Man stole Dh40m of public funds to pay for lavish lifestyle, Abu Dhabi court hears

He exploited position at public authority to create false scholarship documents

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, July 31, 2012:  
UAE dirhams. (Silvia Razgova / The National)
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A man who exploited his position at a public authority to create false scholarship documents as part of a Dh40 million ($10.8 million) fraud has been jailed by an Abu Dhabi court for 25 years.

He was ordered to pay Dh50 million by Abu Dhabi Criminal Court after being convicted of money laundering and embezzlement.

He was found to have illegally obtained Dh40 million from an unnamed public body by forging official documents.

The court heard he used the stolen public money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including buying luxury cars, special number plates, jewellery and overseas trips.

“The defendant [was] involved in a case of laundering amounts derived from embezzlement, intentional damage to public funds, forgery and using forged official documents,” Abu Dhabi Judicial Department tweeted on Thursday.

The court ordered the confiscation of all proceeds of the crimes.

Prosecutors stressed the importance of protecting public funds and taking all measures to counter such criminal acts.

This month, the court convicted 13 people who owned seven companies between them of money laundering and tax evasion.

They were found guilty of laundering Dh510 million through point-of-sale devices at a travel agency.

The court sentenced four in person and the rest in their absence to between five and 10 years in jail.

It also ordered the confiscation of the seized funds and the deportation of the guilty parties from the country after they had served their sentences. The convicted people were each fined between Dh5 million and Dh10 million.

The seven companies involved were fined Dh10 million each.

UAE tackles financial crime

The UAE has stepped up efforts to combat financial crime in recent years.

UAE authorities have extradited 899 criminals since 2020, of which 43 were involved in money-laundering crimes.

Ten were terrorists or were financing terrorist activities.

The UAE has issued fines of more than Dh115 million in the first quarter of the year in its fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

“The Ministry of Justice puts the issue of strengthening international co-operation in the field of combating financial crime and organised crime at the forefront of its priorities,” Judge Abdul Rahman Al Blooshi said.

Updated: May 25, 2023, 1:33 PM