Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dubai's very own Mata Hari

I have no idea what we're supposed to make of the sensational story about Malika Karoum, but it's fascinating me.

Yesterday 'Emirates Business 247' said that Malika, a senior executive in various Dubai-based real estate companies, was in jail in Egypt. They were quoting a Dutch tabloid magazine, which said she's been in jail for six months and has been convicted of money laundering and weapons trading. She was acquitted of espionage though.

Always a good reliable source of facts, are tabloids.

Anyway, today 'EmBiz' said she wasn't in jail after all.

That was after she told them the story was created by her former husband as part of their child custody battle.

She's been on Dubai Eye radio news too, which I'd say would be unlikely if she's in an Egyptian jail.

But. Was the person who spoke to the media yesterday really Malika? Suppose that from her Egyptian jail she'd arranged for a doppelganger to contact Dubai's media.

Dismiss no possibility in this saga.

But the stories here pale into insignificance compared to the one in 'Sydney Morning Herald'.

It's not usually a sensationalist paper but boy, this story has it all!

It has Dubai's real estate, business methods and politics, Aussies in Al Slammer, espionage for muliple countries, money laundering, gun running, drug dealing, terrorism, kidnap, greed, fraud, robbery, murder...

I loved this line: But there has not been a peep out of Dubai, which does not care about bad publicity.

Just about the only thing the story doesn't have is a connection to JFK's assassination.

It does include ridiculous tabloid stuff like this:

"Four days after the swoop on Karoum's home, Dubai police arrested two Australians, Matt Joyce and Marcus Lee, on suspicion of fraud. The pair are former executives of Dubai Waterfront, the world's grandest waterfront project, a subsidiary of the Emirate's biggest property developer, the government-owned Nakheel.

The jailed Australians, who are fighting to prove their innocence, are in no way linked to Karoum."

So why put it in the story as though there is a link?

All this is under photographs of Malika, one with "two unidentified men" and one of Mata Hari.

Equally interesting is EmBiz' website.

If you type the 'she's in jail' headline in the search panel to go to yesterday's story you get:

"Former UAE-based realty executive jailed in Egypt Malika Karoum, who previously held senior positions at three Dubai-based real estate companies, including Omniyat Properties, ACI Real Estate and Define ...

But click on it and you get "This page does not exist"

You can, however, get today's 'she's not in jail' story. That's here.

And the amazing Sydney Morning Herald story, which is well worth reading, is here.

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