corruption cases of certain princes, top officials and businessmen detained last year. Whilst many of them were released after being exonerated, or after reaching financial settlements with the government, 56 people remain in custody and could face trial for offences related to money laundering or terrorism. The anti-corruption campaign is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's push to transform an oil-dependent economy contending with lower global crude prices and perceived corruption into a more resilient and modernised economy. However, the investigations carried out to date have been in secrecy with few specific allegations, or details of financial settlements, revealed.
Kuwaiti National Assembly Committee considers launching investigation into $200 Million investment fund
The Kuwaiti National Assembly Budgets Committee has discussed launching an investigation into suspected violations in a $200 million investment fund on 11 April 2018. Part of the investment fund at the centre of the discussion is shared by the state-owned Public Institution for Social Security, whose funds are under scrutiny by the Assembly after Kuwaiti courts convicted its former chief, Fahad Al-Rajaan, of fraud and embezzlement in 2016. The social security body has circa KD30 billion in investments and invests around 30 percent of it (KD8 billion) in the domestic market. The remaining 70 percent is invested in overseas markets.
Bahrain residents investigated in $2 billion bank fraud probe
Two Bahrain residents have been questioned by India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) with regard to their part in India's biggest fraud case to date. The $2 billion fraud at India’s second-biggest state-run lender, Punjab National Bank, has shaken the Indian financial sector and triggered a far-reaching global probe. The two questioned were Canara Bank officials from the Bahrain branch who allegedly extended credit facilities based on fraudulent bank guarantees to companies owned by Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, who are two central figures wanted for questioning in connection with the case.