Israeli criminals 'flee to Dubai' to escape arrest at home

Israeli criminals 'flee to Dubai' to escape arrest at home
Dozens of Israeli criminals have fled to Dubai following the normalisation agreement between the UAE and Israel, taking advantage of lax investment laws.
3 min read
14 December, 2020
Israelis have been visiting Dubai ever since a normalisation deal was agreed in August [Getty]
Dozens of Israeli suspected criminals have fled to the UAE following a recent normalisation deal with the Gulf state in order to escape arrest in their home country, the Israeli news website Mako alleged on Sunday.

The suspects have been charged with serious criminal offences such murder, attempted murder, extortion, drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud, and theft but have allegedly used Israel's recent visa agreement with the UAE to escape arrest and set up home in Dubai.

A "senior police officer" said that criminals fled Israel for Dubai when they were tipped off about arrest warrants issued against them, Mako reported.

"Apparently, it was an informer or they saw that we had carried out waves of other arrests and just ran."

The UAE announced last August that it was normalising relations with Israel.

Since then, hundreds of Israelis, including tourists, business travellers, and government officials have visited the country.

Israel and the UAE have also announced a visa waiver programme.

Some of the criminals were involved in smuggling 750 kilogrammes of cocaine from Guatemala to Israel via the port of Ashdod last month. Others were involved in smuggling 3.2 tonnes of cocaine to Belgium via Israel, the Israeli police officer alleged.

Read more: The Israeli foreign exchange companies accused of scamming Gulf investors

Mako said that it had obtained information that some of the criminals had entered into partnerships with Emirati businesses and gained residency rights in Dubai.

The New Arab could not independently verify the reports.

The report went on to claim that some of the suspects purchased gold and diamonds in Dubai and sold it on to business people in other countries, the Israeli website alleged.

"In Dubai, unlike in Israel, investors are not asked where the money comes from," said an anonymous "veteran Israeli criminal" who had visited Dubai and met others there as saying.

"They don't ask you too many questions there. Do you have money? Come invest and be a partner. It happens because it's one of the richest countries [sic] in the world. I'm talking about millions of dollars flowing from Israel to Dubai through people running legitimate businesses in the country," the anonymous criminal added.

Mako received additional information about suspected Israeli criminals - previously living in exile in Romania, South Africa, and Ukraine - moving to the UAE and investing in residential and hotel projects.

"Some went with fake passports and others with Israeli passports," another police source told Mako.

"They want to launder the money they have been hiding for years. It's hundreds of millions of dollars that have not been reported to the tax authorities in Dubai and Bahrain. We monitor them and assist all intelligence agencies around the world."

The source said that even though there was no extradition agreement between the UAE and Israel, Israeli police "have our methods" to get the criminals deported and returned to Israel.

A 2018 report by the US-based Centre for Advanced Defence Studies noted that the real-estate market in Dubai was a "haven for war profiteers, terror financiers and drug traffickers".

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