Fake bills not mine, accused tells court

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DUBAI // A Nigerian man has denied using seven counterfeit US$100 (Dh367) bank notes to buy two airline tickets to Vietnam. The defendant, AA, 37, appeared in Dubai Criminal Court of First instance yesterday. When he was shown the counterfeit bills in question in court, he said they were not his. "The bank notes I used to pay for the tickets were brand new and clean. These are not the same bank notes," AA said.

AA also pleaded with Judge Saeed bin Sarm to let him return to Nigeria to help his family because he was their sole breadwinner. "My mother is very ill," he told the judge. "My children have not been to school since I was arrested. Please let me go home. My family needs me." The prosecution alleges that AA passed the fake bills on May 29, when he went to the DNATA Airline Centre in Deira to buy a ticket to Vietnam. He paid $700 in US currency and Dh235 (US$190) for one return ticket.

AA returned later to book a second return to Vietnam. He paid US$750 and Dh52, in cash. Although they were accepted by the ticket agent and accountant on duty, a $100 bill from the first transaction and six from the second were later found to be counterfeit, the court was told. A ruling in the case is due on Nov 4. hbathish@thenational.ae