x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Bank manager accused of embezzling Dh1.5 million

Wealthy clients' details given to thieves, court told.

DUBAI // The VIP-banking manager at a branch of HSBC passed confidential information about the bank's wealthy clients to two thieves, a court heard yesterday.

The three men worked together to withdraw more than Dh1.5 million from an Iraqi VIP customer's account using a forged driving licence as ID, Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance was told.

A teller at the branch told prosecutors one of the thieves, MS, 31, a Syrian, had tried more than once to withdraw large amounts from different accounts before stealing the Dh1.5 million.

On June 12 last year he arrived at the HSBC Jebel Ali branch and requested a withdrawal of Dh1,580,000 from the US-dollar account of a VIP customer.

"He asked me for the withdrawal and asked for a good exchange rate from US dollars to dirhams," said SH, a bank teller. "I proceeded to get the approval done and he presented me with a driving licence in the name of the account holder with his picture."

The VIP-banking manager, AM, 29, a Jordanian, approved the withdrawal and the funds were made available in cash, the court was told.

A state security agent told prosecutors his office received information that the manager was passing on confidential information to MS and another Syrian, AB, 29, to enable them to steal from VIP accounts.

Another state security agent said AB told them the manager had asked him for help to acquire forged identification in the name of the Iraqi VIP customer to withdraw money from the account, which had been dormant for some time.

He introduced the manager to MS, who obtained the forged driving licence. After the theft AB was paid Dh75,000 and MS Dh64,000, the agent said.

All three men were arrested after state security agents tracked and questioned them.

MS admits theft, and aiding and abetting a crime. He denies forgery. AB denies all three charges. The manager denies theft, revealing sensitive secrets of an account, forgery, use of forged documents and aiding and abetting a crime.

The court adjourned the hearing until January 21, when it will hear evidence from witnesses.

amustafa@thenational.ae