Jun 07 2010

Dubai Tycoon took cash to live the high life

A Dubai property tycoon accused of stealing close to one billion dirhams from his investors spent the money on an extravagant lifestyle of fast cars, yachts and parties.

Abid Al Boom, the owner of Abid Al Boom Management and Development Properties, was a struggling businessman in 2004, driving around in a car worth just dhs30,000.

But three years later, prosecutors allege, he was living a jet-set lifestyle with 53 high-end cars, a yacht and two boats on which he would throw parties for his friends and hold business meetings.

He also splashed out on personalised number plates and gave generous donations to football clubs to boost his profile.

The details of his spending spree emerged at Dubai Misdemeanors Court, where he is on trial for the 'betrayal of trust' of 3,700 investors. It is alleged he took nearly dhs900 million from them.

In his closing speech yesterday, Prosecutor Youni Hussain said Al Boom and his co-conspirators were "wolves in human form" who betrayed the trust of their investors.

Al Boom is accused of taking money from clients, telling them he would invest it in property. He offered them a guaranteed return, and even paid dividends initially.

But, in reality, prosecutors claim, he was blowing the money on a life of luxury.

"He spent the money for his own gain and to improve his social standing. He left victims helpless," Hussain told the court. "In 2004, he owned one car by just before the scandal broke in 2007 he owned 53 fancy cars... From where did he get this money in just a couple of years?

Fraudster 'must be punished'
"He bought those cars using the savings and cash of his victims. Some of them are now in jail because they had taken out a loan and gave the money to Al Boom. When they failed to repay the loan, they were sent to jail.

Al Boom has hurt many families."

Hussain told how the Emirati businessman spent tens of millions of dirhams on "polishing up his image and on parties".
"He was even donating money to football clubs and to the fans to make himself more popular," Hussain added.

"Some prosecutors even trusted him and gave their money to him to invest it... Justice must be done and Al Boom must be punished for his acts."

Al Boom has been charged with betrayal of trust and bouncing cheques.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, has previously issued a decree setting up a judicial committee to liquidate the assets of Al Boom.

The committee is responsible for collecting the money and paying back the creditors.

The case has been adjourned until June 27, when the defence will make its closing speech.

If convicted, Al Boom could be sentenced to up to two years in prison. However, he could remain in jail until he pays back all his victims.

Prosecutors allege dhs900 million of investors' money bought him...
53 Top-End Cars
A Luxury Yacht
Two 'Party' Boats
Number Plates
Friends In Football

By Ali Al Shouk

© 7Days 2010

© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.

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