x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Iraqi official had estate agent beaten, court told

A court hears allegations that an Iraqi consular official had an estate agent kidnapped and beaten up over a property deal that went sour.

DUBAI // An Iraqi consular official had an estate agent kidnapped and beaten up over a property deal that went sour, a court heard yesterday. The agent, AF, is charged with defrauding the female official, BH, of Dh2 million (US$540,000). AF, who is also Iraqi, is alleged to have brokered a deal between BH and an unidentified Indian home owner to buy the property. AF's lawyer, Saeed al Ghailani, told the Dubai Misdemeanour Court that the Indian was paid the Dh2m, but then absconded with the money. When she discovered what had happened, BH went to the estate agent's office and demanded her money back.

When AF refused, BH sent out a group of men, who abducted him and detained him at the consulate overnight, the court heard. Mr al Ghailani said his client had been beaten up and told to contact his family to help him in the payment. He said AF's brother, SF, had been called to the consulate and made to sign a cheque for Dh2m. After signing the cheque - and with his brother still captive - SF went to the Bur Dubai police station to report the kidnapping.

The police called the Iraqi ambassador in Abu Dhabi, and AF was eventually released the next morning, but only after the ambassador called BH to order her to let him go. AF filed a complaint to police, who examined his bruises and ordered a medical report to be filed at Rashid Hospital. However, prosecutors dismissed the charges and dropped the case. AF is still in police custody and his lawyer requested the court to release him on bail while arguing that the defendant had to sign the cheques under duress.

The court adjourned the hearing until September 16. No one at the Iraqi consulate was available for comment. newsdesk@thenational.ae