x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Five found guilty of embezzling Dh423m from finance company

Two former chairmen and three board members of an Islamic finance company are sentenced to between one and three years in jail.

ABU DHABI // Two former chairmen and three board members of an Islamic finance company were sentenced to between one and three years in jail yesterday for embezzling Dh423 million (US$120m). AHQ, a former chairman, was sentenced to three years by the Court of First Instance after he was found to have transferred money from the company's accounts to another one in which he was the majority shareholder.
The second chairman, AQ, was sentenced to two years while the three board members, AM, ES and GQ, each received a one-year sentence. The board members were found guilty of being complicit in the dealings of AQ, having knowingly given him a power of attorney that allowed him to transfer the money, according to a statement from the court.
The company, identified in court papers as either the Islamic Finance Company or the Islamic Investment Company, was registered in Abu Dhabi and recognised as a Sharia-compliant establishment. Promising a "risk free" investment, it attracted a substantial number of backers, many of whom were from Saudi Arabia. When the appeal for investors resulted in a Dh418 million surplus, AQ devised the scheme with the other defendants to transfer the surplus out of the company's accounts.
It is not known how much money the others were promised, nor whether the money has been recovered. However, the court statement said the Ministry of Economy had asked the Dubai Public Prosecution to investigate the company to which the money was transferred.
myoussef@thenational.ae