When a place like Dubai is mentioned, one’s thoughts quickly drift towards towering skyscrapers, insane attractions, and uber luxurious amenities. It isn’t called the “playground for billionaires” for nothing. Unfortunately, although Dubai ruler, Sheikh Mohammed, says that there is a zero tolerance level when it comes to corruption in his city, there is corruption everywhere, no matter where you are.
Underneath the tourist attractions, the finest of dining, and some of the most luxurious experiences one could afford lays a world that isn’t as sparkly as Dubai’s tourist advertisements would lead you to believe. There are other places in this world that are equally if not more corrupt than Dubai, like Somalia, Sudan, or North Korea, but no one tries to cover up the truth and hide the facts more than Dubai. Though some of you might argue that North Korea has done more in the way of trying to deceive the outside world of the horrors that truly lie within, because Dubai is so open to outside tourism, they invite more corruption than might have been if Dubai closed its borders and followed the same sorts of practices that Kim Jong-un uses.
In this article, we will explore the reasons why some say that Dubai, although it has a million sparkling features, is the most corrupt place on Earth. Some of the same horrors seen in other countries are seen here, like torture for confession and enslavement. Other crimes, like money laundering, while still seen in other countries, is at such a high scale in Dubai that it should have its own tier of corruption.
18. Prisoners Are Beaten In Jail
There have been numerous accounts of people being wrongly jailed, tortured, raped, and almost killed. Two of those cases made big news. The first was an incident that involved a man named Karl Williams, who says he was jailed for possessing fake weed that he insists was planted in his car. When he was jailed back in 2012, he recounts seeing men being beaten and then stabbed to death. He himself received electric shocks to his groin and there were times he thought the officers were going to gang rape him. Another man, David Haigh, was the managing director of Leeds United, a professional soccer club, and was accused of money laundering when he was tased, beaten, and “torched” by the officers trying to get a confession.
17. A Trillion Has Been Wasted Due To Corruption
In a semi-recent interview, the Emir of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed, said that he “wanted to be frank.” He then went on to speak about the corruption within his city, President Donald Trump, and more. When mentioning some points that needed further discussion, he mentioned that a “trillion USD is wasted in the region due to corruption.” Just think about that for a minute. A TRILLION dollars is being wasted because of the mass amount of corruption going on in Dubai and the surrounding areas. A fact like that is the reason why much of the people are illiterate and they continue to live in poverty even though the city is supposed to be one of vast wealth.
16. The Glimmering City Was Built With Slave Labor
If you look at comparison pictures of Dubai ten or so years ago and the massive monument of a city that stands there now, you can see just how much the landscape has changed. Of course, the city-state was built over more than a decade, but they have a dirty little secret as to how they erected the towering Dubai so quick. Just like the people were enslaved in Egypt in order to create the great pyramids, slave labor was also used in the construction of Dubai. The worst part about the labor camps in Dubai is that they are still alive and well in this day and age when most of the world finds slavery unacceptable. They existed to first get this city up and running, but they remain now to create the city’s continuous expansions.
15. Local Loan Lenders Seek Immigrant Workers To Bamboozle
When you travel to Dubai to work, you are required to get a work visa that can cost $2,500. A lot of the workers that travel here seeking the promised work and fair wage are people from other, more impoverished countries trying to work to take care of their families back home. Coming from super poor communities means that these workers have very little to no money, even having an amount like $1,000 can seem near impossible. However, there are plenty local lenders that specifically seek out these workers to offer dreams of what could be, along with a loan that can cover the cost of a work visa to get them started. It would be fine if the immigrant workers had been able to pay off the debt within six months as was promised, but things were not as they seemed.
14. Be Careful If You Quit
A law in Dubai requires your employer to notify your bank, the place you store your money for safe keeping, if you have terminated your employment with them. This is for debt reasons and it can cause you a lot of issues if you are trying to leave the city-state. It doesn’t matter if you once lived in another country, if you are working in Dubai and abiding by their laws, your bank will be notified if you quit your job. Now, we’re sure that you could inform your bank of an up-and-coming career change and there probably wouldn’t be any issues. Plus, you are really only in trouble if you have debt. Apparently, Dubai doesn’t “do” debt.
13. Make Sure Your Passport Isn’t Taken
There have been a ton of personal accounts from migrant workers that claim their passports were taken once they arrived in Dubai. Once a group of workers comes into to town, they are apparently harassed and coerced into purchasing a work visa, something they need to actually start working, which also typically costs a fortune. After becoming indebted by a local lender, it is said that their construction “company” then takes their passport, trapping them within the city-state. Who knows what is happening with all of the collected identifying information that is being stolen from people, trapping them in a cycle, never able to get out or get home.
12. Poverty Has Increased By 80% In Just The Last Two Years
Partially due to corruption, Sheikh Mohammed says that poverty in the region has increased by 80% in the last two years alone. In fact, he said that in the overall Arab community both in Dubai, as well as other places, 57 million Arabs are illiterate, 30 million were living in poverty, with much of that number living in extreme poverty, and over 13 million Arab children were not enrolled in any form of school this year. Although those numbers include Arabs from more than just Dubai, the fact that there is any poverty in such a rich city is something that’s simply ludicrous.
11. Journalists Are Heavily Fined And Were Once Jailed
The laws may have been changed back in 2007, but up until then, journalists could be thrown in jail for even taking a few notes on a possible developing scandal. The media and what is allowed to be shown to the public, has very strict guidelines, and now, a lot of what journalists try to print just gets them a bunch of hefty fines. Because of these incredible fines, journalists and reporters are having a hard time getting the scoop on human rights stories and the slavery issues that seems to surround this city.
10. If You’re In Debt, You’re Stuck In Dubai
Like we mentioned before, Dubai doesn’t take too kindly to debt, of any kind. If you’re in debt in Dubai, you’re in trouble. If you don’t have any money whatsoever, you could be thrown into jail for at least six months as payment for your “crimes.” If you were trying to quit your job and leave the city-state, you had better make sure that you are free and clear of any debts. If not, you’ll be thrown into jail just like the next person, and it’s going to be rather difficult to earn money for a plane ticket while you’re stuck in there.
9. Stories Can’t Go To Print Until The Source Is Freed
Freedom of the press is so limited in Dubai that many stories detailing the issues occurring within law enforcement, the corruption, or really anything that puts the city in a bad light, gets you in a ton of trouble. After a piece is written, the journalist often has to wait for their source to be released from jail before they can publish since many informants or “sources” are caught due to the strict laws and practices. If the government were to find out about the story, it could incur more jail time for the source, which is why they wait to release the story until the source is free and clear.
8. Women Have To Be Careful Turning Down Advancements
If a western woman says no to advances from a local male, pictures she’s posted on her social media accounts showing her dressed in normal, yet “immodest” clothing, drinking and generally enjoying herself, could be used against her if they say she is disrespecting Dubai’s laws. Yes, we understand it sounds crazy, but it happens. You could be out enjoying yourself, posting to your social media accounts and then you get hit on by some guy. Now, if you don’t give in to his advances, no matter how crass they might be, he could give your name and a claim that you are disrespecting the rules that govern Dubai, along with your pictures and BAM! It could result in you getting slapped with fines or even a stint in jail.
7. Corruption Runs Rampant Throughout Construction
Pretty much every building project that has been constructed in Dubai has been riddled with either fraudulent accounting, bribery of state officials, the purchasing of illegal building materials, or a combination of all three. For years construction companies have flocked to Dubai to construct taller and taller structures against the sky. Why would they build anywhere else when they could use dirt cheap labor, buy their materials from illegal and unethical sources, and they don’t have to abide by any rules or regulations. They end up making a ton of money by building in Dubai.
6. The Trials Are Extremely Biased
If you end up facing the court system in Dubai, good luck. According to a bunch of people, not surprisingly, the trials they were a part of were completely biased. There have been other accounts that claim local law enforcement planted illegal substances in their vehicles before “randomly” pulling them over and taking them to jail. Of course, anytime someone is trying to question the laws, the corruption issues, or anything that doesn’t show Dubai in a positive light, they aren’t given a fair trial. Pretty much, if you are going to take a trip to this city, make sure you are well-versed in their laws and you that don’t get into any trouble. Chances are things will not go in your favor.
5. Some Of The Most Corrupt Have Flocked To Dubai
The law of attraction basically says that you attract what you are, that’s why experts tell you to be positive so that you will attract positivity. The same thing has happened to Dubai, except it was their corruption that attracted more corruption to it. The most recent and most publicized event was in 2016, when Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, used about $500,000 from the Nigerian army to buy two properties in Dubai. This isn’t even the first time Nigeria and Dubai have had shady dealings, an estimated $200 billion has been wrongfully taken from investments in Nigeria to be used in Dubai.
4. Dubai Authorities Refuse To Work With The Rest Of The World
Although Dubai is known by most of the world as the “Adult Disney World” or the “Billionaires’ Playground,” most law enforcement agencies around the world that have had a chance to work with Dubai’s police officers call the city-state the “black hole of international cooperation.” The reason for this name is because Dubai’s law enforcement apparently does very little, if anything, when it comes to working on crimes that have crossed borders into Dubai. One of the biggest cases was the Kabul Bank Scandal which we’ll get into a little later on. Dubai is definitely a city that plays by its own set of rules.
3. The Races Are Rigged
The monarchs of Dubai, the Maktoum family, have an entire stable of horses called Godolphin. The horses that make up the private thoroughbred collection have collectively won over 4,000 horse races all over the world. All that prize money, including the $10 million they receive for winning the World Cup in Dubai, a feat which they have accomplished eight different times, goes right back into Dubai. You might think that the horses win simply on merit, but that, unfortunately, is not the case. The Maktoum family had been pumping the majority of their horses full of steroids before each race, ensuring them the win. Of course, you’re probably going to win when you aren’t playing by the rules.
2. The Kabul Bank Scandal
Long story short, an audit was conducted for Kabul Bank in Afghanistan which revealed that there was $1 billion missing from the bank. Investigators said that they believed that the bank owners were using the bank like a personal fund and using it to pay for their uber lavish lifestyles. Over half of the stolen funds were then traced to banks in Dubai. Even though law officials and governments alike came forth asking for cooperation during the investigations, Dubai chose not to comply. A former magistrate known for revealing scandals, Eva Joly, called for the UAE to be placed on the black list of countries that don’t enforce money-laundering laws.
1. The Glittering City Is A Lie
150,000 workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China are the people you should thank for your seemingly pleasant stay in Dubai. Without them, Dubai wouldn’t be the luxurious and dazzling city you see advertised all over the world. These workers are told that they would be able to make a decent living for themselves and their families. They are lied to and taken advantage of. Most work 12 hour days in blistering heat without food or much water because they were tricked into debt they now have to work off in order to start their new lives. The glamor and glitz of this city-state are nothing more than a facade.