x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Bogus agent tried to sell villa, court told

A man posed as a property agent in an attempt to sell an upmarket villa at the Palm Jumeirah, a court hears.

DUBAI // A man posed as a property agent in an attempt to sell an upmarket villa at the Palm Jumeirah, the Dubai Criminal Court heard yesterday. Police in Bur Dubai arrested AH, a 25-year-old Briton, on June 18 in a sting operation. Officers charged him with presenting a false identity, passport forgery, and forging UAE entry and exit stamps. He was also charged with assaulting police officers and resisting arrest.

Prosecution records show that the case arose from a complaint filed by IC, a British estate agent in Dubai who represented the owner of the villa. IC testified that his client, ME, who was in Britain, asked him this year to sell the property for Dh16 million (US$4.4m). IC discovered, however, that the villa was falsely registered under the name of a different owner and that another agent was trying to sell it.

The police, ME and IC devised a plan to catch the bogus agent in the act of selling the property. A police sergeant testified that he arranged to meet AH at the villa. The court heard that when AH arrived at the property, officers confronted him about his attempt to sell it, but that he reacted violently, knocking an officer to the ground. Another police officer received a blow to the shoulder and scratches from AH's fingernails. Two police officers and two witnesses subdued AH, court records show.

The sergeant told prosecutors that when the accused was on the floor, he saw AH remove something from a back pocket and throw it into the pool. The object was a passport bearing the defendant's false identity, the sergeant testified. Judge El Saeed Bargouth adjourned the case until next month, when the court is expected to hear additional witness testimony. amustafa@thenational.ae