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Gang held for €7.2bn Central Bank scam

The group produced forged documents showing the UAE Central Bank owed a European Bank €7.2bn. (SUPPLIED)

By Staff Writer

Seven men – three Europeans and four Asians – were arrested by Abu Dhabi Police for allegedly attempting to make fraudulent withdrawals worth €7.2 billion

(Dh37.9bn) from the UAE Central Bank, Abu Dhabi Police said yesterday.

The group produced forged documents showing that the Central Bank owed a European Bank the amount, which they claimed were family investments owned by their boss, explained Abu Dhabi Police in a press statement.

"The documents presented by the suspects were proved fake and meant for attempted fraud targeting the Central Bank," said Colonel Hammad Ahmed Al Hammadi, Director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Abu Dhabi Police.

Investigations led to the crime director – "the boss" of the operation. He was identified to be a 63-year-old Asian, MMA. He was arrested together with the other six. Four of the suspects, including the "boss" entered the country on visit visas. The other two are holders of UAE residency visas, one as a partner in a shop and the other is an electrical foreman.

The arrests were made in co-ordination with the Central Bank's Anti-Money Laundering Unit and were successful due to the prompt action taken by the two bodies, Al Hammadi said.

All members of the group denied the charges of forging documents and attempted fraud, he added.

The three European suspects are identified as HB, 38 years old, FT, 49, and LMA, 45. They submitted false documents claiming a European commercial bank had transferred €7.2bn in the name of MMA. They claimed the amount was a family investment and that they had a written authorisation from MMA to collect it.

Lieutenant Colonel Dr Rashid Mohammed Bu Rasheed, Head of Organised Crime Section at the Abu Dhabi Police Criminal Investigation Department, said the three suspects confessed that they had four other partners. The four suspects are all from the same Asian country and are identified as: MMA, ARA, 44 years old, KHK, 48, and MHH, 40.

The "boss" confessed that he was a mediator to a trader in his home country identified as FKM and that this man had transferred the amount in his name from a commercial bank in Europe to the UAE in order for him to collect it from the UAE Central bank and then to hand it over to the trader against a commission of 15 per cent.

He also admitted that he made local and international communications with the rest of the suspects, some of whom he accompanied to the UAE to collect the amount from the Central Bank.

According to Article No. 217 of the Federal Penalties Law, the penalty for falsifying an official document is not more than 10 years in jail and for falsifying non-official documents it is from a month to three years.


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