x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Two deny stealing $1m from Saudi national, Dubai court hears

Two men stole about a million dollars from a Saudi national and then conned him into handing over 73,000 riyals (Dh71,500) in exchange for the stolen money.

Dubai // Two men stole about a million dollars from a Saudi national and then conned him into handing over 73,000 riyals (Dh71,500) in exchange for the stolen money, a court was told yesterday.

The man had blinding powder thrown into his eyes, his money stolen and replaced with counterfeit notes and was told to hand over more cash if he wanted the dollars returned, it was alleged.

The victim, M M, claimed he met a man identified as “Sheikh Abu Khalid” last year, who said he could invest money in UAE property on behalf of the victim if he handed over a million dollars.

“He also told me he could give me cars and hardware valued at €25 million [Dh125.78m] to sell in Saudi Arabia and his share would be 20 per cent of the profits so I agreed,” said M M, 36.

M M arrived in the UAE with the dollars on February 19.

He went to a hotel and Sheikh Khalid told him he would send a man to pick up the money. One of the defendants M A, 29, came to the hotel room, sprayed the victim’s eyes with a blinding white powder and stole the US$900,000 (Dh3.3 million). M A then replaced the notes with counterfeit ones.

“He also took $15,000 that I had in an envelope,” the victim said.

M M did not know the dollars had been replaced with fake ones at that stage, the court heard.

When the victim discovered the $15,000 was missing he called the police, but after a call from Sheikh Abu Khalid, he dropped the complaint and returned to Saudi Arabia where he discovered the fake notes.

There he received another call from Sheikh Abu Khalid who told him to hand the counterfeit notes to a man in Riyadh.

“I continued contacting Sheikh Abu Khalid and the defendant M A about my money. They told me that if I transferred them 85,000 riyals, they would give me back my $915,000,” said the victim.

M M transferred money on seven occasions to the two men. Then when they kept stalling he agreed to meet them in Dubai in July, pay them the last amount of the money and then take his money that had been stolen. Police then arrested the two defendants when they arrived to meet the victim.

At Dubai Criminal Court on Monday, M A, 29, from Cameron and AM, 43, from Chad, denied stealing $915,000 from M M.

They also denied fraudulently obtaining 73,617,14 riyals from the victim after convincing him that they would give him back the stolen money in return.

The next hearing was set for December 26.

salamir@thenational.ae