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Dubai: A bakery manager was sentenced to five years in prison for forging stamps of government departments and falsifying bank receipts to embezzle Dh18.2 million, a Dubai Court heard on Tuesday.

The bakery’s German owner was said to have suspected financial irregularities before ordering his finance department to carry out an internal audit in 2017. The audit uncovered several discrepancies, but when the auditor accompanied a Syrian manager to the administration office, financial records there appeared to be in order.

In November of 2017 however, a massive fire broke out in the bakery’s administration office in the area of the Syrian manager’s office, which was found to have been started deliberately.

Police suspected the Syrian manager of starting the blaze and he was later jailed for one year for arson, which was later raised to three years on appeal.

Following the fire, the bakery’s financial auditor found a number of forged receipts, transactions and government papers before the German owner hired a private auditor.

The second audit exposed a number of financial irregularities totalling Dh18.2 million in losses and police were notified.

Prosecutors accused the suspect of forging government stamps, e-transactions and bank papers using falsified documents to embezzle the money.

Another Syrian and two Indians were accused of aiding and abetting the crime.

The second Syrian was sentenced to one year jail followed by deportation, while the case against the two Indians was dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction.