Dh30m ($8m) fraud lands former Deyaar CEO behind bars

Published March 26th, 2013 - 12:30 GMT
Dubai Courts
Dubai Courts

Deyaar’s former CEO has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for abusing his office and deliberately causing a loss of Dh30 million in public funds by pushing through an illegal tender.

The Dubai Court of First Instance convicted 48-year-old Z.S, who is of American-Lebanese heritage, of abusing his position and helping Thermo, a construction services company, to win a tender illegally so he could make a personal gain of Dh20 million.

Monday’s verdict marks the first graft case in which Z.S. has been convicted, out of four cases referred to court since 2009.

The court also sentenced a 61-year-old Argentinean K.M, a partner in an information technology company, Thermo’s former project manager, besides a Canadian national, F.L, and Thermo’s ex-general manager A.S, a Briton, to 10 years each for making illegal gains to the tune of Dh10 million from the tender.

Pronouncing the judgement in Courtroom 3, presiding judge Ali Attiyah Sa’ad also ordered the four accused to jointly pay a fine of Dh29 million. The accused were also ordered to repay Deyaar the same amount.

All the defendants, except Z.S, were sentenced in absentia.

Chief Prosecutor Sami Al Shamsi, Head of Bur Dubai Prosecution, had asked the court to impose the toughest punishment applicable on the accused.

Prosecutors charged the defendants with deliberately inflicting losses on Deyaar, a company in which Dubai Government owns a stake.

“The court has acquitted the four defendants of forging receipts and using them. The four accused will be deported following the completion of their punishments. Meanwhile Deyaar’s civil lawsuit has been referred to the Dubai Civil Court,” said presiding judge Sa’ad.

Z.S’s advocate Hassan Juma Al Raisi told Gulf News that he had appealed the primary judgement.

“The first hearing before the Appeal Court will be on April 23,” Al Raisi said.

Records said F.L. and A.S. are at large.

Z.S. had pleaded non guilty to the charges.

K.M, who was in custody when the case was first referred to court in December 2009, had also pleaded not guilty.

However the Argentinian went absconding shortly after he was granted bail in 2012.

According to the charges sheet, F.L. was also charged with abusing his public office as project manager of Thermo, also a company in which Dubai Government owns a stock, to make unlawful gains of Dh500,000.

A.S. was accused of aiding F.L. in perpetrating the fraud.

According to Monday’s judgement, the Canadian and the Briton were fined Dh500,000 and also ordered to return the same amount.

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