Man in court for locking up business partner in Dubai hotel laundry room

Pakistani says Australian detained him in room for 12 hours, hit him with a metal bar and poured hot water over him, while also threatening to kill his family, court hears.

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DUBAI // An Australian man on Monday faced court for allegedly threatening, assaulting and detaining his business partner in the laundry room of their hotel suite in October last year.

At Dubai Criminal Court, F N, 44, who was arrested after the Australian embassy alerted the police, denied a charge of detaining L B, a 54-year-old Pakistani, for 12 hours.

Prosecutors said F N attacked L B with a metal bar and threatened to kill his family in Australia, an accusation the Australian denied.

Dubai Police were made aware of the incident when L B’s friends in Australia contacted the embassy in the UAE, which alerted officers.

F N and L B were staying in a hotel suite in Jumeirah Beach Residence after arriving from South Africa on October 4 to receive a shipment of gold.

L B told police that F N became furious when they discussed business the following day.

“He suddenly got angry and started screaming because the shipment’s documents did not arrive from South Africa,” L B said.

The Pakistani said F N took away his mobile phone, wallet and passport before dragging him into the laundry room.

L B said he begged F N to release him but he refused and assaulted him with a metal bar.

“I begged him to let me use the toilet, which he allowed, but he took me back to the laundry room when I was done,” said L B, adding that F N then lashed him with a belt before hitting him with a chair and pouring hot water on him.

L B said F N told him to call his friends in Australia to ask them to wire money to him so that he could buy out F N’s share in their investments.

The Pakistani said the Australian was attacking him as he called his friends, so he told them that F N was holding him captive. They then called the Australian embassy in the UAE to seek help for him.

“At 9.30am on October 5 last year we received a report of the incident from the Australian embassy, following which we went to the hotel and raided the suite,” M E, a 28-year-old Emirati policeman, told the court.

He said L B was found bleeding on a bed. “He [L B] told me that he and the defendant had been friends for a long time and were business partners as well. But a misunderstanding caused the assault,” M E said.

L B was taken to hospital for treatment.

F N confessed to assaulting L B and said he later apologised to him, according to prosecutors.

L B claimed he has dropped the charges against F N.

The next hearing will be on January 21.