x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

New trial in Dh827m money-laundering case

Four businessmen who were acquitted of laundering £150 million in a fraud involving the UK's Revenue & Customs department and companies in the Dutch Antilles are facing a new trial.

DUBAI // Four businessmen who were acquitted of laundering £150 million (Dh827m) in a fraud involving the UK's Revenue & Customs department and companies in the Dutch Antilles are facing a new trial. The Dubai Misdemeanours Court on Thursday found the four defendants - OY, 35, a British executive; MJ, 46, an Indian financial controller; MA, 59, a Pakistani general manager; and AA, 40, an Emirati employee, and seven companies they either controlled or worked for - not guilty of the charge. It found them guilty, however, of falsifying documents and presenting the forged documents to the Central Bank, and sentenced them to two months in prison each.

Prosecutors, who spent several years preparing for what they described as Dubai's largest-ever money laundering trial, have appealed the case. The Dubai Court of Appeals will open the new trial on April 20. The defendants' attorney, Eisa bin Haidar, said during their first trial that there was little evidence against them or their companies. He noted that no charges had been laid against his clients in either the UK or the Dutch Antilles, five islands in the Caribbean controlled by the Netherlands.

According to court documents, the case was opened in Dubai in 2006 after the UK's Revenue & Customs department reported an alleged fraud the year before. The firms the defendants allegedly used to launder the money included trading companies, a logistics company, a digital company, a property company and a money exchange company. amustafa@thenational.ae