'Non-existent wallet case' postponed until Oct 12

A 'non-existent wallet case' is postponed until Oct 12 to allow investigators to produce detailed accounts.

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A trial in the case of "the non-existent wallet" was postponed yesterday to allow time to complete a report detailing exactly how much money was taken from investors. Prosecutors allege that more than 8,000 people were defrauded of an estimated Dh400 million after they invested in a bogus investment scheme masterminded by AQ Qublan. Victims were promised monthly returns of 30 to 40 per cent on their investments. Some were paid their first month's dividends to encourage them to invest further. But after that the cheques dried up. Some received no money at all. AQ Qublan's trial was due to start yesterday but the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance adjourned it until Oct 12 pending the chief investigative committee's report. The committee, comprising members of the Central Bank, the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department and the Abu Dhabi Police, has been charged with compiling a report of AQ Qublan's assets, including property, cars, investments and money in various bank accounts. All of the assets are to be sold and money will be seized by the Central Bank. In addition, all investments made by other defendants who were brokers in the case are to be seized. Ninety two people including AQ Qublan have been charged in the case. The investigating committee began making the seizures yesterday and money from the sale of seized assets will form a fund from which victims will be paid. Abu Dhabi Police will conduct a public auction of 33 vehicles seized from Qublan and other defendants. Three of these vehicles alone are expected to be worth more than Dh1 million. The Judicial Department said on Wednesday that the number of defendants in the case had risen from 75 to 92, and the number of victims had reached 8,000. AQ Qublan, two of his brothers and 89 others who allegedly acted as brokers are facing fraud and forgery charges. The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department's investigators said their work had been hampered because the leading defendants had not set up a proper accounting system. In a statement last month, the Judicial Department revealed that some of the co-defendants in the case were stealing money from AQ Qublan himself without his knowledge. * The National