Three men are on trial in Dubai accused of forging the signatures of the UAE’s seven rulers on a contract for an $80m loan, according to an Arab newspaper.
The men, two Nigerians and a Jordanian, allegedly cheated an American woman in Ghana out of $1.1m in the elaborate scam, Al Ittihad newspaper reported.
The Dubai Criminal Court heard the woman, a 54-year old chemical engineer, received a phone call in April 2012 offering to broker a gold deal.
After receiving further details she declined the offer but was again approached “about a profitable deal with the UAE government” and asked to prepare an efficiency study.
The woman told the court she completed the study and sent it to the man she had had most contact with and was later told the UAE government had chosen her to carry out the investment and would finance the project with $50m.
She was requested to transfer $50,000 as a consultation starting fee and travel to Dubai to meet with a UAE government representative, which she did.
She said she was picked up from Dubai Airport in a Hummer and taken to an office tower on Sheikh Zayed Road, where she was told the government was “very enthusiastic” about the project and the value of the loan would be increased to $80m if she paid $12,000 for gifts for staff who would seal the deal as well as four laptops.
She claimed she paid the money and was presented with a contract that appeared to include the UAE logo and the signatures of each of the UAE’s seven rulers, including Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi.
She was then allegedly asked to pay $2.4m, 3 percent of the loan value, as a guarantee on the loan. She was unable to pay the full amount but deposited an initial $1.1m and the man purporting to be a government representative offered to cover $1m.
Later, she was told the representative’s cheque had bounced and she needed to send the rest of the money.
She was unable to do so and flew to Dubai again. She told the court she became suspicious when the men ignored her communications for several weeks and requested she go back to her home country.
She said while investigating the men she was contacted by another alleged victim who told her they had both been subjected to the scam.
Police charged two Nigerians, a 40-year old cleaner and a 36-year old hair dresser, and a Jordanian living in Dubai.
The prosecutor told the court the cleaner, who had been the key contact with the victim, admitted to the scam but claimed the trio had received only $700,000 from the alleged victim, of which he received $300,000.
The case has been adjourned until September 10.