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Dynasty Zarouni chairman cleared of swindling millions from investors

Judge also dismisses counterclaim for compensation by 10 alleged businessmen 'victims'

Gulf News

Dubai A court Sunday cleared Dynasty Zarouni's chairman and owner of swindling Dh25.6 million from 10 businessmen for allegedly persuading them to invest in what was said to be a bogus investment portfolio.

The Dubai Misdemeanors Court Sunday acquitted Dynasty Zarouni's 36-year-old Indian chairman, K.M., and its 37-year-old Emirati owner, M.Z., of swindling the investors.

Presiding Judge Jamal Eddine Abdul Majid also rejected the civil lawsuit the businessmen lodged against K.M., M.Z., and a third British suspect, R.C., seeking compensation.

K.M.'s lawyer Dr Habib Al Mulla had earlier lodged against the businessmen a civil lawsuit in which he sought compensation for the damages he said K.M. incurred by the businessmen's "malevolent" complaint.

Presiding Judge Abdul Majid referred K.M.'s lawsuit to the Dubai Civil Court.

Defending K.M., advocate Dr Al Mulla contended: "The so-claimed ‘bogus investment portfolio' is inexistent and it's a program to render services to investors in the real estate sector.

"The value of services rendered to the businessmen was more than what they paid. The claimants and the defendants exchanged emails and letters which deny the existence of a bogus portfolio."

M.Z.'s lawyer Ali Abdullah Al Shamsi said: "My client was dragged into this case. He is innocent. Prosecutors failed to produce any evidence to confirm that the suspects established a bogus portfolio… the claimants lodged a malicious complaint because they were greed-driven and sought a quick profit.

"That's evident because they waited six months to complain."

Advocate Ayman Merdas, who also represented M.Z., said his client didn't commit any crime.

The defence lawyers told Presiding Judge Abdul Majid that their clients didn't commit a crime, and the case was a civil dispute.

Meanwhile the businessmen's lawyer Salim Al Sha'ali had earlier submitted a civil lawsuit against the defendants seeking civil compensation for his clients.

Al Sha'ali said: "The suspects advertised in a newspaper that they had a Dh2.8 billion-worth of investments."

The Public Prosecution had earlier dismissed the charges of real estate fraud, worth hundreds of millions of dirhams, against the suspects for lack of crime.

Sunday's judgment can be appealed within 15 days.