Dubai: A British man and his father have been sentenced to three years in prison each and fined Dh14 million for scamming a dozen suppliers out of more than Dh8 million. A third Britisher involved in the case has been cleared by the Dubai Court of Misdemeanour.
The court was told how the son had fled Dubai, leaving his father and a colleague to face justice after 13 companies reported them for financial fraud.
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Prosecutors said the 32-year-old Briton was the CEO of two companies in Dubai and his father was working with him. He and his father, 58, claimed to have signed billions of dirhams of contracts with Dubai Expo and then used those contracts to scam suppliers into selling them products worth millions using dud cheques.
Prosecutors had also charged a fellow Briton, 35, sales executive at one of the companies, of taking part in the fraud, but he was acquitted by the court.
The son and his father had opened offices, a warehouse and hired staff to carry out the scam and had even placed advertisements in local newspapers in August last year, seeking to purchase various products. Suppliers of different types of products contacted the defendants based on the advertisements before signing deals worth more than Dh8 million. After the cheques bounced, the duped companies reported the incidents to Jebil Ali Police Station last October.
“I met the son and his father at their offices in Dubai Investment Park,” said a British manager of a fencing services company. The duo asked him to provide them with fencing material worth Dh536,000. “I did so, but the cheques I was handed as payment bounced,” he said.
Another victim who had supplied the defendants with Dh4 million worth of carpets visited their office after the cheques they gave him bounced. “Their office was empty,” added the victim, a Turkish national.
A third company was paid in dud cheques after supplying the defendants with ceramics valued at Dh1.4 million.
Another victim was scammed out of Dh819,000 of plastic material.
All the victims told the investigators they had visited the offices of the defendants’ two companies where they once saw an active business and employees around, but later found the premises empty.
Dubai Public Prosecution has charged the defendants with fraudulently obtaining millions in cash and products. The father and the sales executive denied the charge while the son remains at large. The sales executive was additionally charged with issuing the bounced cheques. His lawyer, Awatif Mohammad Khouri, from Al Rowaad Advocates, proved that the cheques were issued, signed and handled by the British CEO. “Some of the victims, as part of their testimonies, clarified that he [the third defendant] had neither issued nor handed them the cheques,” she said.
The father and son were each sentenced to three years in prison, followed by deportation.