British man sold Dh7.7 million Dubai apartment that did not exist, court told

Court was told forged documentation from Dubai Land Department was used to secure the deal

A closeup shot shows the facade of the Dubai Courts building during a hearing on April 04, 2010 in the case of a British couple sentenced to a month in jail after being convicted of kissing in public in a restaurant in the Muslim Gulf emirate. The couple's lawyer said the appeals court upheld the one-month prison sentence against the two, named by the British press as Ayman Najafi, 24, a British expat, and tourist Charlotte Lewis, 25. The couple were arrested in November 2009, after they were accused of consuming alcohol and kissing in a restaurant in the trendy Jumeirah Beach Residence neighbourhood.     AFP PHOTO/STR / AFP PHOTO

A British salesman swindled a property buyer out of more than Dh7 million after selling him a luxury Dubai apartment that did not exist, a court heard.

The man, 39, forged Dubai Land Department stamps on several documents to strike the lucrative deal, judges at Dubai Criminal Court were told.

They heard that an Egyptian man paid Dh7.7 million in return for a hotel apartment in The Address Residence Fountain Views.

“I met the defendant in 2015 at his office in a building on Sheikh Zayed Road and he claimed to be the head of a real estate agency,” the would-be buyer said.

“He later offered me the three-bedroom unit in Fountain Views.”

Prosecutors said the salesman showed faked building plans attributed to developer Emaar Properties for the flat.

After the man paid the full amount in three instalments between May and September 2015, the defendant handed him forged Emaar receipts.

“He provided me with an ownership certificate stamped by Dubai Land Department and said a title deed will only be issued once the project is finished in 2018,” the complainant said.

When he visited Emaar asking about his apartment he was told the unit he had bought did not exist and contacted the seller.

“Employees at his agency told me he fled the country after scamming a number of other people,” the man said.

The defendant is charged in his absence with forgery, the use of forged documents and fraudulently obtaining Dh7.7m.

A verdict is due to be passed on October 26.