Fast Company has a photo essay documenting the downward spiral of Dubai, which had the biggest real estate / money laundering bubble on the planet. The photo says it all, long lines of sewage trucks waiting to dump sewage in the desert because large areas of city have no sewage hookups. Before the bust, truck trips could take 17 hours, so truckers sometimes just dumped into the ocean where it floated back on those expensive beaches.
The rise of Dubai real estate was no doubt fueled enormously by illegal money looking to get clean.
Dubai also serves as the region’s criminal crossroads, a hub for smuggling, money laundering, and underground banking. There are Russian and Indian mobsters, Iranian arms traffickers, and Arab jihadists. Funds for the 9/11 hijackers and African embassy bombers were transferred through the city. It was the heart of Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan’s black market in nuclear technology and other proliferation cases. Half of all applications to buy U.S. military equipment from Dubai are from bogus front companies.