x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Man denies theft from royal court

A former employee has denied embezzling more than Dh3 million from one of the Royal Family's courts.

ABU DHABI // A former employee has denied embezzling more than Dh3 million from one of the Royal Family's courts. He says the money was his salary for a year and a half, a Dh600,000 car and travel allowances for two trips in the region. HA, an Emirati, appeared yesterday before the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance charged with abuse of office. Prosecutors said he took more than Dh3m from the court of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed, the President's Representative.

He was head of the Media and Cultural Centre for the President's Representative for nearly a year and a half. HA denied the charges yesterday. He explained that the amount in dispute was in fact his salary for his work at the court, a car he received as a job benefit and allowances for work-related trips to Egypt and Lebanon. He said he tried to return the car to the Royal court but was refused. HA asked the criminal court to allow him to return the car and said embezzlement was not an accurate description of the charge.

"But you confessed to prosecutors you took the money and you would return it," said Chief Justice Saeed Abdul Baseer of the Criminal Court. HA said the prosecutors' investigation was largely based on the findings of a committee assembled by the new head of the court's Culture and Media Centre. The case was adjourned until October 5 to summon witnesses. hhassan@thenational.ae