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Corruption cases that rocked Dubai
A string of arrests and unprecedented action by financial regulators shows that the emirate is clamping down on fraud. We take a look at six cases that shook Dubai Inc.
March 25, 2010 4:29 by Katherine Azmeh
2. Saad Abdulrazak, former chief executive of Dubai Islamic Bank
Saad Abdulrazak, the former director of Deyaar Properties and former chief executive of Dubai Islamic Bank, was sentenced to three years in prison and fined $31 million for accepting a bribe and unlawful commissions.
The Criminal Court of First Instance convicted the 40-year-old Emirati of accepting a AED11.75 million bribe to facilitate a property sale and collecting unlawful commissions worth AED16 million on the sale.
3. Zack Shaheen, ex-CEO of Deyaar
Investigations into the business activities of Zack Shahin, ex-CEO of Deyaar, are ongoing following allegations against him over “forgery, embezzlement, fraud and could also involve money laundering”.
Shahin, a US citizen of Lebanese origin, was detained in March of last year, on allegations that he took bribes from co-defendant, Mohammed Khalfan bin Kharbash, a former minister of state.
Prosecutors said that the former CEO created questionable land schemes and transactions, and abused power-of-attorney privileges, allowing him to bypass Deyaar’s board and make executive decisions. The alleged financial improprieties are said to have created exorbitant financial losses for Deyaar.
4. Michael Bryan Smith, Former personnel manager for Limitless
A Thai criminal court judge announced in February that Michael Smith, who is British, will be extradited to the UAE to face charges that he embezzled $150 million from Dubai property company Limitless. Smith, 43, was arrested in Bangkok in May 2009, where he was jailed. His extradition comes despite the lack of a formal extradition treaty between the two countries.
Smith faces charges that he siphoned other workers’ salaries into his own bank account during his tenure as personnel manager at Limitless. Dubai authorities will seek to charge Smith with acts of forgery, “betrayal of trust and illegal possession of stolen funds”.
Commenting on his decision to proceed with Smith’s extradition, the judge commented that “the UAE has expressed willingness to do favors if Thailand asks in the future,” according to a report by the Times newspaper in the UK.
The reference to ‘favors’ may signal a significant shift in the prospects for former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is wanted by the Thai government and reportedly spends a considerable amount of time in Dubai.