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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

American accused of stealing Dh5 million in precious gem sale

Wealthy family sought to sell stones to raise money to expand factory in Kosovo

An American who helped a wealthy Kosovan family sell precious stones worth Dh5 million later tried to steal the money, a court has heard.

Dubai Criminal Court was told that the man, who has not been named, was approached to assist in the sale of the inherited gems two years ago.

After a buyer was found and the deal completed, however, the American allegedly forged his business partner’s signature to gain access to their joint account where the cash was held.

His efforts to take the money were only prevented when bank officials grew suspicious of his motives, it was claimed.

“We own a large collection of valuable gems,” a 31-year-old woman who represented the Kosovan family told the court.

“We agreed as a family to sell some of these expensive stones in order to help expand a factory in our city and provide more work opportunities to women who lost everything in the [Kosovo] war.”

In court, the American’s business partner said the man had attempted to steal the money from their joint account by forging his signature.

The bank’s operations manager also gave evidence at the hearing, saying the defendant had attempted to make himself the sole signatory on the joint account.

“During 2016 the accused came to see me at the bank alone and presented an official document issued by a court,” said the manager.

“He asked that his partner’s signature no longer be used and for his signature to be the only one recognised by the bank.”

The defendant is charged with illegally forging a number of documents as well as attempting to steal Dh5m.

In court he denied both charges, claiming instead that his business partner had framed him.

“The signature is mine but I absolutely did not sign on any documents related to this case,” he told judges.

The hearing was adjourned until November 7.