x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Court upholds longest fraud jail terms

Six men lose appeal bid over Dh1.84bn bank embezzlement.

DUBAI // The longest jail terms handed out in a single UAE fraud case have been upheld by an appeals court.

Six businessmen were sentenced to 10 years each for the embezzlement of Dh1.84 billion from Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB).

The sentence, which also included the six men paying Dh3.68bn - for the amount embezzled and the same amount in a fine - was handed down by the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance in April and upheld yesterday.

The six men who had denied committing fraud, embezzlement, bribery and forgery were: the Britons CM, 48, and RL, 50; the Pakistani former DIB executives RU, 50, and OM, 39; the Turkish businessman EN, 36; and the American ZU.

The charges related to events in 2008.

On top of helping to pay the Dh3.68bn, RU, OM, and ZU were ordered to pay a total fine of US$2 million (Dh7.3m) and return a further $2m to DIB.

The Dubai Court of Appeals also upheld the acquittal of AF, 58, the director of Plantation Holdings, on charges of aiding and abetting and criminal complicity.

The men were arrested after a Dubai Government Financial Audit Department investigation found Dh1.84bn from the bank had been given to the Turkish company CCH - which was run by EN and for which RL and CM worked - in the form of credit allowances.

The investigating officer, Mohammed Mustafa Hussein, told prosecutors that CCH illegally acquired the funds from the bank with the help of the three other men.

Witnesses told prosecutors that after the inquiry was launched, it was discovered CCH owed $100m more to two other banks.

RU and OM were the executives in charge of the credit allowances for CCH. They also received $950,000 and $750,000 respectively as bribes, prosecutors said.

Although the six men would ostensibly remain in prison after their sentences expired until they paid their fine, a law introduced in 2009 may allow them to walk free if an "amicable settlement" can be reached with creditors.

It says prisoners must be granted communication privileges to arrange payment of their debts or a settlement with debtors.

amustafa@thenational.ae