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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Men jailed for cheating businessman out of Dh2 million

The duo deceived the man into wiring them money, claiming they could help him win contracts with Dubai Government

Two men who cheated a businessman into paying them Dh2 million will spend three years in prison.

The victim, a 69-year-old Italian businessman, was introduced to the duo — an Emirati, 27, and 33-year-old Italian — in 2016. He was told they had good relationships with Dubai Government workers and could help him win contracts.

“I was put in direct contact with the Italian defendant, who told me he could help me win a bid to provide desalination equipment for Dubai free zone and Dubai airports,” said the victim.

During their first meeting, the Emirati accused pretended to be a senior government official.

“We agreed that the Emirati would help me win a Dh455m contract and in return he asked for 5 per cent commission,” said the businessman.

After receiving what appeared to be official documents and emails about the bid and the project, the businessman wired Dh1.9m to the two men.

“They sent me a purchase order for the project that was attributed to Dubai Executive Council and another order from Dubai Customs, along with bank statements,” he said.

The incident was reported to police on January 9 but court records did not disclose who filed the complaint.

Investigations revealed that the pair forged several documents, including purchase orders and bank statements, which they used to deceive the businessman.

During questioning, the Italian accused told police he was but a mediator between the businessman and Emirati defendant and denied forging any documents.

Dubai Executive Council and Dubai Customs confirmed they had not ordered desalination equipment from the businessman and that the orders were forged.

Both defendants were charged with forgery, the use of forged documents and fraudulently obtaining Dh1.9m from the businessman.

Neither showed up at Dubai Criminal Court to enter a plea and, on Tuesday, both were convicted of their crimes.

The Italian defendant will be deported after completion of his prison sentence.