Instability in Syria and Iraq, plus the deterioration of security in Turkey, are facilitating the illicit antiquities trade. With a global valuation of approximately U.S. $3 billion, the potential financial rewards on offer to criminal groups mean the trade remains an area of pressing concern.
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Developments in Turkey and Lebanon could impact on the illicit narcotics routes that go to Western Europe. In both cases, the weakening of the security state apparatus will contribute to the expansion of the illicit economic interests of drug trafficking networks.
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Iran is fast becoming an attractive investment location, but its susceptibility to illicit financial practices remains a pernicious thorn in the side of foreign investors. Money laundering, terrorist financing and politically exposed persons are issues that still merit attention.
Dubai’s secretive economy is susceptible to money laundering, drug trafficking, and terrorist financing. Opportunities that existed for smugglers in the 19th and 20th century simply grew as the UAE set itself up to prosper.
A favourable investment climate in Saudi Arabia depends as much on combating corruption and opacity as it does on macroeconomic restructuring. Progress in this regard should be monitored by investors who have a watchful eye on the Kingdom’s investment potential, especially as it seeks to bolster sources of FDI in the short-to-medium term.
Sadegh Larijani, Iran’s Head of Judiciary, stands accused of holding 63 bank accounts in his name. Although there are some tones of political motivation behind the attack, there is little doubt that the accounts exist.
Conservative Tehran Mayor Ghalibaf has faced allegations that he approved the sale of under-valued real estate to council employees and private citizens; manipulating a new bylaw.
Heading into 2017 with an understanding of the key country proclivities in Egypt will help investors navigate an opaque and uncertain environment.
Given the potentially lucrative commercial environment in Iran, an overview of its political landscape is arguably more pressing in 2017 than any other year in recent memory.
The coming year will be crucial for external investors in determining how receptive Saudi Arabia will be to foreign investment.
With a rapidly forgiving policy towards Egypt’s fallen elite, the central question is to what extent the government may lead their reintegration.
The IGA is pursuing a strategy of reconciliation with criminalised elites from the former regime in order to recoup parts of Egypt’s lost wealth. While this policy aligns with the country’s pressing fiscal needs, investors should pay attention to the effects that political rehabilitation may have on the workings of the deep state under President Sisi.
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