x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Police recall claimants in 'non-existent wallet' case

The Abu Dhabi Police ask all victims in the case of the "non-existant wallet" to return to the police stations where they initially registered their claims.

ABU DHABI // The Abu Dhabi Police are asking all those who have registered a claim against AQ Qublan, the chief suspect in the case of the "non-existant wallet" to return to the police stations where they initially registered their claims after the Eid al Fitr holiday. Victims of the fraud will be asked to sign documents agreeing to be reimbursed a portion of the funds stolen from them in the investments scam.

The decision to begin reimbursing the victims came after the investigatory committee comprised of members of the Abu Dhabi Police, the Central Bank, and the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department seized all assets belonging to AQ Qublan and his two brothers. To date Dh260 million (US$70.8 million) have been recovered. The case which was supposed to enter its trial phase earlier this month was postponed following the presiding judge's order that the investigating committee realise the true amount taken from the 8,000 victims. Current estimates remain at Dh400 million (US$108.9 million).

After the Eid al Fitr holidays, special booths will be set up at all police stations. Those who agree to be compensated will be required to sign forms accepting the payout. A second committee comprising of an auditor, members of the Abu Dhabi Prosecutor's Office and the Abu Dhabi Police will oversee the reimbursements after all of Qublan's assets and assets of his two brothers, also chief suspects, are sold off at a public auction.

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department is expected to hold an auction selling vehicles seized by the Abu Dhabi Police in connection with the case within the next few days. Qublan and the other defendants had scammed thousands by promising monthly profits of between 30 and 40 per cent on the initial investment. As a guarantee to investors, he and his group allegedly had issued thousands of fraudulent post-dated cheques. In order to encourage further investment, some investors received the promised dividends for the first month. Encouraged by this, many sold property and cars, and took out bank loans to further invest in Qublan's investment company.

ealghalib@thenational.ae