x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Gang took US$5.8m from businessman in mugging, court hears

Four men got information about big wire transfers and planned the theft, prosecutors say.

DUBAI // A gang of four men stole more than US$5 million (Dh18.4m) from a businessman in a car park, a court heard this morning.

Three confessed while a fourth, JP, 38, denied all charges.

According to records, MM, 28; JP; and RA, 30, all Russians, and PK, 30, from Uzbekistan, assaulted two men with weapons on March 28 in the car park of a hotel apartment. They fled with four bags containing US$5.8m, prosecutors say.

They all face charges of assault and theft. MM and PK additionally were charged with stealing a black Jaguar used in the robbery. They confessed.

"We didn't use any weapons," MM, PK, and RA told the judge.

The victim MR, 45, a Dutch businessman, testified that he often came to the country on business – most recently, on March 23.

He said he had requested the amount as a loan from a friend, who sent it to him in two transfers to two exchange offices.

"I received US$2.3m from an exchange centre in Deirah, while the remaining amount was received by my friend, RP, the second victim, from a center in Naif area," MR said.

The gang, wearing masks, waited in the car park until the two men arrived carrying two suit cases and two gym bags, which held the money, prosecutors said.

The men attacked with edged weapons, leaving MR and RP with injuries that required nearly 20 days of treatment, records show.

They stole the money, a laptop, a Dutch passport, and two mobile phones.

"I managed to overcome my injuries and call the police before I fainted," said MR, who suffered from 10 deep cuts to his leg, back and face. Records show that MR's wallet saved him from five fatal wounds.

RP testified that he managed to get the licence plate number of the car the gang used.

"The entire incident happened in a couple of minutes," he said.

Records show that a man in Moscow had provided the men with the details of the transfers.

A Russian woman was also arrested in Dubai an charged with concealing the money. She is being tried separately in the Court of Misdemeanours.

The next hearing will be on September 6.

salamir@thenational.ae