Indians own highest number of properties in Dubai

The total value of the properties owned by Indians is estimated to be $17 billion

News Desk

DUBAI: According to data revealed in the OCCRP’s ‘Dubai Unlocked’ project, the number of residential properties owned by foreigners in Dubai put Indians first, at 35,000 properties and 29,700 owners. The total value of these properties is estimated to have been $17 billion.

UK citizens in the 2022 sample own 22,000 residential properties and 19,500 owners, valued at $10 billion, whereas Saudi nationals are listed with 16,000 properties and 8,500 owners, valued at $8.5 billion.

According to the OCCRP’s story on its website, “As billions of US dollars flowed in to rebuild Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban in 2001, many contractors were accused of skimming reconstruction funds. Today, some of them own luxury properties in Dubai.” 

The report says that former Afghan parliament speaker Mir Rahman Rahmani and his son Ajmal spent more than $15 million on real estate in Dubai, something they have denied. The data also shows that at least three other contractors who were involved in procurement scandals related to Afghanistan also own Dubai real estate.

The OCCRP also talks about Vinod Adani, an Indian billionaire facing allegations of stock market manipulation and money laundering across India as a senior member of the Adani Group conglomerate” being on the list.

Among other politically exposed persons on the list are members of three West African presidential families targeted by a long-running French corruption probe.

It doesn’t end there. The leaked data shows that at least four alleged Aussie Cartel members, their associates, or family members have or had luxury property in Dubai.

According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, “although Interpol has asked governments around the world to find and provisionally arrest Isabel dos Santos, the Angolan former billionaire is not hiding. Instead, she regularly posts about her lavish lifestyle at a Dubai residence on social media. Now, confidential land records connect dos Santos and her mother to other properties on the waterfront of the United Arab Emirates’ financial hub.”

The ICIJ adds that data in the Dubai Unlocked project shows how dos Santos and her mother, Tatiana ‘Kukanova’ Regan, “co-own a two-bedroom apartment in a building called Sadaf, Arabic for ‘seashell’, overlooking Dubai Marina on one side and the Persian Gulf on the other.”

Adding to the international names featuring in the list is Rolling Stone magazine’s mention of how “Danilo Vunjão Santana Gouveia, a Brazilian sertanejo musician who performs under the name Danilo Dubaiano” is also on the Property Leaks list. Apparently, Gouveia is wanted in Brazil for allegedly running a major bitcoin Ponzi scheme.

RadioFree Europe adds that according to the project’s data, Ukrainian officials who served during President Viktor Yanukovych’s era “poured millions of dollars into Dubai real estate, including public servants who failed to report these assets or have faced charges of corruption, abuse of office, or treason.”

Originally published in The News