The Dubai Court of Cassation has upheld the verdict of the emirate’s Court of Appeal and dropped all charges against Emirati businessman Abed Al Boom who had been sentenced to more than 900 years in jail last year by the Court of First Instance.
In its ruling, the court said the case was not within its jurisdiction since the Ruler of Dubai had issued a decree that superseded any judgement it might deliver.
Al Boom, who owns Abed Al Boom Management and Development Properties and Al Boom Holdings, was accused of defrauding investors of about Dh1 billion. Al Boom was also accused by the prosecution of creating a bogus property investment portfolio, taking clients' money and allegedly doling out small payments to investors to make them believe that their funds were generating a return.
On February 28, 2011, the Dubai Misdemeanours Court of First Instance presided by Judge Al Saeed Bargouth found Al Boom guilty of breaching the trust of 3,706 investors and embezzling Dh960 million of their money. He was sentenced to 923 years and nine months in prison - three months for each investor.
However, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had issued a decree in August 2009 to liquidate Al Boom's assets and formed a special judicial committee authorised to check the financial status of Al Boom and take action to collect amounts owned by others to the debtor. The hearings had seen heated arguments between defence lawyers and the prosecution about the date on which the case was referred to the court and whether it was before or after the ruler’s decree.
The prosecution had also argued that Al Boom had continued to collect money from the public even after the case was referred to the court. Al Boom was also accused of embezzling money of debtors by buying yachts, holding luxurious receptions, buying customised number plates, sponsoring sport events and offering cars to players for raising his social status.