A global financial center Dubai is a “haven for trade-based money laundering” with its nearly 30 free trade zones, a recent report published by a US-based think tank claimed.

“Dubai’s prosperity is a steady stream of illicit proceeds borne from corruption and crime,” said Carnegie Endowment’s report on the Arabic country’s role in facilitating corruption and global illicit financial flows.

It accused both Emirati leaders and the international community of continuing “to turn a blind eye to the problematic behaviors, administrative loopholes, and weak enforcement practices that make Dubai a globally attractive destination for dirty money.”

“Corrupt and criminal actors from around the world operate through or from Dubai. Afghan warlords, Russian mobsters, Nigerian kleptocrats, European money launderers, Iranian sanctions-busters, and East African gold smugglers, all find Dubai a conducive place to operate,” it warned.

The report also claimed that Dubai’s role in global illicit financial flows is “a deliberate choice and not borne out of a lack of capacity.”

“Emirati regulators, officials, and law enforcement agents are aware of how Dubai is being used as a conduit for illicit financial transactions,” it said. “This is a feature, not a bug, of Dubai’s political economy.”

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