Accused in Dh1.8bn fraud say they are 'innocent'

Fraud accused are 'innocent'. (EB FILE)

Three of the seven defendants accused of cheating Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) out of $501 million (Dh1.8bn) and a villa and plot of land worth Dh65m are innocent, Dubai Criminal Court was told yesterday.

Defence witness Deem Teller, a UK-based lawyer who specialises in commercial disputes, said Britons RL, AF and TM did not intend to swindle the bank.

He said the bank had agreed to schedule repayments of a $501m loan over four years. And he disclosed that he had been employed to prepare an agreement between the accused and the bank under which a project called Plantation would guarantee the loan. The project is 70 per cent owned by AF.

Teller said Yaser Amiri, Director-General of the Financial Control Department, had told him during a meeting that Dubai Government had approved the agreement. And he said the plantation project had been worth $1.1bn in 2008.

Another witness, the commercial manager of the plantation project, told the court that another defendant – Pakistani RA, who was formerly the bank's deputy finance manager – had booked a plot on the development and paid one per cent of the total cost. The rules required a payment of 10 per cent, and as this was not paid the booking was cancelled.

The witness said RA had been treated like any other investor and AF had been unaware that he was a bank employee.

The other defendants are AE, from Turkey, ZA, from the US, and AM, the bank's former finance manager, from Pakistan. All seven are accused of submitting forged documents to DIB to support fraudulent activities.


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