x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Zack Shahin fails to appear in court for UAE embezzlement hearing

At today's second hearing in Dubai, prosecutors submit a new charge sheet that includes extra charges against six of the former Deyaar chief's alleged conspirators.

DUBAI // Zack Shahin, the former chief executive of the developer Deyaar, failed to appear in court today for the second hearing since he was brought back to the UAE on embezzlement charges.

The American businessman, 52, is accused of deceiving Deyaar into paying an inflated price for a plot of land in Houston, Texas, in November 2007, and embezzling Dh56.3 million from the deal.

At today’s hearing, prosecutors submitted a new charge sheet that included extra charges against six of Mr Shahin’s alleged conspirators.

Four are accused of aiding and abetting Mr Shahin by helping him to embezzle money from Deyaar, of forging documents related to the land in Texas, and of using that forged document to trick Deyaar into approving the purchase.

They are R?O, Deyaar’s former head of legal affairs; A?B, its former deputy head of engineering; W?S, from Lebanon, and J?K, from India.

R?O and W?S are also charged, along with M?A and J?B – two Americans from Elegant Development Group, which owned the land – with aiding and abetting Mr Shahin by helping him embezzle money from Deyaar, and with forging a contract and using the forged contract.

R?O and A?B have been bailed, while the other four remain at large.

Attached to the new charge sheet was a report by the Dubai Financial Audit Department that details transfers connected to the deal.

Also attached were documents from the US detailing the activity of the two escrow bank accounts held by American National Title Company at Amegy Bank of Texas, to which the land plot’s price was transferred in December 2007.

Mr Shahin was arrested and imprisoned in 2008 over alleged financial irregularities while he was head of Deyaar.

He went on hunger strike on May 14 this year, and was released in July on Dh5m bail. He fled the country but was arrested in Yemen and brought back to the UAE, where he remains in detention.

Since then he has appeared in court once, in a separate case, on September 6.

The next hearing is scheduled for October 9.

salamir@thenational.ae