Frozen bank accounts, travel ban: Kuwait pursues 10 influencers for money laundering

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Kuwait’s Attorney General ordered the immediate seizure of all the assets of the 10 social media influencers charged with money laundering and banned them from travel, leading Kuwaiti newspaper, al-Qabas reported on Sunday.

The central bank froze the 10 suspects’ bank accounts and the Ministry of Interior circulated their names to all authorities at land border crossings and airports to ensure they cannot flee, according to al-Qabas.

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The Kuwaiti newspaper released the names of the 10 influencers accused of money laundering, citing an unnamed source, they are: Fouz al-Fahad, Abdulwahab al-Essa, Dana al-Tuwarish, Mishari Buyabis, Halema Bouland, Maryam Reda, Farah Hadi, Jamal al-Najada, Shifa al-Kharaz, and Yaqub Boushehri.

“The awaited decision is to arrest the accused,” al-Qabas cited a source with knowledge of the investigation as saying.

On Monday, the newspaper cited sources close to the current investigation as saying that the total balances of the 10 suspects’ frozen accounts amounted to approximately 30 million dinars ($98 million), while the value of the personal assets of some of them is six times that amount.

The report listed some of those assets as real estate in Kuwait and abroad, rare jewelry, yachts, and expensive watches.

Kuwait’s authorities did not issue an official public statement on the case yet, but the Ministry of Justice included several articles by local media reporting the developments of the investigation in its daily newsletter.

On July 14, the Ministry of Interior announced that it arrested members of money laundering network after months of monitoring and tracking their movements.

“Police Forces raided the hideout of the networks mastermind and main suspect at a chalet in the southern Bnaider area. Police have also raided four other sites used by the suspect: a house, a farm in the southern al-Wafra farms area in al-Ahmadi governorate, and two apartments: one in Kuwait City and the other in Al-Salmiya district. The security services searched the sites and seized many items that were found in the mentioned sites and a member of the network was arrested at Kuwait International Airport before he managed to escape,” the MOI statement read.

The ministry added that the police found luxury and classic cars, precious jewelry and expensive watches, cash in both local and international currencies, and cartons of alcohol.

It is not clear whether the MOI’s announcement was related to the recent case against the 10 social media influencers.

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