Dubai: Two Dynasty Zarouni realty executives on Wednesday denied the charge of swindling Dh25.6 million from 10 businessmen by establishing an allegedly bogus investment portfolio.

The realtor's 37-year-old Emirati owner M.H.Z. and 36-year-old Indian Chairman K.M. also rejected the charge of establishing a bogus investment portfolio when they pleaded not guilty before the Dubai Misdemeanours Court.

"Not guilty ... that's untrue," argued KM when he defended himself before Presiding Judge Jamal Eddine Ahmad Abdul Majid. Meanwhile M.H.Z. also contended: "I am not guilty."

A third British suspect identified as R.Q., who is at large, faces the same charges.

Advocates Majid Asad and Ayman Merdas, who represented the suspects, asked the court for an adjournment to study the file case and prepare their arguments.

Lawyers Salim Al Sha'ali and Saeed Al Nasiri, representing a number of the complaining investors in civil right, asked Presiding Judge Abdul Majid for time to present their civil lawsuits against the suspects.

Gulf News obtained a copy of the arraignment sheet, in which K.M. was charged with offering the businessmen to multiply their money through a bogus investment portfolio. Records said the Indian told the businessmen to provide a monthly payment of Dh300,000 to be invested in real estate projects offering a monthly revenue of Dh1 million starting from the seventh month. KM allegedly got the claimants trust the feasibility of the portfolio by advertising in newspapers and the internet.

The Public Prosecution also charged M.H.Z. and R.Q. with aiding and abetting K.M. by confirming his claims, the act which allegedly resulted in cheating the claimants.

Real estate fraud

Gulf News also learnt that prosecutors dismissed the charges of real estate fraud, worth hundreds of millions of dirhams, against the suspects for lack of crime.

Al Sha'ali appealed the dismissal of the real estate fraud charge. An appeals judge is looking into this plea.

"The jury is only responsible for prosecuting the suspects on the charges of swindling and establishing a bogus investment portfolio ... I will not accept any real estate fraud case or complaint," concluded Presiding Judge Abdul Majid, who adjourned the case until March 10.

According to the charges sheet, K.M. told prosecutors that he bought the properties, which the businessmen described as bogus and non-existent, from developers and he was authorised to sell them. He presented contracts and documents to prove that he was authorised to do so.

Dynasty Zarouni's chairman claimed in his statement to prosecutors: "Due to the global financial crisis, some of the businessmen's cheques bounced and when he presented the bad cheques to the police, they complained against him."