Former Dubai Islamic Bank executives get 10-year prison terms

Former Dubai bank executives get 10-year prison terms

Four businessmen, two Britons, an American and a Turkish citizens — are charged with criminal complicity, as the American and the Turk were sentenced in absentia because they have fled the country

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Two former Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) executives and four businessmen were sentenced to 10 years each in prison by a Dubai court on Wednesday and fined 1.8 billion dirhams ($496.5 million), the amount they were accused of embezzling from the bank.

The case was one of the largest financial fraud cases in the United Arab Emirates, home to tourism and financial hub Dubai.

The convicted were charged with appropriating public funds, illegal profiteering and inflicting intentional loss to the government and its interests.

The two executives, Pakistani citizens, were arrested in 2008 and first appeared before a Dubai criminal court in March 2010.

The public prosecution said they accepted bribes totalling $1.7 million.

The two were tried as government officials — the Dubai government owns a 30-percent stake in DIB — leading to a stiffer penalty under the UAE penal code which stipulates more severe punishment for government employees.

The businessmen — two Britons, an American and a Turkish citizens — were charged with criminal complicity. The American and the Turk were sentenced in absentia because they have fled the country.

Prosecutors said the suspects swindled DIB by submitting “documents and invoices about fraudulent deals.”

Dubai launched an anti-corruption campaign in 2008 that led to the arrest of several high-profile business figures, including government ministers.

Dubai adopted a new law in December 2009 under which the state can impose prison terms of up to 20 years for financial crimes shortly after a debt crisis erupted when flagship conglomerate Dubai World requested a standstill agreement on $26 billion of debt. The company reached a debt restructuring deal with its creditors late last year.

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