Cassation Court ends 9-year litigation, finds ex-CEO guilty of financial irregualirties, fines him Dh92m
Dubai: The famous Deyaar graft case came to an end on Monday after Dubai’s highest court dismissed the appeal lodged by Deyaar’s former chief executive officer, who will spend 25 years in jail.
Following nine years and three months of litigation, the Dubai Cassation Court rejected two appeals lodged by the 52-year-old American-Lebanese ex-CEO, who was seeking acquittal in two graft cases in which he was accused of indulging in financial irregularities to the tune of Dh56 million and Dh43 million, respectively, during his tenure at Deyaar.
Presiding judge Abdul Aziz Abdullah dismissed the appeals of the defendant, who will have to spend 15 years and 10 years in jail correspondingly, and pay around Dh92 million in fines.
Since his trials started on May 24, 2009, the American-Lebanese defendant had pleaded not guilty and denied indulging in financial irregularities of Dh56 million [first case] and Dh43 million [second case], respectively.
According to Monday’s judgements, presiding judge Abdullah also upheld the fines of Dh56 million [first case] and Dh36 million [second case] against the convict.
In the first graft case, the 52-year-old was jailed for 15 years for abusing his office [as Deyaar’s CEO then] and misappropriating nearly Dh56 million over a plot in Texas in November 2007.
He conspired with his two countrymen executives, who represented a US-based company that owned the relevant plot, committed financial irregularities and pushed through the sale of the land to Deyaar in 2007.
The other two executives were also found guilty and sentenced in absentia [by the Court of First Instance] to 15 years in jail followed by deportation.
The defendant had rejected the accusations of abusing his office, forging documents and using them, and profiting illegally from Deyaar through committing financial irregularities and embezzlement.
The three American defendants were also ordered to repay Dh56 million to Deyaar and will have to pay Dh201,000 in civil temporary compensation to Deyaar.
Dubai’s Public Funds Prosecution accused the three Americans, Deyaar’s former head of legal department, a Malaysian, the ex-financial manager, a Pakistani, the engineering department’s former vice-chairman, an Australian, the ex-director of international projects, a Lebanese, and the operations’ ex-chief, an Indian, of involvement in the graft case.
The 52-year-old conspired against Deyaar when he submitted a feasibility study that was full of irregularities pertaining to the purchase of the plot in Houston, Texas from the American owner [one of the convicted executives and his representative].
The main convict had submitted the tender to buy the plot to Deyaar’s late board chairman, who consented to the purchase, after the defendants used a tampered contract in which it was falsely mentioned that the seller had the title deed.
The remaining five suspects were acquitted for lack of evidence.
During Monday’s hearing in courtroom 22, the acquittal of the five suspects [who were present in court] became final.
In the second graft case that is known as Deyaar’s first and major graft case involving the former CEO and nine others, the court convicted the former CEO, Deyaar’s Indian former operations’ manager and an Argentinian company owner on three counts of financial irregularities worth nearly Dh250 million.
They were jailed 10 years each and fined Dh36 million and ordered to repay the same amount to Deyaar.
The court upheld the three-year imprisonment of an Indian marketing manager.
The accusation sheet also included an Emirati former minister [who passed away], and five other suspects, including two Indian executives, a Lebanese sales representative, a Palestinian sales director and a Pakistani salesman.
Due to lack of evidence, the five suspects [besides the late minister] were all acquitted of abuse of office, illegal profiting, dispersing public funds, divulging secrets, forgery, breach of trust, swindling, deception, embezzlement, bribery and other charges.
Furthermore, a court-appointed committee of financial experts revised the case files [more than 13 boxes] that contained thousands of official and unofficial papers, accounts and financial statements and records.
The committee was tasked to study the defence teams’ objections pertaining to the financial report that was issued by the Rulers Court’s Financial Control Department [FCD].
Since it surfaced before the Dubai Misdemeanours Court for the first time in 2009, the case has been handled by more than six benches of judges and before different chambers.
The case was also referred back to Dubai prosecutors, who modified the charge sheet twice between 2009 and 2012.