The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court sentenced two top government officials to 15 and 10 years imprisonment and ordered them to pay Euro 300 million. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court has sentenced two former senior executives of a government-owned company in Abu Dhabi to prison sentences of 15 and 10 years respectively.

The court also ordered the two — a former chairman and a former executive director — to pay €300 million (Dh1.24 billion), the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department said on Wednesday.

The former executive director was also ordered to be deported after serving his sentence.

The chairman was convicted of exploiting his position and illegally misappropriating public funds totalling €149 million.

Both worked for the same government entity.

The court found them guilty of misappropriating the public money and ordered them to repay a collective €149 million to the company after imposing a fine of €149 million (Dh619 million) plus Dh51,000 as temporary compensation to the company claiming their civil right.

The court order said the chairman misused his position and unlawfully misappropriated €149 million by selling shares to the company.

The technical evidence and testimonies of the witnesses affirmed that the executive director deceived the board of directors of the government-owned company by recommending the approval of the purchase of shares, claiming that the target company was owned by a bank, and that the purchase of the shares would give the company many advantages and investment opportunities that the bank may offer in the future.

The executive director didn’t reveal that the chairman was the true owner of the shares, therefore the company didn’t obtain any of the alleged features or advantages that were pitched by the second defendant in his recommendation, said the court.

The court found him guilty of concealing possession of €210 million, after its market value increased. The executive director was convicted of misusing his position and facilitating the chairman to illegally misappropriate the company’s money.

Abu Dhabi’s financial prosecution unit started investigating these crimes after evidence of corruption against the defendants emerged.

They were referred to the criminal court where the chairman was charged with misusing his position and embezzling public money, while the executive director was convicted of facilitating the chairman. Both were charged with and harming the interests of the company.

The court also found that the transfer of the value of the shares to the chairman’s account included several steps and complications in order to disguise the fact of ownership of the shares in cooperation with a bank.

The first accused signed an investment agreement with the bank for the amount obtained from the crime against a commission of €1 million for the bank and €15 million for the intermediary company, which partnered to covertly disguise the source of the seized funds.