x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Embezzlers lose appeal over Dh500m scam

Three people were convicted of stealing about Dh500 million after they failed to reach a settlement with the major financial services company where they had worked.

ABU DHABI // Three people were convicted yesterday of stealing about Dh500 million after they failed to reach a settlement with the major financial services company where they had worked.

The three were found guilty at the Court of Appeal of embezzling from Global Gate Financial Services, which, according to prosecutors, damaged the reputation of the securities market and its clients.

Global Gate provides brokerage services for the Abu Dhabi and Dubai securities markets. Two other former workers, accused of the same charges, are outside the country and have never been arrested.

AT, a Palestinian, was sentenced to eight years in prison and fines of Dh9m and Dh30,000, a reduction from his original sentence of 11 years and a fine of Dh9m or an equivalent in assets.

The six-year sentence for AA, a Jordanian, was upheld, as was an eight-year term for the third defendant, SA, also Jordanian.

In a statement after the first verdict, the company said it would file a civil lawsuit after the convictions. The company said it would demand Dh298m for funds belonging to it, Dh77m for funds belonging to shareholders and Dh124m in other, private funds.

AT, who served as the general director of the company, made Dh142m for himself by using company money to buy and sell shares using clients' accounts. He also laundered money in the transfer of Dh9m, obtained from his investment scheme, to a Swiss bank.

The company's head of operations, SA, forged and unlawfully cashed company cheques and illegally accessed the company's computer system, changing data and transferring about Dh60m in profits from one client to another.

AA, a finance chief, took Dh57m from clients using power of attorney he had been given as part of his job. He also laundered money and transferred Dh4m to his wife's account in Jordan.

A client of the company, KA, from Syria, was accused of facilitating the crimes by opening an account there in her name, which AT used for illicit trading. KA was given a suspended one-year prison sentence in February 2009.

IMA, the head of trading, from Lebanon, embezzled Dh1.6m by buying shares in his relatives' names using company money, prosecutors say.

The director's brother, who has not been arrested, was sentenced to three years in prison in absentia.

hhassan@thenational.ae