The article in question dwells upon peculiarities of investigations of frauds in Middle Eastern countries. The author notes that he has quite extensive experience of investigation of such crimes in the Middle East (such countries as Kuwait and the UAE), which enables him to share some important tips. These tips address such aspects as culture, methodology, social norms, and so on. For instance, the author stresses that there are fewer written laws in the region, which makes it harder to implement the investigation.
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The investigator should be careful and make sure he/she uses methods consistent with legal regulations existing in the region. Importantly, new rules and regulations may occur every day, so it is important to keep track of such changes. Furthermore, the culture is very different from the western one. Weekends are on Fridays (prayer day) and Thursday or Saturday (for multinationals). Interestingly, if local people promise to provide some information by a certain time, they are unlikely to keep their word, so it is necessary to be prepared for such situations. Of course, it is critical to avoid any conversations concerning political, religious, or social issues as local people may develop a hostile attitude towards the investigator, which will result in their unwillingness to cooperate.
It is also vital to have a person who knows the local language as well as cultural and social peculiarities. It is the best strategy to have individuals of diverse ethnic backgrounds in the investigation team. It has been acknowledged that employees often collaborate and develop friendly relationships with people about the same background. Therefore, employees will be willing to share information with investigators who are of the same origin. The author also notes that business practices differ from the ones accepted in western countries. For example, kickbacks are mainly tolerated, and a specific culture has been developed. In many companies, salaries of certain employees are lower than they could be as it is assumed that the employee will receive kickbacks or bribes.
As for some methods used during investigations, the author notes that personal background checks might be insufficient as little information is available publicly, there are financial restrictions for non-GCC1 citizens and expatriates (who form the major part of the workforce) send their savings to their countries. As to expatriates’ savings, it is difficult to track them down as they use the so-called ‘hawala’ to send their money to the country of their origin.
The hawala is an unregulated network that handles international financial operations. Hawala transactions can hardly be investigated. Another important tip for investigators is the need to double-check data when it comes to exchanging rates. For instance, some employees may put incorrect sums in US dollars, so the investigator should always double-check this. Another common method, matching addresses, can be used, but it is necessary to remember that there are no street names in many Middle Eastern countries, so employees use their employer’s addresses for correspondence.
Thus, if the employee receives too many checks may be rather alarming. It is also important to take into account the peculiarities of the Middle Eastern market where payments to officials are regarded as ‘facilitating’ and are quite common. The investigator should understand that such payments can be provided, but it is necessary to consult competent counsel regarding these issues (for example, several payments). The author also provides helpful links that can help a western person traveling or doing business in the Middle East.