Dubai: A lawyer has asked Dubai Courts to add three companies, including a large automotive corporation from Europe, to a group of 19 accused in a case of alleged embezzlement and illegally obtaining Dh183.6 million from a law firm.
“I requested the court to include money laundering charges against the defendants, besides adding the three companies to the list of defendants,” Emirati lawyer Salem Al Shaali, owner of Al Shaali Company Advocates and Legal Consultants, told Gulf News.
According to records at the the Dubai Court of Misdemeanour, a 44-year-old who used to work in the law firm was the main suspect in the embezzlement case. The other defendants were charged with criminal abetting and possession of the embezzled funds.
The defendants were accused of forging official documents and using them to set up four legal consultancy firms in different countries while illegally obtaining the firm’s money.
As many as 15 defendants appeared in the first hearing and denied the charges.
“Prosecution didn’t point to the money possessed by the defendants. One of the defendants withdraw Dh25 million from a bank and another defendant withdraw Dh22 million,” added Al Shaali in the court hearing.
The owner of the Dubai-based law firm alleged that he discovered in 2017 that the prime defendant, along with the rest of the defendants, had embezzled the money by forging documents. The prime defendant illegally accessed the firm’s database, copied information about clients and forged e-documents, saying that the firm had been restructured before sending forged letters to clients, it was alleged.
Earlier, Al Shaali told Gulf News that the defendant managed to open a supplier account number at a large automotive corporation in Europe, with assistance from a 45-year-old defendant who is still at large. The supplier account number was used so that Al Shaali Company Advocates and Legal Consultants’ clients could deposit money to that account and fraudsters access those funds.
The lawyer said 50 bank accounts of the defendants were seized by UAE Federal Prosecution, Dubai Public Prosecution and Bahrain Public Prosecution.
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Al Shaali, whose law firm deals with 223 international clients, said the key defendant was working for his company since 2009, but the alleged embezzlement was discovered only in 2017. “Checks on one of the internal accounts finally revealed the scam. The defendants had created a company in Sharjah Free Zone and in other countries to embezzle the money,” Al Shaali alleged.
Dubai Public Prosecution has charged the key defendant with embezzlement of Dh183.6 million belonging to the law firm. It has also charged the prime defendant with leaking data to clients for the benefit of companies established by him with his wife and the other defendants in UAE and other countries.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for September 7.