SEP 28, 2018: Around US$170 million (Rs20 billion) worth of properties owned by Pakistanis have been sold in UAE since June 2018.
The property owners in the real estate investment capital of the Middle East have started selling their assets with minimal prices as the operation against illegal money has beefed up in the Emirates, particularly with the proactive implementation of FATF regime in the region, and the ensuing global CRS (Common Reporting System for Taxes).
According to Inam Ghazali, an investment banker with several years of experience in the Middle East, going forward “it will be difficult to hide money in the Dubai real estate market”.
The latest news of fire-sale comes as some 7000 Pakistanis have bought properties worth an estimated US$9.2 billion (Rs1.1 trillion) in the heart of Dubai in the past one-and-a half-decade, reported The News in February this year.
The startling revelation In February came as the country’s top court directed the SBP, SECP, IB, ISI, MI, Foreign Office and FIA to share their information about foreign bank accounts and foreign assets held by the Pakistani citizens abroad.
According to latest news, more than 500 wealthy Pakistanis have reportedly put on their super luxurious properties on throw-away prices and around 1,000 villas, penthouses, apartments have already been handed over on buyer’s asking prices, sources related to real estate industry in Dubai said, reported The News on Friday.
Related Article: Dubai Is Now Buyer’s and Tenant’s Market, Property Stats Show
The properties which are being bargained off (fire-sale) are in posh areas of the city. It is learnt that some Pakistani political leaders, relatives of property business tycoons, former bureaucrats have succeeded to dispose off their properties there.
Pakistan diplomatic sources also confirmed to the paper that the wealthy Pakistanis have been selling their properties in the city very hastily. It is learnt that majority of them did not disclose these properties in their annual returns and were said to be moving their assets out of the country to avoid getting caught in the event of a serious crackdown on this unaccounted-for money. The process of vending properties has shown upward trend after the revelation that the UAE authorities shared details of property owners with Pakistan.
The Economic Crime Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had requested the Ministry of Finance of UAE for the exchange of information about rich Pakistanis in November 2017 through Pakistan diplomatic channels. Pakistanis’ investment in real estate sector in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is also showing downward trend in first six months of current year 2018.
The newly-elected government seeks to bring back Dh551 billion (nearly $150 billion) worth of liquid and immovable assets held by its citizens overseas.
Sultan Butti bin Mejren, the director general of the Dubai Land Department said Pakistani investments exceeded Dh57 billion through 46,058 real estate investments made by 32,083 investors in the past 10 years.
Pakistani investigators with the cooperation of Dubai authorities have already traced 2,750 overseas properties in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
These overseas property empires were allegedly acquired by Pakistani nationals with illegal flight of capital and plunder of the hard-earned taxpayers’ money worth around Rs4,240 billion. Based on three intelligence reports, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) have started crackdown against around 5,000 super rich Pakistanis who allegedly violated the national laws to acquire these properties in the UAE, The News reported earlier this month.