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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Six men to see out prison sentences for robbing Dubai exchange office staff of Dh3 million

Gang lured men to hotel with promise of large cash deal

The convicted men said they wanted to exchange $1 million for dirhams, only to make off with the dirhams when they were handed over. John Ryan Carter / The National
The convicted men said they wanted to exchange $1 million for dirhams, only to make off with the dirhams when they were handed over. John Ryan Carter / The National

Six men will have to see out their sentences for stealing Dh3.6 million from exchange house employees at knife-point.

The defendants – four from Cameroon and two from Mali, aged between 29 and 38 – appealed against three years in jail each handed to them by the Dubai Criminal Court in May.

The Dubai Court of Appeal rejected their request and upheld the verdict.

The men contacted an employee at the exchange house in the Muraqqabat area of the old city on February 15 and ordered the exchange of US$1 million (Dh3.673m) into dirhams.

The Indian employee, 30, said that the exchange was a good deal for the business.

“At the time, we didn’t have the amount ready at the exchange house," he said, adding that he made calls to arrange for the equivalent amount in dirhams.

They met with the defendants in a hotel room where one of them took out a money pack from a bag he had.

“When he reached with his hand inside the bag again, I was expecting another money pack but, to my surprise, he took out a knife," the Indian said.

The defendants threatened him and his friend with the knife, then used duct tape to gag them and tie them up, but making off with the money, as the victims’ mobile phones.

The men managed to untie themselves and called police from the hotel room.

Police identified one defendant who dropped off the six men at the hotel. He was arrested and found to have Dh56,000 in his possession.

He helped police arrest another defendant, who was caught with Dh21,000. Two other defendants were arrested in Al Ain on February 21 in possession of nearly Dh100,000, while the rest were arrested later the same day.

All admitted the armed robbery and one of them said that he was only a driver and was paid Dh100,000 in return for driving the other men to their destination, while another said that he acted as a look-out and was paid Dh100,000 for that.

In court two admitted to an armed robbery charge, while another two denied a charge of possessing stolen money. The two others were not present.

All of the convicted men will be deported after serving their sentences.