x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Main suspect in Dh22m fraud case 'killed himself'

A primary suspect in the Dh22 million World Islands fraud case fell to his death nearly three months ago, the Dubai Criminal Court heard yesterday.

DUBAI // A primary suspect in the Dh22 million World Islands fraud case, Samir Rafik Chinoy, fell to his death nearly three months ago, the Dubai Criminal Court heard yesterday.

Chinoy, 31, died after falling from the 29th floor of the Downtown Address Hotel at approximately 2am on Friday July 9 - four weeks after he was granted bail. The death is being treated as suicide. Chinoy was implicated in the Dh22m fraud trial along with the Canadian director of Group Seven Properties LS, British businessman BS, Bangladeshi AS, Russian SM and Chinoy's father, RC. All but LS are all being tried in their absence. 

LS denied the charges when the case was first brought to court in 2009. The presiding judge, Fahmy Mounir Fahmy, of the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance asked prosecutors to investigate whether LS had fled the country. Prosecutors will contact the General Department of Residency and Foreigners Affairs to track LS's movements. Samir Chinoy was arrested in March last year after investigations by the Dubai Financial Audit department revealed that Dh22m had been embezzled. He was charged in December with accepting bribes and embezzlement as well as causing losses of up to Dh11m to Nakheel.

LS and the other defendants were charged with presenting a bribe and damaging the interests of a government institution. Chinoy was alleged to have accepted Dh16.6m in bribes from LS. He was also charged with accepting Dh2.7m from AS, the Bangladeshi businessman, and accepting Dh2.5m from the absconding Russian businessman. His father was implicated as the funds were funnelled through his bank accounts. Prosecution records show the alleged embezzlement and bribery took place between March 25 and September 17, 2008.

State security placed tabs on Chinoy's and other accounts. "We received information that large amounts were being deposited into the defendant's father's account," a state security official said. "Monies were also being transferred from that account to pay Emaar for a villa the defendant purchased."

The court reconvenes on October 13.

amustafa@thenational.ae