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Dubai Public Prosecution has charged the eight-member gang with robbery and abetting a crime. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: A gang of eight people has been accused at the Dubai Court of First Instance of robbing Dh3.6 million from an Iraqi merchant in a money exchange scam.

The 38-year-old Iraqi merchant testified that he was contacted by a member of the gang and lured into parting with his money, promising him a better deal than the prevailing market rate in having his cash exchanged into United States dollars.

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According to records, the victim withdrew Dh3.6 million from a bank account and went to the Al Nahda area of Dubai in March 2020, along with a countryman and a Lebanese friend who was a member of the gang.

Dubai Public Prosecution has charged the gang members — a Lebanese, a Sudanese, one Cameroonian and five Nigerian men — with robbery and abetting a crime.

“I was planning to exchange the money for dollars. I was sitting inside my vehicle when an African man came to check the money. I showed him the money inside a red bag and he checked it. He then asked me to send someone to collect the dollars from a nearby office. So I asked the defendant and my countryman to go and collect the money,” said the Iraqi merchant on record.

‘Punched on the chest’

When the two left, the Nigerian man pulled the bag out of the car and tried to escape, but the victim managed to hold on to the bag. “A man sat on the back seat, while another closed my door to block me,” the victim said. The 27-year-old Nigerian defendant then punched him on his chest and managed to pull the bag out and escape.

The victim then alerted Dubai Police who dispatched police patrols to scan the area and one of the defendants was arrested.

The 33-year-old Iraqi friend of the victim testified that there was an agreement between the victim and the Lebanese defendant to buy US dollars and he went with the victim to help complete the transaction.

“I went to check the dollars at a nearby office when I received a call from the victim, asking me to return quickly as the money had been stolen,” the witness said on record.

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The defendant, who was arrested by Dubai Police, admitted to planning with others to steal the money.

The cash was recovered and the victim identified the gang members at Al Rashidiya Police Station.

The next hearing will be on September 27. The defendant will remain in police custody.