x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Diamond trader in Abu Dhabi court on fake money charges

A South American diamond trader has appeared before the State Security Court in Abu Dhabi accused of being in possession of a counterfeit US$100 banknote.

DUBAI // A South American diamond trader appeared before the State Security Court in Abu Dhabi yesterday accused of being in possession of a counterfeit US$100 banknote.

Abdul Kalam Sattaur, from Guyana, arrested in Dubai in August last year during a police raid on another businessman's hotel room in which officers recovered Dh40,000 in fake notes, denies the charge.

The trader says he had arrived in Dubai from Bangkok and had intended to stay for only one night before continuing on to Brazil, where he lives with his wife and children.

He told a diplomatic representative in Kuwait - Guyana has no diplomats in the UAE - that he visited the other businessman's hotel room to arrange a diamond transaction and was caught in the raid.

His lawyer, Dr Iman Al Jabri, who was appointed by the court at a hearing two weeks ago, said: "The case file is large - approximately 400 pages long - and he is charged with the possession of a counterfeit bill alongside a second person who is accused of forging the money."

Dr Al Jabri said cases involving allegedly forged currency were always handled by the State Security Court in Abu Dhabi.

"These cases take a long time to investigate. However, the case is due for judgment on October 8," she said. "I presented our defence and I have faith the court finding will be the right decision."

Odeen Ishmael, the Guyanese non-resident ambassador to the UAE who is based in Kuwait, said several requests had been made to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for information on the trader since his arrest.

"We contacted the ministry through various diplomatic channels and received no information," he said. "Mr Sattaur's wife is in contact with our embassy in Brazil and with us in Kuwait."

Mr Ishmael said Guyana's Middle East envoy, George Hallaq, who is based in Greece, would travel to Dubai next week for a second time to meet ministry officials about the case.

amustafa@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting by Haneen Dajani