Dubai: A well-known bakery’s manager has been accused of forging stamps of government departments and falsifying bank papers and receipts to embezzle Dh18.2 million, heard a court on Sunday.

The renowned bakery’s German owner and general manager was said to have suspected financial irregularities before he ordered his finance department to carry out an internal audit in 2017.

Once the bakery’s financial auditor carried out the internal audit, the German owner was notified about several discrepancies between the ledgers and the bank accounts, said records.

Upon the general manager’s directives, the bakery’s financial auditor accompanied the Syrian manager, 50, to the administrative offices to check the financial records, which did not show any discrepancy.

The manager was also believed to have shown all the financial records, receipts and transactions to the auditor to claim that there were no discrepancies in the ledgers.

In November 2017, a massive fire broke out in the bakery’s administrative offices and particularly in the Syrian manager’s office before crime scene investigators discovered that it was a deliberate fire.

Police interrogations in the arson case revealed that the manager was the one who had started the fire and he was arrested.

Prosecutors accused the Syrian manager of arson and referred him to the Dubai Court of First Instance that jailed him for one year. The primary judgement [in the arson case] was later stiffened by the Appeal Court to three years in jail.

In March, the Cassation Court upheld the three-year imprisonment against the Syrian defendant.

Following the arson, the bakery’s financial auditor discovered a number of forged receipts, transactions and government papers before the German owner hired a private auditing firm to carry out an internal audit.

The internal audit exposed a number of financial irregularities up to the tune of Dh18.2 million and the police were reported about the matter.

Primary police interrogations exposed that the Syrian had committed several forgeries and used the forged papers to embezzle the bakery’s money.

Prosecutors accused the suspect of forging government stamps, e-transactions and bank papers and using those falsified papers to embezzle the money.

According to the charges, prosecutors accused three of the bakery’s staff, a 33-year-old Syrian and two Indians, 56 and 35, of aiding and abetting the former manager in the financial irregularities and embezzlement.

The four suspects pleaded not guilty and refuted the charges when they showed up before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Sunday.

“Impossible,” the Syrian suspect told presiding judge Mohammad Jamal.

The other three suspects also dismissed their charges.

Presiding judge Jamal adjourned the hearing until the bakery’s lawyer produces a civil lawsuit against the suspects on December 11.