20200714 dubai court
Dubai Court Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: A judgement in Dubai holding a bank liable in a SIM swap fraud case and ordering it to compensate a customer has become a legal precedent for all cases of a similar nature.

After being announced by the Dubai Commercial Court in July 2019, the local bank petitioned against the verdict in the Dubai Court of Appeal. However, the Dubai Court of Appeal’s verdict became final, after the bank chose not to pursue the case with the Dubai Court of Cassation. Found legally responsible for the loss of Dh4.7 million in the SIM card swap fraud, the bank had paid its customer Dh5.6 million through a Dubai execution judge last month.

The amount included a nine per cent interest calculated from the date the case was lodged and an additional Dh100,000 in compensation.

“We will see a new era for banking in the UAE after this judgement has become final, irrevocable and not subject to any further appeal,” said Ghassan El Daye, partner and head of litigation for the Middle East with the UK-based law firm Charles Russell Speechlys.

“This judgement addresses the contractual and tortious liability of a bank towards protecting its customers’ private data and records; a liability that extends to the bank’s responsibility for the acts and omissions of its employees,” he said.

El Daye believes banks will exercise strict measures in verifying identities of their customers and running background checks on their employees.

The case dates back to July 2017 when the bank’s customer was emptied of his life savings. A bank employee provided the client’s personal details and official documents to an unknown person who then used them to get a replacement SIM card in the client’s name.

The replacement SIM card was then used to change the PIN code connected to the man’s bank services before emptying his account.

A criminal report with the police had not helped recover the stolen cash following which a civil case was filed with the commercial court which then issued what has become a legal precedent.