Man gets three years in jail for fake gold deal worth Dh85m

An Iranian businessman in Dubai sought a loan from an Iranian bank for fictitious firms in his native country.

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DUBAI // An Iranian businessman based in the emirate was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison for defrauding an Iranian bank of almost Dh85 million in a bogus gold deal.

SH, 55, was convicted by the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance of stealing Dh84.7m from the bank, which has a branch in Dubai, in November 2008.

Prosecutors said SH presented fraudulent documents from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, and also forged inspection certificates and receipts from a Tehran-based inspection company, to receive payments from the bank.

He is accused of setting up fictitious companies in Iran that sought a loan from Bank Saderat Iran. The loan was used to finance a purchase of gold from SH.

Relying on the fake documents from S H, the bank's branch in Dubai gave a portion of the fake Iranian companies' payments to S H, only to learn later that the documents were forged, prosecutors said.

Records show SH fraudulently obtained a licence from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce after registering his company online with forged receipts. A Chamber of Commerce executive told prosecutors that the chamber issues certificates to companies based on receipts.

SH contacted the Dubai branch of the bank, claiming he was completing a gold deal with the three fake Iranian companies, supposedly in Tehran and Isfahan, prosecutors say.

According to a manager for the Dubai branch of the bank, the companies requested a gold purchase from S H's company in Dubai worth Dh150m through the bank's branch in Khuramabad, Iran.

The Dubai bank manager testified that after a portion of the payment was processed in the emirate, the bank sent the documents to the Khuramabad branch to verify their authenticity. That branch found out that the documents were fake.

The company providing the gold did not exist either, records show.

The defendant was accused of forging inspection certificates by the Tehran inspection company to hide the fact that the gold did not exist. A partner at the inspection company told prosecutors that when the bank eventually contacted her, she confirmed that the documents were forged.

Last year, the Iranian government filed an extradition request at the UAE Ministry of Justice, asking for SH to be sent to Iran. A Dubai extradition court denied the request because S H's trial was ongoing.

He will be deported after completing his sentence.