A French software engineer, found guilty of bouncing an AED850,000 (US$230,000) cheque in 2007, is urging authorities in Dubai to reopen his case in a bid to reclaim the money he claims is rightfully his.
Djamel Amalou, who claims the cheque was stolen and forged by his former business partner following a dispute, is appealing for police in the emirate to send the cheque to an independent forgery expert for review.
“I have been challenging the police to review this case since 2008. I have submitted hundreds of applications to have the cheque returned to me and sent to an independent expert because it is not a legitimate bank note,” he told Arabian Business.
“The whole experience has been a nightmare; it is illegal money that has become legitimate,” he added.
Amalou was sentenced to six years in jail for bouncing a cheque – a criminal offence in the UAE – but saw his sentence reduced to six months on appeal. The French national was forced to hand over the money, held at the time in a bond at a Dubai court, to his former business partner in order to escape his prison term. He has been contesting the case ever since.
The HSBC Premier account cheque had been written and voided during a separate transaction before it was taken and forged, said Amalou.
“The cheque had two crosses through it with void written through the middle. The cheque disappeared and became AED850,000, which was then presented to the bank.
“The cheque I wrote was in blue ink for AED20,000 but when it [was given to the bank] all of the blue ink had disappeared and everything was written in black. It also had many scratches on it,” he said.
In a court report the General Department of Forensic Science said the cheque had not been forged nor the amount mentioned altered. But an independent laboratory in Abu Dhabi, which specialises in handwriting and ink analysis, confirmed the signature was forged.
“There are no more further legal rights [for me] to follow… the case is technically closed but for me there is no case closed. The authorities in Dubai must review this investigation. The cheque is with the prosecutor’s office… I just want an independent expert to review the original cheque.”
Following a request for comment from Arabian Business, a spokesperson for Dubai Police said that the statute of limitations, the time frame for the enforcement of a civil claim, “will not hold any legal power” if the case is over seven years old.
HSBC Middle East did not respond to a request for comment.