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Saudi gang tricks TV presenter with a Dh2.9 million gift

Price of present with suspicious message leads to their capture

  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Three men have been arrested by Saudi police after appearing in a video where they supposedly tricked a Kuwaiti Television presenter into believing that a gift she received was from state officials.

It all began when Kuwaiti presenter Halima Bouland, who is now in Riyadh, shared a video on her Snapchat account of a very expensive gift from the perfume brand Abdul Samad Al Qurashi worth 3 million Saudi riyals (Dh2.9 million).

In the video, two men are seen carrying a big box with the Al Qurashi logo on it, and when opened, a gold plate is revealed. On it is written: “To Halima Abdel Jaleel Bouland ….. “The most beautiful women in the universe should be a slave under your feet.”

Another box then reveals several perfume bottles with her name on them.

The price of the present and the words that came with it had stirred a Twitter storm from Saudis.

They first started attacking Al Qurashi, with some calling for a boycott on the brand and blocking of its social accounts.

Al Qurashi released a statement saying that while the company customises gift boxes for weddings and special occasions, it was not responsible for Bouland's.

This did not, however, douse the Saudis' anger; they blame Al Qurashi for the degrading message that went along with the box.

One tweeted: “The gift is not the problem, but the ugly phrase attached [is].”

Another user tweeted a reply to Al Qurashi, saying: “Rationally, you are the one who made the gift as per a client’s request, you should have not agreed to write such a phrase that offends a big portion of our society. A case should be filed against you or Halima.”

Another went further in his tweet: “The gift is your brand, and the phrase you have put there, the problem is the phrase, which have degraded Saudi women especially that our king and his crown prince are giving them a status and dignity. And you have them compared to slaves.”

All this social media attention caught the eyes of officials, who noticed a suspicious detail; the box's lid has the royal court's symbol engraved on it.   

The media spokesman for Riyadh police issued a statement saying: “Police opened an investigation, regarding a video taken from the social media account of a female presenter, who is a Gulf citizen visiting Riyadh. The video showed her receiving a valuable perfume gift attached phrases and a logo indicating that they are from officials.”

Police arrested those behind the scam, according to the Saudi Press Agency. They used fake perfumes to scam the presenter to think they are connected to the royal courts for their own reasons.

According to the police statement, the detained included a Saudi national, identified as Abdullah Saleh Hammad Mutairi; Nazir Nabih Hani, a Lebanese man; and Mutin Ahmad, an Indian.

During the investigation, said officials, several boxes of fake perfumes — similar to Bouland's  — were found.

The defendants allegedly sought to trick other celebrities in a similar fashion, for personal publicity and social media points, reported Saudi Press agency SPA.

 

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