Building firm boss gets 15 years for fraud
The former chief executive of a Dubai property firm has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for his part in a Dhs56 million fraud involving property in Texas. The American, aged 56, was convicted alongside two other Americans who were given the same sentence. But the others were tried in absentia and remain on the run. Dubai Court of First Instance ordered that they repay the Dhs56 million to their former firm - and pay the same again as a fine. The main defendant would not be released until the fine is paid, according to court procedure. A judge was told their company was deceived into paying an inflated price for a plot of land in Texas, in November 2007, and that they embezzled Dhs56.3m from the deal. The American was arrested and placed in detention in 2008 during an investigation into financial irregularities. He went on hunger strike on May of 2012, and was released in July the same year on Dhs5m bail. He fled the country but was arrested in Yemen and brought back to the UAE. Five other men - a Malaysian, Australian, Indian, Pakistani and Lebanese man, who were charged with aiding and abetting, were found not guilty. The main defendant will be deported on his release. An arrest warrant has been out for the other Americans since 2012.