Dubai: A bank’s debt collector was sentenced to six months in jail for seizing for himself a mortgaged Jaguar that was deserted by its buyer, who fled after defaulting on his car loan.

An Indian man had taken a bank loan to purchase a Jaguar 2013 model and used the car for some time before financial burdens forced him to dump the vehicle and leave the country in June 2017.

Once it was realised that the customer had discontinued his loan payments, the bank commissioned the debt collection department to recover the mortgaged car.

The Syrian debt collector tried to communicate with the Indian buyer, who turned out to have left the country.

The defendant discovered that the Indian client had left the car keys with his friend, who communicated with the Syrian and arranged to hand him the keys.

As part of the bank’s procedures, the Jaguar was supposed to be auctioned off, but it was discovered that the car had been illegally repossessed by the Syrian defendant. The bank’s management took legal action against the debt collector.

The Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the Syrian defendant of misusing his authority as a bank collector and seizing the car worth Dh193,000 for himself for some time.

The defendant was sentenced in absentia to six months in jail and fined Dh193,000. He also faces a deportation order.

An Egyptian debt collector said the incident happened after the Indian client failed to honour the car loan payments.

“We contacted him by email and he referred us to arrange with his friend to get back the car. We discovered that the accused had recovered the Jaguar but failed to deliver it to the bank to be auctioned. The Indian client’s friend sent us screenshots of WhatsApp images and messages confirming that the suspect had sent a tow truck to recover the vehicle,” he testified.

“When contacted, the defendant’s brother told us that the accused went on leave to Syria … we called the defendant in Syria and he told us that the car was parked behind his house in Ajman. The brother cooperated with the bank and gave the car keys to collect it,” he said.

The defendant is entitled to a retrial once he turns himself in or is apprehended.