Managers trick businessman into Dh100m bogus project

Duo convicted of tricking Swiss millionaire into phoney investments using forgery and deceptive methods

Dubai: Two managers, who tricked a businessman into investing with them and then embezzled his Dh100 million, were each sentenced to a year in jail.

The French and Belgian managers hoodwinked the Swiss businessman, who is a renowned millionaire, and lured him into partnering with them in bogus business investments and financial management before they embezzled his millions in Dubai.

The Dubai Misdemeanours Court sentenced the Belgian defendant and his French accomplice to one year in jail after they were convicted of swindling and deceiving the Swiss businessman and misappropriating his money using deceptive methods and forgery.

According to the charges, prosecutors said the defendants conspired with a third suspect, who is still at large, in forging a money transfer receipt, an agreement to manage the victim’s administrative affairs and a promissory note on his behalf dated January 2017.

The defendants embezzled the Swiss man’s money. The Belgian and French defendants had pleaded not guilty and refuted the charges when they appeared before the Misdemeanours Court.

Court records said the defendants got acquainted with the Swiss investor shortly after they discovered that he is wealthy and talked him into doing business with them in Dubai.

The culprits hoodwinked the victim with a bogus business project and told him that they wanted to start an investment and financial management company.

The Frenchman told the businessman that the Belgian defendant manages a well-reputed company in the same field in Ras Al Khaimah [RAK] and urged him to invest his millions for a similar project.

The duo talked the victim into partnering with them in that phoney project after claiming that the profit would be quick due to the special services that they could obtain from RAK free zone.

According to court records, the businessman signed a written commission to the French defendant allowing him to check and access his private bank accounts [in the UAE] and withdraw money from them upon the victim’s signature and that of the French defendant’s as well. The Swiss also gave the defendant a Dh70 million guarantee cheque.

Thereafter, the defendants duped the Swiss victim and submitted the cheque that bounced. Then they complained against him and obtained a judgement against the businessman, who was sentenced to three years in jail by the Misdemeanours Court.

The duo conspired with the runaway suspect and used the imprisonment of the Swiss to forge his signature on the money transfer receipt, the agreement and the promissory note and embezzled his money.

In the meantime, the Swiss businessman appealed his three-year imprisonment before the Appeal Court that overturned his jail term and replaced it by a Dh30,000 fine.

Court records further said the French and the Belgian defendants provided their lawyer with forged documents to justify their claims and that the lawyer was unaware that the papers had been forged.

Moreover, the Swiss man’s lawyer lodged a civil lawsuit against the French and the Belgian defendants accusing them of cheating and tricking his client, forging his signature and embezzling his money using deceptive methods.

The victim’s lawyer sought Dh21,000 in temporary compensation against his client’s damages.

According to the primary ruling, the Belgian and French defendant will be deported after serving their imprisonment and the civil lawsuit was referred to the Dubai Civil Court.

The defendants have already appealed their punishment and a hearing will be held before the Appeal Court in June.


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