For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Istockphoto

Dubai: A security guard working for a money transfer company has been jailed for five years for stealing a rare 9.33 carat diamond worth Dh73 million, belonging to a high-end US-based jewellery retailer.

A former manager at the Dubai-based money transfer company reported the robbery of the diamond to Dubai Police, after the suspected burglar broke through three security gates to get to the company’s vault in May 25.

Dubai Police officers and crime scene investigators headed to the company’s vault at the Dubai International Airport’s free zone, where primary interrogations and CCTV footage exposed the involvement of the Sri Lankan security guard.

Further interrogations revealed that the 37-year-old culprit stole the diamond and put it in a box that he later gave to his countryman relative. The latter smuggled the precious stone out of the UAE through a cargo company, by hiding it in a shoebox.

Shortly after that, Dubai Police apprehended the security guard and another Sri Lankan worker, 38, who had allowed the former to use his home in Sharjah as a hideout.

The diamond smuggler remains at large and the police are still searching for him.

On Thursday, the Dubai Court of First Instance jailed the security guard and his relative [diamond smuggler] to five years in jail.

The absconder was sentenced in absentia.

Presiding judge Habib Awad also sentenced the 38-year-old worker for three months for abetting the security guard in hiding from police.

The trio will be deported after serving their jail terms.

The guard pleaded guilty in court.

Meanwhile, the worker pleaded not guilty as he maintained that although he housed the guard in Sharjah he did not know he had committed a heist.

A police sergeant said the accused (security guard) admitted to planning the heist in collaboration with the absconder.

“On the day, he went to work wearing a jacket. He said he removed the diamond from its special bag and hid it in a special box that he hid under his jacket, and then left work. He replaced the diamond’s box with another empty one so that nobody would recognise it, and then he went to the fugitive’s house in Hor Al Anz where they put the diamond in a special shoe and consigned it along with some clothes. When his employer contacted him after the heist had been discovered, the other runaway defendant headed to the airport immediately and travelled out. The security officer said he went to Sharjah and he slept in the streets beside Sharjah Airport for few days before he moved in and hid at the house of the 38-year-old defendant,” he said.

The defendants appealed their punishments instantly after Thursday’s hearing.