Two senior managers at a multinational bank, who embezzled Dh25 million deposited by an investor in three corporate accounts, won their appeals and had their seven-year imprisonments reduced to five years.
In May 2015, the Dubai Court of First Instance jailed the Lebanese woman manager and the American manager to seven years each for using forged documents to embezzle the Iranian investor’s money between October 2012 and March 2013.
The Pakistani driver, who remains at large, was also handed a seven-year jail term in absentia for abetting the two managers in siphoning off with the investor’s money that had been deposited for investment purposes.
Ten other suspects, seven Indians, two Pakistanis and a Lebanese, were convicted of aiding and abetting.
According to the primary judgement, two of the 10 suspects were sentenced to seven years in jail while the remaining eight were jailed for six months each.
The defendants appealed their primary rulings before the Appeal Court and sought to be acquitted.
The Lebanese woman, who was in charge of running the operations of the victim’s accounts, denied providing the account details and available amounts to the American manager and Pakistani driver to forge documents and use those documents to transfer the victim’s money to a separate account.
The Lebanese and American managers also denied inking what turned out to be a bogus agreement between the victim and another businessman [the holder of the account to which the money was transferred] so they could misappropriate the Dh25 million on different occasions.
According to the appellate judgement, presiding judge Eisa Al Sharif accepted the defendants’ appeal and reduced the seven-year jail terms to five years.
“The court has decided that it would be enough for the defendants to spend five years in jail. The remaining defendants will spend three months each in jail rather six months,” said presiding judge Al Sharif.
He also upheld the deportation order against the two managers and cancelled the deportation orders against the remaining defendants.
The civil lawsuits [lodged by investor and the bank] were also referred to the Dubai Civil Court.
The investor, who have been working in the realty industry since 2011, said the incident happened after he established five companies and registered them in the UAE.
“I opened four corporate bank accounts for my companies in Dubai and deposited around Dh36.5 million in them. The bank commissioned the Lebanese woman to manage my accounts. In March 2013, my companies’ administrative manager went to the bank and requested bank statements to submit them to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The woman defendant provided her with a brief statement while the DIFC’s management had asked for a detailed statement. When I accompanied my administrative manager to the bank for detailed statements, we discovered Dh25 million deficit in the accounts,” he said.
Records said the Iranian investor complained to the police about it and interrogation revealed the involvement of the 13 defendants in the case.
The appellate ruling remains subject to appeal before the Cassation Court.