Although it’s always had a reputation for harboring scammers, over the past year and a half Dubai cemented itself as the MLM scam capital of the world.
This coincided with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas most countries effected some sort of border control, Dubai has remained open for visitors.
This has seen practically every scam looking to hold live events flock to the desert city.
Dubai as a city doesn’t have much going for it. It’s in the middle of nowhere with an unfavorable climate. If you’re into the artificial however, Dubai offers the pinnacle of superficial indulgence.
That alone isn’t enough to lure in the world’s scammers though. Dubai’s attraction for them runs deeper.
The two main reasons you’ll see scammers flock to Dubai is a lack of extradition treaties and no regulation of MLM related fraud.
Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates (the UAE). The UAE has extradition treaties with only a small number of countries;
An example of a multilateral treaty signed and ratified by the UAE for judicial co-operation is the Riyadh Arab Convention on Judicial Co-operation, which was signed by most Arab countries including Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
In addition, examples of bilateral treaties signed and ratified by the UAE for judicial co-operation are numerous and include agreements with Australia, China, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Pakistan, Spain and the United Kingdom.
None of the Arab countries above are known for active MLM regulation. Of the other countries listed, with the exception of Spain, again you have a list of countries where MLM regulation is either non-existent, or typically limited to national cases.
Once a scammer flees their native country for Dubai, these countries don’t pursue the matter. And these scammers know it.
Within Dubai, so long as they don’t target UAE locals, scammers are free to scam anyone from anywhere.
Walk down the street with a beer in Dubai and they’ll throw you in jail. Steal hundreds of millions of dollars through an MLM Ponzi scheme, and royal families will work with you to conceal that money.
For a price, they’ll also offer you shelter from pesky authorities trying to hold you accountable.
That’s for the MLM underbelly elite though. Most of the fraudsters we document on BehindMLM are safe enough just relocating to Dubai.
With respect to local regulation of MLM fraud in the UAE, there is none. So long as you scam people outside the UAE, Dubai’s authorities won’t lift a finger against you.
Again, the scammers relocating there know this.
In addition to individuals, over the past few years we’ve also seen Dubai favored as a jurisdiction to open head offices in. This is for the same reasons scammers flock to to the emirate.
For marketing purposes, Dubai sounds exotic and certainly its artificial nature makes for great photo opportunities.
Where better to project wealth to unsuspecting victims than a city built on and geared towards showcasing wealth?
While here at BehindMLM we’re hyperfocused on MLM, outside of this niche others have noted the same trend we have.
The Gulf city of Dubai has been slammed as a “money laundering paradise” by leading anti-corruption group Transparency International. – Forbes Feb 2019
Dubai dubbed new ‘Costa del Crime’ where money talks and British gangsters flock – The Mirror Feb 2021
Israeli criminals ‘flee to Dubai’ to escape arrest at home – The New Arab Dec 2020
While there have been some inroads to chasing down high profile criminals (high profile = media attention), MLM scammers aren’t a priority.
What we’re left with is a jurisdiction MLM scammers can safely flock to and hold promotional events at, obtain bank accounts to launder money through and enjoy creature comforts they’re accustomed to.
Fleeing to Dubai effectively has no compromises, other than day to day living costs.
Not really an issue when you’re living off other people’s stolen money.
From an MLM due-diligence perspective, until things change these are some general rules that I’ve found hold true:
- Any time you see someone involved in MLM relocating to Dubai, they’re more than likely running from a collapsed scam and/or authorities.
- Any time you see an MLM company holding an event in Dubai, it’s a scam.
- If an MLM company has a head office in Dubai, it’s a scam.
- If someone is running an MLM company from Dubai, it’s a scam.
There are limited exceptions to these rules. Outside of the COVID-19 pandemic for example, I’d be a little less harsh on MLM companies holding events in Dubai.
During the pandemic however, Dubai’s reputation as a safe haven for criminals has only gotten worse.
Here at BehindMLM we’ll continue to do our full due-diligence when reviewing MLM companies. When I see Dubai pop up I do shift gears and assume I’m dealing with a scam, but it’s never the primary reason for identifying an MLM company as one.
That is always going to be the company’s business model.
I’ve found myself increasingly referring to Dubai as the MLM scam capital of the world, as it continues to pop up over and over again in my research.
Rather than just say so, I thought this would be a good article to put together to explain why.
That way I can link to it and hopefully more people become aware of what lies beneath Dubai’s glitzy surface.
One last thing to note is that, while Dubai is currently the MLM scam capital of the world and has been for some time, that’s not necessarily always going to be the case.
Five years or so ago Thailand was the destination of choice for MLM scammers.
In the event Dubai cleans its act up or some other jurisdiction emerged as the new MLM scam capital, I’ll leave an update below along with a 2021 date-stamp in this article’s title.