Arabian fly-by-nights: Gangsters turn backs on Costa del Sol and flee to Dubai

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DUBAI has taken over from the Costa del Sol as the place of choice for British criminals to launder the proceeds of crime in businesses and evade justice, senior detectives claim.

A proliferation of gangsters once operated from Marbella and other Spanish resorts, with the region renamed the Costa del Crime in the 1980s. 

But many investigations into gang activity are now being traced back to the United Arab Emirates city, where cash is being “cleaned” through luxury construction work and other business interests. 

The National Crime Agency revealed last month it had arrested 24 people from northern England linked to a gang suspected of smuggling millions of pounds to Dubai in suitcases flown out from the UK.

Operations manager Jon Hughes said: “Border Force did excellent work preventing the money leaving the UK. We have a series of lines of inquiry to pursue and are working effectively with our partners in Dubai police.” 

The NCA has charged 12 people it says are part of a west London outfit said to have smuggled £15million. In August the agency froze £100million held across eight bank accounts with a UK branch of the Dubai Government’s Emirates NBD Bank PJSC. 

The accounts belonged to Pakistani nationals who had addresses in the Emirate Hills area of Dubai, a luxury gated community housing some of the city’s most expensive properties.

A senior detective said: “Because of the poor extradition record from Dubai to the UK criminals feel they can operate there with impunity.” 

The Kinahan Cartel from Ireland is suspected of drugs smuggling. Its kingpin Christy, 63, who runs the organisation with sons Daniel, 42, and Christopher, 39, who have resident identity cards as consultants in Dubai. 

Mick Gallagher, of the Met Police Serious Crime Command, said: “There is a hell of a lot of construction out there. The lack of regulation in Dubai means it has become a money-laundering centre globally.”

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