• Bassma Al Jandaly, Editor In Chief

Abu Dhabi Criminal Court convicts former Chairman, CEO in money laundering case

The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court has sentenced a former Chairman of the Board of Directors of a government-owned Abu Dhabi company, and a CEO at the same company, to 15 years in prison for money laundering.

In a statement today, the court said, the men, who have not been named, "took advantage of their position in the company and misused public funds." They were ordered to pay a fine and return about AED8 billion to the two companies that had cheated.

The court also ordered the seizure of the proceeds of crime and the property of equivalent value, sentenced the two accused to pay an amount of AED501,000 as temporary compensation to the two companies which claimed violation of their civil rights, and ordered the deportation of the second accused after he has served his sentence.

As regards the case, the two officials were accused of money laundering, misappropriation of public funds, forgery and use of forged documents, to deliberately transfer and conceal the real nature of the funds obtained from the offence that intentionally prejudiced the interest of their employing party. They misappropriated the funds to conceal the origin, location, movement and rights thereto, and invested these funds into several companies.

The investigations by the Public Prosecution in Abu Dhabi revealed that the accused exploited the names of two companies to enter into agreements with companies based abroad, by misusing their positions in the parent company. They concluded parallel and identical agreements with these companies, with companies which had the same name as their parent company. Then they transferred the cash into the cloned companies. They also ensured that all charges and obligations were transferred to their employers, while the cash from the agreements and contracts was transferred into their bank accounts.

The investigations also showed that the accused created several companies outside the country to create confusion between the original company and the companies that were established outside the country to cover up the misappropriation of funds. They used these fake accounts to divide and distribute the funds to others involved in the crime and finally transferred the rest to other accounts owned by them.

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