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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 17 July 2018

Man who helped embezzle Dh23.5m of his wife's money to buy Portsmouth FC is jailed

The woman's husband and accountant were sentenced to five years in jail each

An account manager and the husband of a client will spend five years in jail after they stole £5 million (Dh23.6m) from the Emirati housewife’s account so her husband could buy Portsmouth Football Club.

Dubai Criminal Court convicted the Emirati manager, 42, of theft, forgery of official documents and use of forged official documents. The victim’s husband, an Emirati also aged 42, was found guilty of forgery and use of forged documents as well as aiding and abetting. Both were sentenced to five years in prison.

Prosecutors said the 39-year-old housewife opened an account at a local bank in 2009 and began a fixed deposit. When she did not receive any profit she contacted the accounts manager.

“He sent me an email in August 2010 confirming that the procedures for the fixed deposit had been completed and recommended that I continue my investment for another year,” said the woman, adding that she received several emails from the manager asking her to sign some documents, which she refused to do.

In September 2011, she emailed the manager asking him to transfer the amount of her fixed deposit to a different bank because she had not received any profit.

“But he kept stalling so I visited the bank and met the bank manager and another man, they told me that my account had zero money in it,” said the woman, who reported the incident to the bank’s legal affairs department.

“When the legal affairs didn’t do anything, I reported it to Al Rashidiyah police station,” she said.

The manager told police that the woman’s husband was handling her fixed deposit after she gave him official authorisation, and that he - the husband - transferred the money to a law firm in the UK. Court records showed that the money was later used by the law firm representing the husband, to purchase the English Premier League football club Portsmouth.

The woman denied giving her husband authorisation to manage the account, saying “I didn’t give my husband any authorisation to withdraw or transfer the money, I just gave him an authorisation to handle general inquires by phone and fax”.

The court sentenced both men to five years in prison and ordered that the civil case be referred to the civil court.