The former head of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dr Omar bin Sulaiman, is in custody for allegedly embezzling Dh50 million (US$14m) in public funds disguised as "performance bonuses". The Dubai Government said last night that the Financial Audit Department of the Ruler's Court found violations had occurred during Mr bin Sulaiman's tenure as governor. Mr bin Sulaiman, who was dismissed in November by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Ruler of Dubai, is accused of abusing his position and spending public funds for his personal use. The Government has alleged that he hid the expenditures as "annual performance bonuses".
Mr bin Sulaiman could not be reached for comment by phone yesterday. He is being detained by the Monetary and Public Funds Prosecution department. Salem bin Khadem is leading the investigation under the supervision of Ismail Madani, the chief prosecutor of the department. Dubai's Attorney General, Essam Issa al Humaidan, said the investigation was part of an effort to ensure "complete transparency ... protect public funds and to maintain integrity of public office". Prosecutors would shortly refer "a number" of similar cases to the court.