Dubai’s Golden Sands

Credit: Edin Pasovic

Dubai has transformed itself into an extravagant metropolis where the police drive Lamborghinis and edible gold ice cream costs US $800 a scoop.

But this success story is inextricably linked with the globalization of organized crime and corruption.

One of the main avenues is the emirate's abundant luxurious real estate — which, until now, could be purchased in secrecy.

Now a leaked database of property and residency data pierces the veil to reveal the names of many of the world's wealthy people who have invested millions in Dubai's golden sands.

The data was compiled by assorted professionals, obtained by the non-profit group C4ADS, and provided to OCCRP.

This story is part of the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium, a collaboration by OCCRP and Transparency International.

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Profiles

Guerman Goutorov

Guerman Goutorov is the chairman of the Canada-based Streit Group, one of the world’s largest private armored vehicle manufacturers.

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Hossein Pournaghshband

Hossein Pournaghshband, an Iranian citizen, was sanctioned by the United States in January 2016 for allegedly providing material assistance to Iran’s ballistic missile program.

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Kambiz Mahmoud Rostamian

Kambiz Mahmoud Rostamian, an Iranian citizen, was sanctioned by the United States in February 2016 for allegedly providing “financial, material, technological, or other support” to two Iranian conglomerates involved in his country’s ballistic missile program.

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Mohamed Tajideen

Mohamed Tajideen is the son of Kassim Tajideen, a Lebanese-Belgian citizen the United States has called an “important financial contributor to Hezbollah.”

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Othman El Ballouti

For two years, Othman El Ballouti, allegedly one of Europe’s major cocaine traffickers, has been on the run from Belgian police, who suspect him to be hiding in Dubai. Now a leaked database of real estate information shows the alleged drug lord owns property in the emirate.

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Sami Bebawi

Sami Bebawi was a vice president of Montreal-based engineering firm, SNC-Lavalin, from 2000 to 2006. He stands accused of fraud, extortion, bribing a foreign official, obstruction of justice, possession of the proceeds of a crime, and money laundering.

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Suleiman Marouf

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Adnan Khamis Abuzanat

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Hassein Eduardo Figueroa Gomez

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Karla Dorsch

Karla Dorsch is the Dubai-based Managing Director of ‎Piedmont St. James Ltd., an executive leadership recruitment firm, which she helped found in 1999.

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Flamur and Fatmir Azemi

On the night of Dec. 11, 2013 in Prague’s Old Town, four men jumped out of a Porsche Cayenne on Kaprova Street and attacked the security guards of the COCO Cafe Cocktail Bar.

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The Properties

The following persons of interest appear in a private database compiled by real estate and property professionals, provided to C4ADS, and shared with OCCRP. The UAE real estate data — which appears to mostly represent ownership but also leasing of properties — is believed to have been generated between 2014 and 2016. The data is assessed as credible, but it does not constitute evidence of the same quality as an official property deed. Though most of the individuals in the database didn’t respond to requests for comment, the names have been verified using addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and interviews. Their inclusion on the list does not, in itself, imply any wrongdoing.