UAE claims it investigated Khashoggi lawyer following ‘official request’ from US

UAE claims it investigated Khashoggi lawyer following ‘official request’ from US
A statement by the UAE claims that Abu Dhabi began investigating Asim Ghafoor, Jamal Khashoggi's former lawyer, following an official request from the United States.
2 min read
09 August, 2022
The statement was shared on Twitter by the UAE's embassy to the United States [Getty]

The UAE embassy to Washington on Monday said that Asim Ghafoor, a US citizen and Jamal Khashoggi’s former lawyer, was initially investigated by Emirati authorities following a request by the US. 

Ghafoor was a lawyer for Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and dissident who was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. 

He was detained in July while traveling through Dubai International Airport on tax evasion charges, although the US disputed the UAE's initial claim that it had sought his arrest. This week, the UAE doubled down on its claim of a US request.

"[We received] an official request from the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi on behalf of the US Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division for mutual legal assistance related to an ongoing probe of Ghafoor by US authorities," a statement posted on Twitter said. 

The statement added that his arrest was part of "intensified co-operation to combat transnational money-laundering and illicit finance".

"The UAE and the US have been sharing information on the case of Asim Ghafoor for more than two years," it said.

A UAE court convicted Ghafoor on charges of tax evasion and money laundering in May this year based on this investigation, it said. 

The United States’ position on the conviction is unclear.

"We are aware of the arrest of U.S. citizen Asim Ghafoor in the UAE. We have raised his detention at senior levels with Emirati authorities and requested additional information," a spokesperson from the US State Department told The New Arab.

"We have conveyed our expectation that Mr. Ghafoor [receives] continued consular access, be afforded a fair and transparent legal process and that he be treated humanely. We are aware of the UAE Embassy’s August 8 statement on the case and have no additional comments at this time.

The US Department of Justice did not comment on the UAE statement.