ABU DHABI // Police have foiled an attempt to smuggle 12 cars out of the UAE by using forged export certificates, according to the state news agency, WAM. Eight people, including three truck drivers, four administrators in a transport company and an illegal resident, were arrested. The administrators were released on bail. Col Maktoum Ali al Sharifi, the head of the inquiry at the Abu Dhabi Criminal Investigation Department, said that among the stolen vehicles were 10 Toyota Corolla and Nissan Mazda saloon cars that belonged to a rental agency in Sharjah.
The owner of the agency, an Emirati, had recently sold the business to another Arab suspect, with the illegal resident AHH, 34, acting as a mediator. AHH admitted under interrogation that the aim of buying the agency was to smuggle its stock of cars, which were still under bank financing, out of the country. He explained that while the buyer had agreed to pay Dh330,000 (US$90,000), only Dh100,000 of that had been up-front, with the rest on a post-dated cheque.
The three drivers - AEK, 33, ZTM, 22, and WBM, 53 - all denied any role in the scheme, claiming that the transport company had provided the cars with what they had taken to be genuine export licences. The company told them to transport the cars to another Arab country through a neighbouring Gulf state. The drivers acknowledged, however, that they had not cross-checked the information on the shipping documents with the registration certificates or the cars themselves.