x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Al Boom freed on bail while appealing 923-year jail term

Abed Al Boom granted bail after guarantees including seizure of passports of himself, his wife and adult sons and sureties of Dh500,000 paid by five Emiratis should he miss a hearing.

DUBAI // Abed Al Boom, convicted in February of 3,695 charges of fraud and sentenced to 923 years and nine months in prison, was freed yesterday on bail while his appeal continued.

The Dubai Misdemeanours Court of Appeal granted bail after several guarantees were provided, including seizure of the passports of Al Boom, his wife, his adult sons and five Emiratis who would pay Dh500,000 if he missed a hearing without a valid excuse.

The bail application was submitted by the advocate Hassan Jumaa Al Ranteesi. Ali Al Falasi, Al Boom's defence lawyer, said the decision was expected.

Al Boom, an Emirati, has been found guilty of breaching the trust of 3,706 investors and embezzling Dh960 million.

Judge El Saeed Bargouth, who issued the verdict, acquitted him of 11 charges of fraud. Al Boom's five co-defendants, who included his brother and two women, were cleared of all charges.

Despite the long prison sentence, Al Boom might serve only 10 years in jail, the maximum under the UAE penal code when combined sentences add up to 20 years or more.

Al Boom spent investors' money on parties, boats and luxury cars. Only 1 per cent of the stolen money was recovered.

His defence had argued the charges violated a decree by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, stopping all proceedings against him. Judge Bargouth dismissed that argument because prosecutors charged Al Boom two months before the decree was issued.

The next hearing will be on November 11.

salamir@thenational.ae