Deadline set for victims of 'the non-existent wallet'

Police officers will man booths for fraud claimants and victims in the case of the "non-existent wallet" have until Oct 12 to register.

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ABU DHABI // Victims in the case of the "non-existent wallet" have until Oct 12 to register claims for reimbursement of money they lost in the investment scam, the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department's Court of First Instance announced yesterday. Those with claims against AQ Qublan, the chief suspect in the case, must return to the police stations where they filed their initial complaints against him.

Qublan is alleged to have defrauded nearly 8,000 people of an estimated Dh400 million (US$108.9 million). The Minister of the Interior's Office said on Monday that everyone defrauded by Qublan would be reimbursed some or all of the money they invested in the illegal scam. Efforts by the Central Bank, the Abu Dhabi prosecutor's office and the Abu Dhabi Police managed to track down Dh260 million (US$70.8 million) of the money taken.

That amount was put in a fund, from which the victims will be repaid. As assets and property belonging to Qublan and two of his brothers, who are also defendants in the case, are auctioned in a few days, the fund is expected to grow. Eighty-nine others who were also charged in the case will be prosecuted according to the role they played in the overall scam. It is unclear whether all their assets will be seized.

Police officers will man booths in police stations for victims of the fraud. They will be required to sign documents agreeing to be paid back their investments, minus any dividends paid to them by Qublan and the other defendants. As part of the scam, and in order to encourage further investment, Qublan had paid dividends to some of his investors.