x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Cases dismissed as Boom ruling nears

Final verdict on the Dh960 million embezzlement charge still to be heard at the end of the month, after all other cases against Abed al Boom were dismissed.

DUBAI // The Dubai Court of Appeal has dismissed all other cases against Abed al Boom ahead of the verdict at the end of the month on a Dh960 million embezzlement charge.

Four cases for bounced cheques, for which the courts had sentenced him to up to three years in jail, will be referred to a liquidation committee, according to documents released yesterday.

The special committee was put in place following a decree by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The embezzlement charge, in which Mr al Boom is accused of cheating 3,700 investors, remains a point of contention.

His lawyers have argued that the case is out of the court's jurisdiction because prosecutors referred the case after the decree was issued on August 4, 2009.

But during the 16-month trial, the Deira Chief Prosecutor, Yousif Foulaz, told the court that the charges preceded the decree.

"We have issued our charge sheet from June 4, your honour, two months before the decree," he told the court.

Advocate Hassan al Raisi, who represented Mr al Boom in the bounced cheques cases, also argued to the court last year that the cases were filed after the executive decree.

On that basis, the appeals court dismissed them and referred them instead to the special committee.

Mr al Boom, an Emirati property magnate and businessman, is charged with breach of trust and embezzlement of Dh960m.

He was accused by prosecutors of spending investors' funds on parties, boats and luxury car purchases, leaving only 1 per cent of the amount he stole. The purchases included Bentleys for himself and his managers.

He was also accused of spending millions purchasing special number licence plates, and donating millions to football clubs.

"Your honour, how can a man who in 2002 only owned one car that was worth less than Dh30,000, own 53 cars a few years later and become a socialite?" prosecutor Al Younis al Baloushi asked during a hearing last June.

Mr al Boom, according to Mr al Baloushi, duped investors by paying them small amounts and claiming they were profits.

The committee was set up to overlook the liquidation process, collect on behalf of third parties and stop all civil judicial and criminal proceedings that have been brought against Mr al Boom.

The court's decision to refer the cheques cases to the committee rendered invalid any sentences handed to him earlier. A verdict on the embezzlement charge will be delivered on February 27.