x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Special court set up to hear Al Boom fraud trial

A specialised misdemeanours court will be set up to hear the Dh960 million fraud trial of the property developer Abed al Boom.

DUBAI // A specialised misdemeanours court will be set up to hear the Dh960 million (US$260m) fraud trial of the property developer Abed al Boom when it starts next Sunday. Mr al Boom, the chief executive of Al Boom Holdings, was arrested last July over allegations that he had defrauded up to 3,700 investors. The case will be hugely complex; the charge sheet alone runs to around 1,500 pages, with a further 32,000 pages of evidence to be reviewed during the trial.

Chief Justice Ahmed Ibrahim Saif of the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance confirmed the decision to set up a special court and added that Judge Al Saeed Mohammed Barghouth had been appointed to preside over the trial. Mr al Boom was referred to court last week by the Dubai Public Prosecution after being charged with issuing fraudulent cheques and "breaching the trust of his business partners".

"We have issued this case to be tried in a special court due to the size of the case and huge number of documents," said the chief justice. Describing the mass of paperwork the inquiry has generated, Salem al Sha'ali, Mr al Boom's lawyer, said: "Documentation for the case is stored in 65 boxes with each box containing approximately 500 pages each. "More than 32,000 pages of depositions, testimonies and evidence will be reviewed during the case."

A day before Mr al Boom was charged, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, decreed that all of the developer's assets would be liquidated by a specially appointed judicial committee. It will collect all of Mr al Boom's funds and property, and oversee the liquidation and distribution of the proceeds to his creditors. It will also collect on behalf of third parties. The committee's decisions will not be subject to contest or appeal.

Sheikh Mohammed's decree also stopped all civil judicial and legal proceedings under way against Mr al Boom. Further criminal proceedings are still allowed. Mr al Boom is being held at the Dubai Central Jail in Al Aweer. newsdesk@thenational.ae