x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

'Royal imposter' charged over alleged US$4m swindle

A visitor from Cameroon was charged with forgery and embezzlement of Dh2.1 million from a Bahraini businessman after he posed as an African royal.

DUBAI // A man posed as African royalty and presented Dh14.6million in photocopied US$100 bills to swindle a potential investor, a court has heard.

MB, 33, a visitor from Cameroon, was charged yesterday at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance with forgery, the use of forged money and the embezzlement of US$58,000 (Dh2.1 million) from a Bahraini businessman.

Records show that Bahraini businessman, Abdel Rasool Ali, 50, was contacted by a friend who said an African royal, married to the daughter of the Cameroonian ambassador to Congo, was in Dubai looking for investment partners.

Mr Ali told prosecutors they made an appointment for June and he covered MB's expenses for the meeting.

MB showed up with a large suitcase containing $4m and claimed it was money belonging to the African royals. "We checked the money and it was real," said Mr Ali.

After the initial meeting, Mr Ali returned to Bahrain. MB asked him to come back to Dubai and book two hotel rooms for the two of them. MB then asked for a $58,000 loan and was given a bag with $100 notes as a guarantee. 

"The man claimed he could not use the money because it belonged to the royals but needed cash immediately. He offered me the money as a guarantee," he said. After the exchange, MB disappeared and the businessman discovered the bag was full of forged currency. 

Mr Ali filed a complaint, and police asked him to contact MB again. MB told Mr Ali he needed a further $250,000 loan and, in return, he offered $4m of the royal family's funds as surety. When he arrived he was arrested by police.

The court will issue its verdict on November 28.