x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Jailed Dubai Properties chairman freed after he repays Dh130m

Former chairman who 'abused position and power' let out after eight months but may face further charges as investigations continue.

DUBAI // The former chairman of Dubai Properties, a unit of Dubai Holding, has been released from jail after repaying Dh130 million in state funds. Hashim al Dabal was freed after eight months in custody, the Dubai Attorney General, Essam Issa al Humaidan, said yesterday. Mr al Dabal had been held since being taken in for questioning in October on suspicion of taking illegal profits from property transactions.

The funds have been deposited in the Public Prosecution's treasury and will be returned to the Dubai Government, which owns Dubai Holding. "Mr al Dabal was granted his freedom after he repaid the amounts he acquired through abusing his position and power," said Mr al Humaidan. The former Dubai Holding board member was the second executive to be released under similar circumstances under an amnesty law issued last December.

Omar bin Sulaiman, the former governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre, was freed on May 20 after repaying Dh51.5m obtained during his tenure. While free for now, Mr al Dabal could soon find himself behind bars again. He may face charges with regard to more than 15 separate investigations being conducted by the recently formed Monetary and Public Funds prosecution, which is headed by Ismail Ali Madani.

Mr al Humaidan said: "Due to the number of reports and documents collected as well as witnesses that are being interviewed by the public funds prosecutors, it is too soon to state the depth of the fraud in question as fraud cases follow specific provisions of the law." A number of senior executives in Dubai were tried after a sweeping campaign by the Dubai Government in March 2008 to combat corruption. That operation has resulted in 15 investigations and court cases involving 40 executives who were pursued for suspected crimes involving Dh3.7 billion, including theft and bribe-taking.

Dubai courts have acquitted two former suspects and are reviewing the appeals of five others. amustafa@thenational.ae