Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pirates: the $80m Gulf connection


Medeshi April 21, 2009
Pirates: the $80m Gulf connection
Crime syndicates laundering vast sums taken in ransom from ships and their crews hijacked in Horn of Africa
By Kim Sengupta In Nairobi and Daniel Howden Africa correspondent

Organised piracy syndicates operating in Dubai and other Gulf states are laundering vast sums of money taken in ransom from vessels hijacked off the Horn of Africa.
Investigators hired by the shipping industry have told The Independent that around $80m (£56m) has been paid out in the past year alone – far more than has previously been admitted. But while some of this money has ended up in the pirate havens of Somalia, millions have been laundered through bank accounts in the United Arab Emirates and other parts of the Middle East.
The so-called "godfathers" of the illicit operations, according to investigators, include businessmen from Somalia and the Middle East, as well as other nationalities on the Indian sub-continent. There have also been reports that some of the money from piracy ransoms has gone to Islamist militants.

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