Man carried 48 fake US$100 notes into country, court hears

Prosecutors say he tried to buy cigarettes with one of the notes in Dubai Duty Free.

DUBAI // A man denied this morning knowing US dollars with which he tried to purchase cigarettes from a Dubai Duty Free shop were fake.

The defendant, AM, 39, Syrian, told the Dubai Criminal Court of First instance that he had bought US$5,000 (Dh18,000) from an exchange centre in Syria and did not know they were fake.

He said he was flying to China for business and landed in Dubai as a transit passenger.

“I was trying to buy cigarettes for my friend in China when the shop saleswoman told me the $100 bill I gave her was forged,” he said.

Prosecution charged him with possessing 48 such bills for the purposes of using them in the UAE.

AMF, a Filipina saleswoman at a Dubai Duty Free shop, testified that the defendant came to the shop on the night of January 9 and tried to buy two packs of cigarettes.

She said he handed her a $100 bill and when she examined it, she saw it was fake. AMF added that she asked the defendant to present a new bill, and he gave her another fake note.

She said she called airport security, who arrested the defendant.

The defendant’s defense lawyer told the court that a receipt from the exchange centre in Syria, which sold his client the fake dollars, proves there was no criminal intent.

A verdict is expected on March 29.