‘Brick-layer' defrauded UAE businesses out of millions

New details are emerging about the company that allegedly conned a number of UAE businessmen out of goods worth several millions of dirhams.

As reported earlier this week by Emirates 24|7, a six-year old marine company’s officials have allegedly disappeared with goods worth several million dirhams collected over the past two months from various traders across the UAE.

It has now emerged that the alleged owner of the company was only a frontman – he was in fact a mason by profession.

It was also reported that the owner of SM, one VR, has fled the UAE to his hometown in Kerala, a south Indian state.

One of the victims of the fraud, Lobo, who heads a leading marine and offshore company in Dubai, told this online newspaper that he managed to find the whereabouts of VR and was shocked to find that the man lived in a small tiled house in Kerala that was equipped with bare minimum necessities.

“My friend traced the man in Kerala in India, and we were really shocked to find out that he knew nothing about the scam,” said Lobo.

“The story he narrated was even more surprising. VM used to work in the UAE as a mason until 2009. He had to return to India after he lost his job. He then returned to the country in October 2012.”

“Someone is supposed to have approached him, promising to pay him Dh5,000 every month in exchange for his passport which they would use to start a small business,” added Lobo.

Lobo says VM was accessible over the telephone until two days ago.

“Now he has switched off his phone again,” he added.

SM, which operated from mainland Dubai, is said to have obtained goods for contracts from prestigious projects in Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Businesses affected in the scam recently approached the Indian Consulate in Dubai.

“Consulate officials asked us to file a detailed written complaint so that they can take up the matter with the Indian government,” said another affected businessman.

“There is definitely a major force in operation here,” he added.

The offices of SM at the prestigious Wafi Residence have been closed since January 26. Clients who visited the office said the office had been lively, with staff belonging to various nationalities including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and European countries.

The company has issued more than 400 cheques, some of which have already bounced.

Cheque bounce cases have been filed at Al Rafa’a Police Station. None of the companies that have fallen prey to the alleged scam wanted to be identified for fear of backlash from local suppliers.

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