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Businessman gets 3-year jail term for issuing Dh35m bad cheque

Defendant, who owns Dh300m worth of Dubai properties, tells court that the case was lodged out of malice

Gulf News

Dubai: A businessman was jailed for three years on Tuesday for issuing a Dh35-million dud cheque for credit facilities in a bank for a trading company.

The Asian businessman was doing business with the general trading company and had issued the cheque to the local bank against credit facilities that were to be provided to the company.

The businessman pleaded not guilty when he appeared before the Dubai Misdemeanours Court on Tuesday and admitted that he had signed the cheque as a commercial guarantee without having a criminal intention.

“I signed the cheque but I did not mention a date or a beneficiary’s name on it. It was not supposed to be deposited and encashed as part of the business agreement. I had paid the required dues to the company that did not owe me anything. The cheque was issued against credit facilities to be provided through the bank … this case was brought out of malice against me by the finance manager,” the Asian defendant contended before the presiding judge.

In his verbal argument, the businessman’s lawyer contended before the presiding judge: “This case should not be deemed a crime. As per Article 596 of the Commercial Transactions Law, a cheque should involve three parties, unlike this cheque whereby the beneficiary and the party that deposited the cheque are one. As per Article 597 of the same law, the cheque subject of this matter is deemed a commercial guarantee … hence this shouldn’t be treated as a criminal case.”

The lawyer further contended that his client had paid the company’s liabilities and yet the cheque was used.

“The cheque should not have been deposited or encashed. We are providing the court with a copy of the defendant’s bank statement to confirm that there were zero liability to the trading company at the time when the cheque was deposited. Henceforth, my client shouldn’t be held accountable for the deposited cheque,” argued the lawyer who requested the court to acquit his client.

Towards the end of his defence argument, the lawyer said his client owns properties worth nearly Dh300 million in Dubai.

“We ask the court to grant bail to the defendant. In case the court is not convinced about our client’s innocence, the defence requests that the case be referred to a financial expert to review the accounts, ledgers, documents and transactions and issue a financial report,” concluded the lawyer.

At the end of the hearing, the presiding judge convicted the defendant of issuing a bounced cheque worth Dh35 million and jailed him for three years.

Tuesday’s ruling remains subject to appeal within 15 days.

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