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Bank manager defrauds customer of Dh26m; jailed

Another bank official also jailed for opening accounts in another bank to which manager transferred money

Gulf News

Dubai: A bank branch manager has been jailed for five years and fined Dh26 million for embezzling an equivalent amount from a businessman using deceptive methods and forged documents over four years.

The Emirati branch manager and his countryman administrative officer were reported to have defrauded the 55-year-old Emirati businessman of Dh26 million over a period of four years.

On Thursday, the Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the manager of creating two phoney bank accounts and transferring money from the businessman’s account to those accounts.

Besides fining the convicted manager Dh26 million, presiding judge Urfan Omar also ordered the defendant to repay an equivalent amount.

Presiding judge Omar sentenced the administrative officer to three years in jail on four counts and acquitted him of three other charges.

According to the judgement, the court decided to seize an amount of Dh5.7 million of the transferred funds.

The court also referred the victim’s civil lawsuit to the Dubai Civil Court.

The convicted manager of a local bank’s branch in Nad Al Hamar used his authority to change the private details [mobile number and postal address] of the victim and applied for net banking services to transfer the latter’s money to the phoney accounts.

The convicted administrative officer opened the bank accounts in his name so that the manager could transfer the businessman’s money to those accounts in different money transfer operations such as cheques, bank-to-bank and online transfers.

Shortly after the victim realised that his money had disappeared, he alerted the bank’s management before an internal investigation exposed that the businessman had been transferring his money to other accounts.

Upon confronting the victim with the findings, the client denied issuing any cheques or doing any online or bank-to-bank money transfers or cash withdrawals.

Further investigation revealed that the branch manager had been transferring the money after changing the victim’s personal details without his consent.

Police took the Emirati defendants into custody for questioning after the businessman lodged a criminal lawsuit against them for embezzling his money.

Records said the manager abused his authority as a public servant [manager of a local bank], forged different papers and online transactions and embezzled Dh26 million between November 2011 and July 2014.

The officer aided and abetted the manager by opening two accounts in another bank and receiving the embezzled money in bank-to-bank transfers and cheque withdrawals.

The defendants were also accused of committing a money laundering crime worth Dh5.7 million.

The two defendants had pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.

Thursday’s judgement remains subject to appeal.

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