Dubai: A French legal consultant was sentenced to eight months in jail for blackmail and for abusing his authority following a dispute with his employer.

Presiding judge Habib Awad of the Dubai Court of First Instance handed down the sentence in absentia on Monday after the accused failed to appear in court to enter his plea.

The legal consultant had been accused of attempting to blackmail his co-worker at an energy company into paying him Dh1.2 million in compensation and Dh550,000 as a gratuity payment.

According to records, the accused summoned his legal department colleagues and management for an urgent meeting in April 2018 to discuss allegations of corruption and kickback at their workplace.

During the meeting, he claimed some staff had been paid bribes to influence the tender process. However, when management asked him to corroborate his allegations with proof, he flew into a rage and destroyed his laptop, forcing management to call off the meeting.

A report was filed with police, with management accusing the Frenchman of destroying its property.

Meanwhile, the company’s information technology department discovered that the legal consultant had emailed confidential tenders and contracts to his personal email account.

A day later, a Greek legal consultant at the company received emails and SMSes from the Frenchman who threatened to provide incriminating documents to the police exposing the bribery and corruption at the company if he did not receive Dh1.2 million in compensation and a Dh550,000 gratuity. The company reported the latest developments to the police.

Of the jail term, six months were for blackmail, extortion and threatening his Greek co-worker while another two months were for abusing his authority in emailing himself confidential papers.

The judge also ordered the Frenchman to pay Dh21,000 in temporary civil compensation to the claimant — the Greek co-worker. He will be deported following the completion of his sentence.

The Greek victim testified that the accused had threatened him.

“After the meeting, the defendant sent me emails and SMSs in which he threatened to inform the company’s clients about the alleged kickbacks and fraud if the company didn’t pay him money, waive [the] complaint and return his passport,” the victim told prosecutors.

“We also discovered that he had communicated with some of the company’s clients via emails, in which he alleged that the company had won several tenders and signed contracts [through] fraudulent and deceptive methods.”

The Frenchman admitted to prosecutors that he had sent emails threatening the company that he would report their fraudulent methods to the authorities if they didn’t pay him money.