x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Robbery alleged after failed gold deal

A Cameroonian man stole Dh300,000 from a Kuwaiti businessman and his Saudi friend when a gold deal turned sour, a court heard yesterday.

DUBAI // A Cameroonian man stole Dh300,000 (US$82,000) from a Kuwaiti businessman and his Saudi friend when a gold deal turned sour, a court heard yesterday. According to the charge sheet, the defendant, identified as EM, had been one of a group trying to sell 10kg of gold to the victims in a Deira hotel on February 17, but after they cooled on the idea he and two accomplices assaulted them, took some of their money and fled.

Appearing at Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance, EM, aged 38, denied the charges. The Kuwaiti businessman, MT, 33, told prosecutors that on one of his visits to Dubai he had been in the Deira City Centre mall, where he met an African called Adam, who claimed he was a Congolese diplomat. "The man was speaking fluent Arabic and he invited me for a coffee. He told me about his gold business and how he made business with Kuwait and Dubai," MT said.

After that, Adam had telephoned him repeatedly, and they had settled on a deal to buy 10kg of gold for Dh500,000. On February 16, MT and his English-speaking Saudi friend SB, met the gold dealers at the Avari Hotel in Deira, where it turned out that the bullion was, apparently, still in Congo. "We agreed for the gold to be deposited at a bank there and then it will be sent to Dubai," SB told the court. However, the victims said the men repeatedly demanded to see the money, arousing their suspicions.

"We showed them the money and then asked them to leave, as we felt something was wrong," MT said. The next day the Africans called back to say they still wanted to go ahead with the deal and then came up to the room. "They assaulted my friend and choked him," said the Kuwaiti. "I jumped on the defendant and tackled him." However, EM and his accomplices had escaped, taking with them about Dh300,000.

The presiding judge, Hamad Abdel Latif, adjourned the trial until September 28 to hear evidence from witnesses. amustafa@thenational.ae