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| 22 November, 2017

Three jailed in $435mln car sale fraud and money laundering case in UAE

Currency concept: Money Laundering on computer keyboard background

Currency concept: Money Laundering on computer keyboard background

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Of the 38 charged, 33 found not guilty in first case related to car trade fraud

Three citizens were sentenced up to 13 years in prison by the Abu Dhabi Court of Misdemeanours on Wednesday after they were found guilty of money laundering and unlawful activities in the Dh1.6-billion car sales fraud and money laundering case that involved 54 people — mostly Emiratis.

The court pronounced its judgement in one of the four cases related to the scam.

Of the 38 people charged in this case, 33 were found not guilty.

Emirati H.M. was sentenced to 13 years in jail. He received a 10-year term for money laundering and three years for engaging in fraudulent activities, exploiting others’ money and six months for trading without a licence.

The court also penalised him Dh100,000 for running a trade without a licence. The court said that he had sold Dh350 million worth of vehicles using forged documents of sale.

The court ordered the freezing of all his bank accounts inside and outside the country.

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A.M., another defendant, was also sentenced to 13 years in jail, with a 10-year term for money laundering and three years for cheating people. The court also fined him Dh500,000.

Another Emirati, A.M., was sentenced to a three-year prison term for fraudulent activities and fined Dh500,000.

The presiding judge appreciated the lawyers for defending their clients but the public prosecution’s presentation of evidence, witnesses, bank transactions and documents established that the defendants were engaged in unlawful trading activities without proper licensing and contracts. They were also found guilty of money laundering, the presiding judge said.

More than 50 defendants charged with fraud and money laundering in the mega scam are being heard at the court.

The men were arrested on charges of scamming up to 3,700 people of more than Dh1.6 billion. Eight of the suspects were caught with the help of the Interpol.

Almost 2,000 people caught up in the billion-dirham investment scam have come forward with financial claims of up to Dh310 million, prosecutors said during the previous hearings.

Police began investigating the case last year after receiving more than 400 complaints in five days.

Investigation showed that the scammers would sell at least one car a day, which was then re-purchased by the dealership several times. The defendants would buy expensive cars with the victims’ money.

The remaining three cases related to the Dh1.6-billion fraud are ongoing, with 12 persons being involved in the second case, one person in the third and three people in the fourth case.

Reporting by Anwar Ahmad

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