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Wed 14 Dec 2011 04:57 PM

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Armed gang stole $3m cash from Dubai royal aide

London court hears aide was threatened at gunpoint after pick-up from bank

Armed gang stole $3m cash from Dubai royal aide
The money was recovered after the police apprehended the gang

An armed gang stole two suitcases containing £2m ($3m) in cash intended for the Dubai royal family at gunpoint as their aide was loading them into the back of the car, a London court has heard

The money, in £50 bundles, was taken shortly after Abdullah Shakeri collected it from a London branch of Emirates Bank in the wealthy area of Knightsbridge on June 24, he told Isleworth Crown Court.

“The staff had collected the cash from Emirates Bank on behalf of the Dubai royal family, when they were robbed of £2m at gunpoint,” Prosecutor Alexandra Felix was quoted as telling the court by the Daily Mail. “The money was contained in two suitcases which were being placed in a car when the robbery occurred.”

“Mr Shakeri had made arrangements to collect the money. He and the manager went into a room to count the money. The cash was in £50 note bundles, which was placed in suitcases,” he said.

Shakeri, who has worked for the family for six years, said he initially thought the threat was a hoax but quickly realised it was serious when he was threatened for a second time and told to run to a nearby shop or risk being shot.

“I was going to put the second case in the boot of the car when someone came and I heard them say: “Put it down, put it down or I’ll shoot you in the face,” he was quoted as telling the court.

“My back was towards him so I turned round and I saw a young Middle Eastern-looking guy wearing a leather jacket…. He had a gun. I think it was a black automatic handgun. He pointed it at me.”

The armed robber reportedly called for an accomplice before telling Shakeri and the bank’s staff to ‘run to the shop or I’ll shoot you’. We did as we were asked,” he said.

The gang initially got away before three members of the diplomatic protection group spotted a man, Trevor Mair, who fitted one of the descriptions given by Shakeri, just 300ft from where the incident took place.

Johnathon Haynes, driver of the getaway car, was also arrested after police found the two suitcases, complete with money, in the footwell of the car. The money has since been returned to the royals.

The two men deny robbery and having a firearm with intent.

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