x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

New charges in Dubai bank fraud case

New charges have been brought against the seven men involved in the Dh1.8 billion Dubai Islamic Bank embezzlement case.

DUBAI // New charges have been brought against the seven men involved in the Dh1.8 billion Dubai Islamic Bank embezzlement case.

In the largest ongoing fraud trial in Dubai, public prosecutors have charged three Britons, two Pakistanis, a Turk and an American with embezzling public funds, deliberately helping others to embezzle public funds, inflicting intentional loss to the government and its interests, illegal profiteering and forgery.

The case was yesterday presented to Dubai Criminal Court for the second time, after the court ordered public prosecutors to reinvestigate the case last August, saying their original case was incomplete.

In his ruling in August, Judge Hamad Abdel Latif ordered the re-investigation on the grounds that prosecutors should investigate their accusations of 'causing intentional harm to the bank' and 'the facilitation of embezzlement'. 

Judge Latif said that, while the case was built on such accusations, prosecutors had failed to include the charges on their arraignment sheet. 

The seven defendants had earlier been charged with embezzling funds, aiding and abetting a crime, bribery and forgery. The new charges, although similar to the previous ones, have been issued as crimes against public wealth and crimes that damage the interest of a government institution. 

In the earlier trial, defence lawyers had also asked the court to refer four high-ranking Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) executives to prosecution and charge them. 

Defence lawyers called for the former DIB chairman MK, the director of commercial financing MK, the head of operations MN, and the head of the risk assessment department FH, to be criminally charged with fraud and perjury. The lawyers said if the fraud did take place, it would have not been possible without their consent.

Prosecutors, however, did not charge the four during the course of their new investigations.

The assistant chief prosecutor Khalid al Zarouni conducted the re-investigation in to the case.

In court yesterday, Judge Fahmy Mounir Fahmy, of the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance's third circuit, asked the defendants not to make any bail requests for the time being.

"I would like to alert the defendants that the court is not prepared to listen to any bail requests," he said. 

The suspects - the Britons CM, 48, RL, 54, and 58-year-old AF - were present, along with ex-DIB Pakistani executives OM, 39, and his 50-year-old deputy RU.

Two defendants remain at large: 36-year-old Turk EN, and American, ZU.

Prosecutors said EN and CM, who worked for CCH - the company that allegedly primarily defrauded DIB - reportedly collaborated with RL, who established a number of companies and submitted bogus documents to DIB to finance projects. 

The ex-DIB executives, OM and RU, allegedly assisted the businessmen by granting them credit facilities to finance their projects.

The three Britons were also accused of forging documents submitted to DIB. OM and RU were charged with abusing their duties in the bank and allegedly accepting over Dh5 million in bribes.

The American businessman ZU is accused of defrauding DIB of Dh7.34 million through fake documents presented as real business deals. The British businessman AF is accused of aiding and abetting EN, CM and RL.

All five defendants denied the charges at court yesterday.

Defence lawyers for the suspects asked the court for three witnesses for cross examination. The court issued orders for a number of witnesses to be made available in the next hearing. The legal team representing DIB asked the court for a copy of the new charges so that they could prepare the civil compensation suit against the defendants, which the court granted.

The court will reconvene on November 28.