x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Court told woman was robbed of $1.38 million

Two men beat, bound and gagged a Kirgiz woman before stealing US$1.38 million (Dh5m) from her hotel room, a court heard yesterday.

DUBAI // Two men beat, bound and gagged a Kirgiz woman before stealing US$1.38 million (Dh5m) from her hotel room, a court heard yesterday. Two of the defendants, a Lebanese security guard and a Kirghiz national, are charged with forcing their way into the victim's room, assaulting her, tying her up and robbing her. The third, a Kirghiz visitor, is charged with possession of some of the stolen money.

Giving evidence, the victim, SB, 50, said that on the evening of Aug 4 last year, she went to meet a business associate at Dubai International Airport. SB said that while the associate was handing her $1.38m in cash, she noticed a man and women watching her. SB said she recognised the woman as a Kirghiz national who been staying at her hotel. SB said she then boarded the bus and went back to her hotel.

At around 11.30pm, one of the defendants, RY, 28, a Kirghiz national, allegedly knocked on her door and asked her in Russian if she could help him send Dh50,000 to the cargo company she worked for. When SB let RY in, she was surprised to find a second man, RA, 29, the Lebanese defendant, enter with him. Both began to beat her before gagging her with tape and tying her up. They opened her briefcase, transferred the money from it to their own bag and left, she said.

SB managed to free herself and run after the pair. They again assaulted her and threw her to the ground before getting into the hotel lift. The victim followed them to reception and into the street with adhesive tape still on her mouth and face. She tried to attract help, but the men fled. All three defendants pleaded not guilty before the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance. hbathish@thenational.ae