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Former RAKIA CEO sentenced to 15 years in jail in $17.2m embezzlement case

Former RAKIA CEO sentenced to 15 years in jail in $17.2m embezzlement case

Khater Massaad and two executives from RAKIA Georgia have also been fined $17.2m

The Ras Al Khaimah Criminal Court has sentenced the former CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) Khater Massaad and two other former RAKIA executives to 15 years in jail over embezzlement charges.

This is the second conviction of Massaad, who was also convicted in absentia in October 2015 in relation to fraud concerning property leases.

Along with the imprisonment, Massaad as well as Gela Mikadze and George Janashia – who worked with RAKIA Georgia- were also fined $17.2m in absentia, according to the court ruling.

The court also ordered Gela Mikadze to repay $12.8m and George Janashia to repay $4.4m – the amount they were accused of “embezzling” – back to RAKIA.

The case concerned signing and later cancelling a joint venture agreement between Poti Sea Port in Georgia (at the time 100 per cent owned by RAKIA) and a newly incorporated company named Raystar Trade LLP in 2010-2011.

According to the public prosecution, the beneficiaries of Raystar were Mikadze and Janashia – a fact only known to Massaad in RAKIA.

“The agreement was made by these three in the full knowledge that Raystar could not contribute anything as they had no experience and in the full knowledge that the contract would be cancelled on RAKIA making a payment to Raystar,” RAKIA alleged.

“That payment totalled $17.2m and was paid to the personal Swiss bank accounts of Mikadze and Janashia,” it added.

In the written verdict, Judge Sameh Hamed Shaker, president of the court, stated that all the three accused had all been “entrusted with maintaining and preserving the public interest, but they intentionally caused damages to the money and interests of the authority for which they work, Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority.”

Each of the accused was also ordered by the court to pay a fee of Dhs100, with the ruling also stating that they be dismissed them from their jobs and deported from the country after executing the penalty.

Massaad, who left the UAE in 2012, was detained at the Jeddah airport over an alleged $1.5bn fraud case in September last year. He is currently awaiting extradition from Saudi to the UAE under a GCC and Interpol arrest warrant, according to RAKIA.

Read more: Former RAKIA CEO held in Jeddah airport over alleged $1.5bn fraud

Gila Mikadze is reportedly in Switzerland and George Janashia is allegedly in Georgia.

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