Dubai: A group of 19 people has been accused of embezzling, aiding and illegally obtaining Dh183.6 million from a Dubai-based law firm.
According to records, a 44-year-old legal adviser 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 forged official documents and used them to set up four legal consultancy firms in different countries and illegally obtained the firm’s money.
In 2017, the owner of the Dubai-based law firm discovered 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 the clients and forged e-documents, saying that the firm had been restructured, before sending forged letters to the clients.
Emirati lawyer Salem Al Shaali, owner of Al Shaali Company Advocates and Legal Consultants, told Gulf News that the defendant managed to open a supplier account number at the biggest automotive corporation in the European Union, 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 for the fraudsters to access those funds.
The first hearing of the case will be held on Thursday at the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours. “I will ask the judges to return the case to prosecution to add the companies to the defendants’ list as well as to add money laundering charge against the defendants,” Al Shaali told Gulf News.
The lawyer affirmed that 50 bank accounts of the defendants were seized by UAE Federal Prosecution, Dubai Public Prosecution and Bahrain Public Prosecution.
Working since 2009
Al Shaali, whose law firm deals with around 223 international clients, said that the key defendant was working for his company since 2009. He was the manager of the intellectual property department at the firm.
However, the embezzlement was discovered only in 2017. “Checks on one of the internal accounts finally revealed the scam. The defendants created a accompany in Sharjah Free Zone and in other countries to embezzle the money,” Al Shaali added. He said the defendants bought properties in Jordan and Egypt as well as cars with the money.
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 in other countries.