|Arabian Post Special| The US Administration has commended the UAE Central Bank and the Government for taking prompt action against a Dubai-based money exchange for supporting a money laundering racket run by a syndicate led by Pakistani national Altaf Khanani. The Anti-Money Laundering Unit of Dubai Police worked closely with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to unearth the racket.
The US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated the money exchange for assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for money laundering by the Pakistani-led syndicate. Altaf Khanani was arrested by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in September this year.
The U.S. Government welcomed the action taken by the UAE Government and commended the UAE for taking action to combat the risks posed to the UAE and international financial system by these illicit financial operators.
The department said Altaf Khanani and the money exchange in question have been involved in the movement of funds for the Taliban. Altaf Khanani is known to have had relationships with Lashkar-e-Toiba, Dawood Ibrahim, al-Qa’ida, and Jaish-e-Mohammed, it added.
The US Treasury said the Khanani money laundering organization engages in third-party money laundering by transferring funds to financial institutions on behalf of drug traffickers and transnational criminal organizations (TCO). Today’s designations highlight the importance of dismantling the extended financial infrastructure of TCOs and their supporters.
Under an order, any property in the United States, or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, in which Khanani’s money laundering setup or the money exchange has an interest, are blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
According to a Treasury announcement, today’s action marks the first time that the foreign assets control office is targeting a professional money laundering network under the executive order that targets transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and their supporters.
“The Khanani Money Laundering Organization exploits its relationships with financial institutions to funnel billions of dollars across the globe on behalf of terrorists, drug traffickers, and criminal organizations,” said Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam J. Szubin. “Today’s action hinders the Khanani Money Laundering Organization from gaining access to the international financial system to launder money for these illicit actors.”
It said the Khanani MLO facilitates illicit money movement between Pakistan, the UAE, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and other countries, and is responsible for laundering billions of dollars in organized crime proceeds annually.
According to the US Treasury, Khanani offers money laundering services to a diverse clientele, including Chinese, Colombian, and Mexican organized crime groups and individuals associated with Hizbollah. Khanani has also laundered funds for designated terrorist organizations