A former chief executive of Dubai property developer Deyaar has reportedly been sentenced to 25 years in jail and a Dhs92m ($25m) fine after losing two appeals relating to abusing office and misappropriating funds.
Zack Shahin, a US citizen born in Lebanon, was fighting two appeals in Dubai’s Appeal Court and seeking acquittal in two graft cases relating to financial irregularities of Dhs56m and Dhs43m during his tenure, according to Gulf News.
The presiding judge Saeed Salem Bin Sarm rejected the appeals and upheld the two primary judgments of 15-year and 10-year jail terms.
He also upheld fines of Dhs56m and Dhs36m against the former CEO, who refuted the accusations, according to the publication.
The first graft case related to misappropriating Dhs56.3m for the purchase of a land plot in Texas in November 2007.
Shahin was accused of conspiring with his two countrymen, executives M.J and G.B who represented a US-based company that owned the land plot, to sell it to Deyaar through a tampered contract.
The tender, which falsely mentioned the seller had the land title deed, was submitted to Deyaar’s late chairman who consented based on the information.
The two men were also found guilty by the Court of First Instance and sentenced in absentia to 15 years in jail.
Together the group were ordered to pay Dhs56m to Deyaar and Dhs201,000 in civil temporary compensation.
Five other suspects including Deyaar’s Malaysian ex financial manager, Pakistani ex engineering department vice chairman, Australian ex director of international projects, Lebanese ex operations chief and Indian ex executive were accused of involvement in the case but were acquitted due to a lack of evidence.
The second graft case involved the Shahin and nine others. This saw the ex CEO, Deyaar’s Indian former operations manager and an Argentinian company owner convicted on three counts of financial irregularities worth nearly Dhs250m.
They were jailed for 10 years each, fined Dhs36m and ordered to pay the same amount to Deyaar.
The court also upheld the three-year sentence given to an Indian marketing manager, according to the publication.
Five other suspects including two Indian executives, a Lebanese sales representative, a Palestinian sales director and Pakistani salesman were acquitted of abuse of office, illegal profiteering, dispersing public funds, divulging secrets, forgery, breach of trust, swindling, deception, embezzlement, bribery and other charges due to a lack of evidence.
A former Emirati minister was also accused but he passed away.
The case first went before the Dubai Misdemeanours Court in 2009 and has been handled by more than six benches of judges, according to Gulf News.
Shahin was first arrested and jailed in 2008 during an investigation into financial irregularities while at the head of the company.
He later went on hunger strike in May 2012 and was released on Dhs5m bail in July that year. Following this, Shahin attempted to flee the country but was arrested in Yemen and brought back to the UAE.