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Thu 30 Jul 2009 01:27 AM

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Dubai to free 3 ex-Tamweel property execs on bail

Detentions were part of a series of high-level arrests as gov't aims to root out corruption.

Dubai to free 3 ex-Tamweel property execs on bail
EXECS BAILED: Former Tamweel execs due to be freed on bail shortly.

A Dubai court on Wednesday ordered released on bail three former executives of Islamic mortgage lender Tamweel suspected of embezzlement.Adel al-Shirawi, along with Feras Kalthoum and Saad Abdul-Razak, are expected to be released from jail soon, said a spokesman for the court. Two of the men, who are yet to be charged, have been held for a year.The Tamweel detentions are part of a series of high-level arrests of bankers and property officials in Dubai as the government promises to root out corruption.

Tamweel is the UAE's second largest mortgage lender after Amlak. The two companies are being restructured by the government and could be merged as they suffer from a sharp downturn in real estate prices after the global financial crisis.

Shares in both troubled lenders have been suspended since last year and would only resume trading on the Dubai bourse once the government unveils the new structure.

Tamweel removed Shirawi from his post as chief executive in September 2008, a day after Dubai sovereign fund Istithmar World dismissed him as vice-chairman and removed him as a board director, following the launch of an investigation on the alleged charges which include breach of trust.

Kalthoum was head of investments at Tamweel and chief financial officer at Istithmar World, a unit of state-owned Dubai World and the largest shareholder in Tamweel.

"We had requested the suspects' release on bail as there was no justification for their arrest," the executives' lawyer Habib al-Mulla said after Wednesday's hearing, which was the first in the case. The court will keep their passports, he said.

Abdul-Razak, a former Tamweel board member, was dismissed in January 2009 and has been held since October 2008 in relation to a corruption probe into Deyaar Development PJSC .

He was also the former CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank and a director at Investment Corporation of Dubai, another sovereign fund which controls some of its biggest companies. (Reuters)

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