x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Magnate pays off part of embezzled money in court treasury

Al Boom's lawyers present documents showing the business man has paid US$20million to the court's treasury as his first instalment in repaying US$300m.

DUBAI // Lawyers representing the Emirati businessman and property magnate Abid al Boom have presented the court with documents showing he has paid US$20million to the court's treasury as his first instalment in repaying US$300m he is accused of embezzling. Mr al Boom, the chief executive of Al Boom Holdings, is charged with breaching the trust of 3,700 investors and taking almost Dh1billion from them.

Ali al Falasi, one of Mr al Boom's three lawyers, showed the court bank transfer documents stating that the US$20m has left his account and will credit the treasury account within 96 hours. The payment, according to court, was made in accordance with the liquidation report produced by the liquidation committee appointed by special decree from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The report's findings were presented to the legal team representing Mr al Boom this month.

Hassan al Raisi, another of Mr Al Boom's lawyers, told the court yesterday in his argument that the case should be dismissed because the attorney general's case was flawed and did not follow legal procedures. "One of the plaintiffs, your honour, who is claimed to have lost Dh3m did not even know Mr al Boom and has not handed any money to him," he said. "How can you put trust in the public prosecutors with such flaws in their case?"

The advocate Hamdi al Shiwi went further, telling the court that the actions taken by the attorney general's office were illegal. "Mr al Boom had his accounts frozen initially, then a press statement was released asking investors to come forward and file complaints," he said. "After that a case was registered against him. Finally, after the Ruler's decree, which stipulated that no criminal or civil charges are to be filed, prosecuters charged him with two cheque cases."

Public prosecutors had told the court Mr al Boom has spent the most of the embezzled funds on parties, boats and luxury cars, leaving only one per cent of the amount embezzled. The prosecutor Younis al Baloushi said Mr al Boom and his accomplices have acted like animals after they cheated investors of their savings and went to spend on a life of luxury. Mr al Boom purchased 53 luxury vehicles, including Bentleys, for himself and his managers, the court was told. He said that he also purchased a luxury yacht for himself and two boats, one which was specifically used for parties and receptions.

Mr al Boom was also accused of spending millions of the investors' dirhams on donations to football clubs and the purchase of special number plates. Judge El Saeed Bargouth who is presiding over the special tribunal adjourned to August 8 for prosecutors to respond to the allegations presented. @Email:amustafa@thenational.ae