x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Verdict soon on Dh960m al Boom case

The special tribunal set up for the Dh960 million al Boom embezzlement case heard closing arguments yesterday, and will issue a verdict next month.

DUBAI // The special tribunal set up for the Dh960 million al Boom embezzlement case heard closing arguments yesterday, and will issue a verdict next month.

Ali al Falasi, one of Abed al Boom's lawyers, argued that prosecutors have not followed correct legal procedures. For instance, he said, an official summons has not been produced for Mr al Boom, and a violation of any procedure renders the prosecutors' case inadmissible.

He also argued that the case fell outside the tribunal's jurisdiction because prosecutors referred the case despite a decree issued by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, prohibiting criminal procedures against Mr al Boom.

The Emirati property magnate and businessman is charged with breach of trust and embezzling from 3,700 investors, spending their funds on parties, boats and luxury cars, and leaving only one per cent of the amount embezzled, prosecutors said.

According to Sheikh Mohammed's executive decree, a committee was set up to liquidate Mr al Boom's assets. The specialised committee oversees liquidation and collects on behalf of third parties; meanwhile, all civil judicial and criminal proceedings against Mr al Boom were ordered to stop.

Mr al Falasi told the court that the public prosecution's arraignment of Mr al Boom was invalid because his charges were filed after the decree was issued on August 4, 2009.

But throughout the 16-month trial, Deira Chief Prosecutor Yousif Foulaz has told the court that charges were issued two months before the executive decree.

"We have issued our charge sheet from June 4, your honour," he told the court.

In their case against Mr al Boom, prosecutors said he purchased 53 luxury vehicles, including Bentleys, for himself and his managers. They also claimed he bought a luxury yacht for himself and two other luxury boats, one specifically used for parties and receptions.

Millions more, they added, were used on "special number" plates and donations to football clubs.

"Your honour, how can a man who in 2002 only owned one car that was worth less than Dh30,000 own 53 cars a few years later and become a socialite?" prosecutor Al Younis al Baloushi said during a hearing in June.

Mr al Boom, according to Mr al Baloushi, tricked investors by paying them small amounts of the investments and claiming it was their profits.

The court will reconvene on February 27.

 

amustafa@thenational.ae