US dollars
Representational image. Image Credit: pexels

Dubai: A visitor has gone on trial accused of possessing $39,550 (Dh146,000) in fake banknotes to buy 70 smartphones from a shop in Dubai, a court has heard.

An Indian manager of an electronics shop in Dubai claimed that in May this year someone contacted him asking to buy smartphones.

The manager sent a purchase list of the phones and the buyer asked him to deliver the phones to his relative in Dubai and receive the payment.

“He claimed that he was Turkish and that his relative was a visitor in Dubai and they didn’t know the roads well enough in Dubai to reach my shop,” said the manager. “I called the relative but his phone was switched off and the Turkish man told me that he had gone on safari.

“I found his response suspicious and reported the matter to police, as a similar shop in Naif had suffered a similar scam,” added the manager.

Dubai Police set a trap for the suspect and caught a 24-year-old Georgian man in a parking lot of a hotel on Shaikh Zayed Road.

“He was possessing fake dollars to buy the phones,” said a police officer in court. “We set a trap to arrest the defendant and found packs of fake dollars. We took the dollars to an exchange office to check their authenticity and when we discovered it was fake we arrested him.

“Some shops in the area were victims of a similar fraud by someone who was contacting them from outside the country,” added the officer.

He added that the defendant arranged for the payment to be made after sunset in dark place to make it harder for the merchant to notice the dollars were fake. The defendant was charged with possessing counterfeit currency and attempting to obtain goods by deception.

A verdict is expected on September 15. The defendant will remain in custody.