criminal law


December 24, 2021



| Your comment matters, please click here to rate article!

UAE authorities take tough stance on cryptocurrency fraudsters

New legislation will increase punishments for online fraudsters to protect the public

Cyber criminals promoting cryptocurrency scams online will face five years behind bars and fines of up to Dh1 million under tough new UAE laws introduced to protect the public from financial fraud.

The clampdown was introduced as part of a series of sweeping legal reforms announced by President Sheikh Khalifa last month.

The new legislation broadens the country's current cyber crime laws to cover the advertisement of rogue cryptocurrency schemes which are not recognised by UAE authorities.

"As per article 48, posting misleading ads or inaccurate data online about a certain product will be punishable with jail and/or a fine between Dh20,000 and Dh500,000," said Dr. Hassan Elhais, of Al Rowaad Advocates.

"The same penalty applies to members of the public who promote cryptocurrencies unrecognised by authorities in the country."

Dr. Elhais explained that previous laws banned promoting cryptocurrencies but didn’t penalise it.

"The amendments introduced punishments against the offence, which is a first for the UAE," he said.

He said article 41 of the law complements the previous article in order to boost online safety and better protect people from falling victim to financial crimes. "It imposes a penalty of five years in prison and/or a fine between Dh250,000 and Dh1 million against those who promote electronic currencies or fake companies to raise money from the public without a license from competent authorities," he added.

UAE seeks to protect public

Cyber criminals have sought to exploit the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies around the world for their own gain.

Cryptocurrencies are a form of digital money, which does not have a physical form like coins or notes, but is instead virtual.

They can be stored in a digital wallet and, while they can't be held in your hand, they have an allotted value to be used to purchase goods. Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi Police warned people to beware of fake cryptocurrency schemes promising instant wealth.

The force called on people not to be duped by adverts promising quick and easy financial gains.

Dubai in May also warned about cryptocurrency fraud after false statements linking it to the Dubai Coin were circulated.

In 2018, a Dubai court sentenced two Indian fraudsters, Sydney Lemos and Ryan Fernandez, to more than 500 years in jail each for their role in an elaborate fake currency scheme.

Investigators believe more than 7,000 investors from across the globe were conned out of nearly $500 million (Dh1.8 billion) in the scam by Exential Investments Inc, once based in Dubai Media City.

Cryptocurrency scams have been reported in countries across the world. Six people were arrested over a €30 million ($36.2m) cryptocurrency scam in May that targeted hundreds of people across Europe.

German police launched an investigation into a gang after citizens reported losses of €7m from the investment fraud.

Cyber law updated

The revised law also sets out punishments of jail time or a fine between Dh50,000 to Dh200,000 or both against offenders who create fake email accounts or website impersonating others.

The penalty increases to two years in prison if the offender used the fake accounts to defame the people they have impersonated.

The UAE is continuing to take action against those circulating fake news by using so-called 'bots' to spread misinformation.

"Article 54 states that using or modifying electronic robots to share, re-share or circulate fake news in the country can be subject to a prison term of two years or a fine not less than Dh100,000 and up to Dh1 million, or both," said Dr Elhais.

Related Links


No comments found.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to know more?
Then talk to us.

Client Testimonials

I owe the success of my case to Dr. Hassan's diligent approach. He remained focused, put me at ease and always went the extra mile. Dr. Hassan tirelessly put my case in the best possible light and I cannot thank him enough. I would highly recommend Dr. Hassan - I am grateful to him from the bottom of my heart.

Raphael Lauria
Manager, FME General Trading

Dr. Hassan Elhais is among the best legal consultants I have ever worked with. He has an amazing ability to reduce complex issues into a simple concept that non-legal people can understand. He consistently develops innovative litigation strategies that help us to achieve our ultimate legal goals.

Zhuo Liu

...the extraordinary effort that has been exerted by the staff, and we specially thank Dr. Hassan Mohsen Alhais. Wishing your continues success & excellence...

H.H. Sheikh Saeed Bin
Mohammed Hashir Al Maktoum

I believe everyone should recognize what a difference Dr. Hassan Elhais work has made to people's lives; and especially to our family's life, because we will remain forever grateful to each and every one of his team.

Luis Pozueco

Dr. Hassan Elhais never fears cases that involve exposure and he always gives me his honest assessment of our chances of success, which is invaluable to me.

Bassam Yamout
Director, JM Metal Trading LCC

He aided us not only in providing legal advice but also in all legal issues that required a long term strategic approach to achieve most favorable and optimum outcomes he provided us with high level of professional service.

Philippe Delbecq

Dr. Hassan Elhais is a responsible, reputable counsel who operates to high levels of service.

British Client

Dr Hassan Elhais is responsive, thorough and creative with his advice, and is a valued advisor and legal consultant.

Asma Mattar
Manager, Italian Style

Regardless of the complexity of the matter I know Dr. Hassan Elhais will consider not only legal strategy but also business practicalities in providing advice and litigation options.

Dr. Massimo Hakim
Chairman, Italian Style

I recommend Dr. Hassan Elhais to anyone who says 'I'm in legal trouble'. I was extremely satisfied with the high standard of his work. He has always been there when I have needed him and I refer all my clients, family and friends to him/his firm.

Manish Gupta
Marketing Manager, Express Digital System

Dr. Hassan Elhais was very professional and he listened to my needs. He was very prompt, efficient and always kept me informed. Dr. Hassan Elhais's service was excellent and I would definitely recommend him to friends and colleagues.

James Horsley
British Client

Contact Me

I Agree to Terms and Conditions
Please check this box if you want to proceed.

Select your Language:


Main Menu