The defendants were convicted under federal laws related to countering money laundering and terrorism financing. Photo for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Dubai Public Prosecution on Saturday announced that the Dubai Misdemeanor Court has convicted eight individuals and three companies for cyber fraud and laundering of stolen funds amounting to around Dh14 million.

Providing details of the investigation into the criminal case, Counselor Ismail Ali Madani, Senior Advocate General, Chief of Public Funds Prosecution, said one of the defendants hacked into a company’s bank account and fraudulently transferred money into his own company’s account. The other convicted individuals assisted the first defendant in conducting a series of illegal transactions to transfer and launder the money as well as conceal the crime and source of funds.

Crime and punishment

The Dubai Misdemeanor Court sentenced the first defendant to three years imprisonment followed by deportation. The rest of the accused were sentenced to imprisonment for periods ranging from six months to one year, followed by deportation. Two of the defendants were also charged a fine of Dh20,000 each. Furthermore, the court imposed a fine of Dh300,000 on each of the three convicted companies involved in the crime and ordered them to return more than Dh9 million stolen through cyber fraud to the victim’s company.

Swift, coordinated action

Madani stated the accused were arrested and brought to justice due to the swift and effective action taken by the Dubai Public Prosecution and the strong cooperation between local and federal authorities involved in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

Faisal Yousuf Bin Sulaitin, executive director of the Dubai Economic Security Centre said Dubai’s investigation agencies including Dubai Public Prosecution play a significant role in combating crimes that can pose a threat to the emirate’s economic and financial security. He praised the excellence demonstrated by Dubai’s law enforcement agencies, spearheaded by Dubai Police whose diligence has enabled the emirate to maintain one of the world’s safest urban environments.

Elaborate plot

Abdul Rahman Nasser Hassan, Chief Prosecution Assistant, who initiated the investigation into the case, said the prosecution’s investigations conducted in cooperation with concerned authorities revealed an elaborate plot to hack into the email of the victim’s company and access correspondence, confidential bank account details, and mechanisms for transferring funds, which allowed them to steal a large portion of the Dh14 million from the victim’s account. After depositing the amount in their account, the defendants engaged in illegal transactions to conceal the source of the funds.

Federal laws

The defendants were convicted under federal laws related to countering money laundering and terrorism financing. Working with other law enforcement authorities, Dubai Public Prosecution referred the defendants to the Dubai Misdemeanor Court, which found them guilty of cyber fraud and money laundering and sentenced them under the framework of Federal Decree - Law No. 20 of 2018 on ‘Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organizations’ (AML/CFT law).