x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Ex-Tamweel officials accused of making Dh44m in illegal land deals

Former senior executives of the mortgage lender appear in court charged with illegal land deals involving company-owned properties.

DUBAI // Four senior executives of the country's largest mortgage lender, Tamweel, appeared in court yesterday, charged with making an estimated Dh44 million (US$12m) in profits through illegal land deals involving company-owned properties. The four, including Tamweel's former chief executive officer, and a fifth man denied the charges.

The chief defendant in the case is a 38-year-old Emirati man identified as AA, who officials say was the chief executive at the time of the crime. His co-defendants are: Tamweel's former chief investments officer, identified as FK, a 28-year-old Jordanian; the lender's deputy chief executive, a 44-year-old Emirati identified as AH; and another Emirati, SA, 40, who was Tamweel's executive manager and a member of the board.

A fifth man, AE, a 33-year-old Jordanian, whose ties to the others were unclear, is also charged. All five men were arrested a year ago and remained in custody during an investigation. According to court documents, AA and AH are accused of requesting from AE that three pieces of land at Dubai's Sama al Jadaf development be transferred to them at the price Tamweel had paid for them. They were then alleged to have sold the properties to Bonyan Holdings, a partner in the development, at higher prices, personally making about Dh21m.

The other men are accused of deals that resulted in them collecting profits of Dh3.7m to Dh13.8m. Defence lawyers argued that the 6,000-page charging document contained no evidence and that the case should be dismissed. The next hearing was set for September 6. Tamweel executives declined to comment. ealghalib@thenational.ae