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A land of opportunity… for scammers, too

A land of opportunity… for scammers, too

High profile cases are mounting in the UAE as bribery, abuse of power, and financial impropriety tear through companies. These crimes harm both shareholders and investor confidence.

June 1, 2010 10:36 by

When the frenetic tempo of business outpaces the development of legislative oversight, public policy makers are often left to play catch up. Those who seek to exploit the system are often the ones that expose its deepest vulnerabilities. As a global hub of business activity, the UAE is a case in point.

“There is no room for corruption and the corrupt… In all corruption cases, people are not only prosecuted and punished, administrative and legal holes that they exploited to commit their crimes are plugged,” Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said last year. “No one in the Emirates is above the law and accountability.”

Prosecutors are acting on that directive, and heads in high places are certainly not immune to blind justice. Local media reported this week the jailing of the former chief exec of the country’s largest mortgage lender, along with others charged in illegal land transfer deals. The defendants are believed to have netted more than AED 40 million by selling properties to Bonyan Holdings at an inflated price. A boss at Bonyan was complicit in the dealings, which relied on a triangle of influential players. Defendants included men in high places at property developer, Bonyan, Dubai Islamic Bank, DIB, and the country’s largest mortgage lender, Tamweel.

“The convictions are the fourth by the Dubai Criminal Courts as a result of allegations of impropriety at some of Dubai’s biggest companies. To date, 13 cases have gone before the courts. A total of AED 3.7 billion is believed to have been embezzled.” the National reported this week.

The former DIB chief exec in that case, Saad Abdulrazak, was sentenced earlier this year to a three year prison term on charges that he accepted a multimillion dollar bribe and illegal commissions in connection with his role in facilitating a property sale, the National reported. Abdulrazak was formerly a board member with the developer Deyaar.

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