After a very long and drawn out battle at the courts the criminals won! That's the outcome of a two and a half year battle which one of the car fraud victims, described earlier, fought and lost. She lost to the infamous 4X4 Motors Showroom in Dubai which is known to purchase stolen cars from criminals. And not only did the victim lose her car and spent over 20,000 Dirhams in court fees but apparently the company 4x4 Motors now is claiming losses from the victim. The loss of what you may ask? The loss of the value of the stolen car which had been sitting at the 4x4 Motors for the past two and a half years. That's right. The criminals are unhappy because the stolen car which they purchased under the market value has depreciated over the course of the court battle so therefore they are not profiting as much as they would under normal conditions where the victim does not bother taking them to court.
This was the fate of one of the cases described below and it is also the result of pursuing such cases through the normal legal channels.
This is a prime example of the deficiency in the U.A.E. legal system. This system is incapable of protecting its residents from professional criminals who are continuing to rob the local residents in an organized manner.
The lesson that can be learned from this is to not bother with the courts nor the public prosecution department. The reason is because they are not competent enough nor have the correct laws to deal with professionally organized criminals. The victim will lose even more by taking this route.
One of the victims detected this problem early on and decided to pursue her case using a different route. That route, to appeal to Sheikh Mohammed himself.
Referring to the blog entries earlier, she had been called in by the advisor to the Attorney General in March 2007 and was told that Sheikh Mohammed's office had ordered them to look into this case. After passing her file around the public prosecution and essentially playing ping pong with it for about nine months that department has finally decided that they would grant her a meeting with the Attorney General himself.
However, she has also been granted a meeting with the Deputy Director of the Security Department of Sheikh Mohammed's office, to whom she intends to describe the role of the police department in all of this.
Well here is another example of this ongoing crime in Dubai. Contrary to what Colonel Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, the Acting Director of Dubai Police's Criminal Investigation Department states, this type of crime HAS become a phenomena in Dubai and it is WIDE SPREAD.
Adventures at the Dubai Prosecution Department continued...
So we left off at the second prosecutor stating that ""I have to check with my boss to see if I can look into this case or not." This was his answer after three months of being allocated the task of looking into the case.
Continuing on he was contacted a few days later and he said he now has been given another very very important case to look at and he doesn't have time to look any other case until his VERY important case is finished. That bought him another 3 weeks.
Going back to the adviser to the Attorney General the victim was told that the adviser would meet with the Attorney General about this case again and decide what to do next.
She called him back in a week to find out what happened. Alas! the adviser has left the country for the rest of the month of Ramadhan!!!
It's been exactly six months since this adviser promised to help resolve this case as it was an order from the Sheikh's office. So much for the Sheikh's order...
According to Sheikh Mohammed himself, "The following departments rated highest in terms of employee satisfaction: Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone, Dubai Airport Authority and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. The worst are the Department of Justice, Dubai Development Board and Dubai Ship Docking Yard (Al Jadaf)." This is part of his speech at the Dubai Government Excellence Programme Awards ceremony on April 19th 2005. You can read it here.
It's been over five months since the Attorney General's office received direct orders from the Ruler's court to investigate these linked cases and re-prosecute the criminals and bring justice to the victims. Alas! Still no results!
Let's look at the events that have occurred at the Prosecution Department in the past five months.
1. The Attorney General's adviser met with one of the victims and promised to help her with the case. He spent an hour apologizing then justifying the fact that for the past two years the previous prosecutors had not prosecuted nor investigated the cases properly.
2. A month later the victim called the adviser to find out if anything had been done. She was told to call in a week as the adviser was busy.
3. The victim decided to meet the adviser in person to find out what had happened since their last meeting. So she did. And the adviser basically repeated what he had said during the last meeting over a month ago. During this second meeting she was told by the adviser that the case will be handed over to the chief prosecutor and he will decide what to do about it.
4. The victim came back a third time a few days later to present more data and information about the cases to the adviser. She was told that the chief prosecutor has reviewed the cases and is not interested in following it up and that he would hand it over to a different prosecutor who seems to be interested.
5. Three months had passed since the first meeting with the adviser. The case was on the second prosecutor's desk waiting for the his return from the summer holidays.
6. Upon his return the victim followed up and was told the second prosecutor has reviewed the case and needs to discuss it with the adviser. And guess where the adviser was?? On HIS summer holiday!
7. Upon the adviser's return the victim followed up again and was told that the second prosecutor is covering for the chief prosecutor. And guess where the chief prosecutor was?? On HIS summer holiday!
8. Upon the chief prosecutor's return the victim followed up yet again and was told that the second prosecutor is sick, and to call back in a few days.
9. So she did and she finally got to speak to the second prosecutor directly. Guess what she was told?? The second prosecutor who was allegedly interested and assigned to the task of investigating the victim's case said, "I have to check with my boss to see if I can look into this case or not." !!!!
It's been four months since the Attorney General's office received direct orders from the Ruler's court to investigate these linked cases and re-prosecute the criminals and bring justice to the victims. Alas! Still no results! The chief prosecutor has studied the cases again but has shown no interest in pursuing the matter. The cases have been handed over to the first prosecutor who had taken on one of the cases two and a half years ago, however, he is now waiting for the advisor to the Attorney General to return from his month long summer holiday.
Meanwhile, one of the local daily newspapers, Emirates Today, was contacted to report this problem. Upon examining the history of these ongoing criminal activities they claimed that they had never come across such serious criminal activity in Dubai before.
This diagram describes the relation between the Dubai Traffic Department, the criminal gangs, and the used auto dealers. Through extensive investigation by the victims it has been concluded that the DTD is at the core of these fraudulent auto sales transactions. Without the collaboration of various DTD officers the criminal gang members would never be able to pass the fake vehicle documents through the rigorous security checks set up at the Dubai Traffic Department. Once the fake vehicle ownerships are transferred to a real person the car is then presented to a "friendly" used auto dealership who will gladly pay a nominal price for the "laundered" automobile. This entire leg of the criminal activity is never investigated by the police nor the public prosecution. The victims are sent on a goose chase by the judiciary insisting that the whole issue is a cheque case while the criminals laugh their way to the bank. And this is the method used by the three groups to steal millions of Dirhams from ordinary UAE residents every year, rather legally. To date no one has ever been able to retrieve their car nor their money from this system.
Amazingly enough on the day following the previous post, March 27th, one of the victims was contacted by the Dubai Attorney General's office and was informed that her case is being dealt with as per the request of the Ruler's Court. It seems that the appeal has worked! She was asked to go back to the Prosecution Office and explain the entire event, which she did. Apparently, the other cases are NOT being dealt with directly by the Attorney General.
In Case #4, the Lebanese couple were told by the judge to place an ad in the paper and announce that Saeb Khazar Saleh should appear in court as a witness. Interestingly enough, he is wanted by the case above and that is why he is in hiding. Upon placing the ad in the paper, the next morning the brother of the Lebanese woman found his brand new car vandalized in such a way that the police immediately told the brother that he has an enemy. The lebanese brother told the police about the ad in the paper and the police said that very likely the culprit is a friend of Saeb Khazer Saleh and they are trying to scare the family.
After the ad was placed in the local paper, a court date was set and as expected Saeb did not show up. The judge has set ANOTHER court date and obviously Saeb will not show up and the nightmare will continue for the Lebanese family.
Finaly, an interesting development has occured in regards to the three other cases involving Hadi Omar Saeed. The cases 7, 8 and 9 are the three that are reported in this blog and can be found below. According to the Gulf News Hadi Omar Saeed has been caught. But who will compensate the tens of victims whom he has swindled is unknown. The full story is here.
Studying the cases below one will immediately conclude that a mafia is at work in Dubai and 4x4 Motors Showroom seems to be involved. The group uses fake cheques to purchase cars from expats and immediately resells them to either 4x4 Motors or exports them to Russia or Saudi Arabia. There method of operation is defined in the posts below. After two years of investigation and trials, in a set of five cases three of the mafia members have been sentenced to prison yet the cars have not been returned to their rightful owners.
The three criminals are:
1. Fazel Abbas Ebrahim (Bahraini) (Served 1 year and deported back to Bahrain) 2. Ali Al Rabian (Saudi Arabian) (Served 1 year and held in jail for indefinate period) 3. Saeb Khader Saleh (Iraqi) (on the run)
Mr. Saeb Khader Saleh is wanted by the police to serve 1 month in jail for one of the cases but he has disappeared. He is also wanted by a civil judge to testify in another linked case.
He is the owner of Mona Showroom located in Sharjah, U.A.E.
The owners of the cars have been told numerous times by various people that the only person who can help release the cars from 4x4 Motors showroom is Sheikh Mohammed.
Since our last posting there has been little progress in the five linked cases. Here are the latest updates:
Cases number 1, 2, and 5 have been completely abandoned by the victims because they have no hope in the U.A.E. judicial system.
Case 3, as mentioned in the last posting, has passed the Supreme Courts where the victimized car seller was told that the criminal courts have no judicial authority over the ownership of the car which was fraudulently bought and sold to the 4x4 Motors showroom, a reputable auto dealer in Dubai.
The criminal courts simply issue judgment on the criminals and put them in prison for up to 1 year. In Case 3, two criminals, Fazel Ebrahim served 1 year in prison and was deported back to Bahrain and Saeb Khazer Saleh was sentenced to 1 month in prison.
Mr. Saeb Khazer Saleh, owner of a car dealership in Sharjah has gone into hiding.
The victim in that case was told by the Attorney General to file a civil suit in order to obtain the car or the money, a process which would cost thousands of dollars and an unknown number of years battling at the courts with unpredictable results.
The victim attempted to contact Mr. Fazel Ebrahim in Bahrain but she received a life threatening call back. She immediately contacted her embassy about it and filed a police report.
Case 4 is even more depressing. In this case the Supreme courts also sentenced the criminal and told the cheated car sellers to file a civil suit and try to get the money from the Saudi criminal, Ali Rabian, or the car from the 4x4 Motors Showroom.
After spending thousands of dollars for court and lawyer’s fees and over a year at the courts, the civil courts decided that the Saudi, Ali Rabian, must pay the cheated car sellers but he refuses to pay stating that he lives in the desert and claims innocence. The courts also stated that the 4x4 Motors can keep the fraudulently transferred car.
The original owners then decided to take the case to the Appeal Courts.
Now, Mr. Ali Rabian’s accomplice happens to be Mr. Saeb Khazer Saleh and has been requested by the appeal judge to appear at the Appeal courts. Unfortunately he will not appear since he is wanted in Case 3.
As you can see, the nightmare is continuing without an end in site. The victims have tried many different routes in order to publicize the fiasco and to seek justice. Below are a few of the offices that they have contacted in the U.A.E.
· Human Rights Department · Private Office of Sheikh Mohammad · Ruler’s Court · Zabeel Palace · Al Ameen · Gulf News (newspaper) · Khaleej Times (newspaper) · Emirates Today (newspaper) · 7Days (newspaper) · Abu Rashid Radio · Private Office of Sheikh Hamdan · Radio One Abu Dhabi
Finally the Supreme Court judge signed the judgement and passed it on the prosectution department. The final judgement stated that the second criminal goes to jail for one month and in order for the victims to obtain their car or money they must file a civil suit at the civil courts. The Attorney General refuses to return the car to its rightful owner and maintains that the victims and the 4x4 Motors must fight it out at the civil courts. It's interesting that in similar cases where the seller was in the U.K. the same Attorney General had taken cars from buyers in the U.A.E. and returned it to cheated sellers in the U.K. but he will not do that if the cheated sellers are in the U.A.E.!!!
"DUBAI — A Dubai Police official played down complaints by individuals whose luxury cars were said to have been seized by police following reports that they entered the country illegally three months ago.
The cars in question are suspected to have been stolen in European countries and shipped to the UAE to be sold.
Complaints were lodged with the Attorney General’s Office who ordered the cars be returned to their owners here, but police insist the orders were issued by the local Interpol office and that they remain with police till investigations are completed.
The official disclosed that these cases were not restricted to Dubai, but there are also similar cases in other emirates.
The official stressed that contrary to claims and rumours, the cases are not many. He admitted that these cases were under investigation.
But car owners are worried about the fate of their vehicles for which they paid huge amounts of money.
“They (car owners) have to resort to the courts to file civil cases against the car showrooms from which they bought the cars. People have to ensure that the cars imported from outside the UAE are not wanted by the Interpol. Those who have documents that prove the cars in question are not wanted by the Interpol can approach us with the documents and get their cars back,” said the official.
But the owners argue that the cars were registered legally and there were no claims against the vehicles.
One owner, speaking on a local radio station, said he had bought a car in June, insured it and registered it officially. But before the holy month of Ramadan, he was summoned by police for assisting in the investigations.
“Dubai Police follow up with the Interpol cases of stolen cars that are brought to the local markets,” added the official.
Some car owners paid over Dh300,000 for second-hand cars. They say the law should protect the buyer since the cars in question entered the country and were registered after satisfying all regulations. The Public Prosecutor’s office issued an order on December 18, 2004 regarding the cars stolen in European countries. The cars were ordered returned to their owners here but they continue to be earmarked for seizure till further official requests are received from countries claiming the cars to be stolen. In some cases, the cars were returned to the owners who bought them here, but sometime later, police seized them again. There have also been question marks on the lengthy process at civil courts and how the court will deal with owners of car showrooms involved in selling the cars. "
On December 25th, 2006 the Supreme Judge finally made his judgement. However, it took two weeks for the courts to type up the judgement then the judgement had to be revised and retyped and then the judge's signature was necessary. BUT, he was on vacation!! So more waiting...Two weeks after his return and the judgement is still not ready to be passed back to the prosecution department.
It is now almost twenty one months since the crime took place, the criminals were found, the car was found and impounded, the criminals tried, found guilty and served their sentences, HOWEVER, the Dubai authorities still have not returned the car to its rightful owner.
This is the latest update of the cases described below. The five linked cases had been reported to the Dubai authorities on May 21st, 2005. Three of the five cars have been located. Many of the criminals involved have been found and three have been prosecuted and found guilty. One culprit was sentenced to one year in prison. Another was tried and found guilty. He was sentenced to one month in prison. He then appealed the case but lost. The case is now at the supreme courts.
Ninenteen months have gone by, however, the original owners are still awaiting the release of their cars.
The reasons why this kind of crime is so prevalent in Dubai are, at least, the following:
These cars are easily and immediately transferred through the Dubai Traffic Department using fake documents. The final owner then claims legal ownership of the car.
Upon reporting the cases to the police department the cars are not immediately tracked nor placed on a blacklist as expected.
Despite the fact that all the cases are interlinked the prosecution and the courts insist that the cases must be dealt with separately.
Every case is considered a stand alone cheque related case and not part of an organized crime and therefore the original owner must file a civil suit in order to obtain the money or the car. In effect a criminal case is washed by being handed over to the civil courts.
Almost all the victims never file a civil suit because of the high court fees and the lengthy court procedures and therefore drop the issue all together.
The rare occasion when one of the gang members is convicted for such a crime, he serves a nominal time in prison and then freed to continue the crime.
To demonstrate, here is an example of several linked cases.
This is the detailed story about the Fraud case that has happened with me while selling my Car on 2nd Oct 2005 night.
Below are the details of this tragic incident:
I gave an Advertisement in the Gulf News on 2nd Oct 05 in Classified to sell my car (Nissan Maxima 3.0GV Model 1999 – Dubai Reg No: B 37549).
I received call on the same day from Mr. Ahmed (He called himself as Ahmed but I did not confirm his identity), saying that he wants to see my car and buy immediately on the same day if he likes it. He also said that he will give me a cheque that I can cash next day morning.
He came and checked my car at around on 2nd Oct and agreed to buy the car for AED: 29000 for Mr. Aouz Abdullah Ali who was also with him.
We went to the shop in Karama and had signed a car sales agreement (Under the supervision of: Carica Cars Showroom car dealer) on Sunday 2nd October 2005 at about (Car Sales Agreement copy is attached).
Immediately after signing sales agreement, (Mr. Aouz Abdullah Ali) signed the cheque in front of my eyes and gave me a Union National Bank Cheque under account name of Hadi Omar Saeed (cheque is attached with this application), to be cashed next day and then we planned to go togather to transfer the car registration to his name on 3rd Oct 05.
Note that Mr. Aouz wrote Cash in my sales agreement by cheating although he agreed to give a cheque not Cash but as the contract was in Arabic I could not identify this fraud.
NO Cash was given to me at all by Mr. Aouz until now. Also I suspect the car showroom dealer might also be involved in this fraud (I am not 100% sure) as he did not ask me a single question about the deal or mode of payment. He did not even ask me if I have received the payment before signing the agreement.
The car possession was given to Mr. Aouz and Mr. Ahmed at the same time in good condition without any remaining Fines, due to urgent requirements from the buyer as he said that he wanted to show the car to his family on the same day and renovate the car immediately in a workshop.
Initially I refused to accept the cheque and give him my car until transfer of car registration is completed but he kept forcing me to give my car to him and not to worry about the payment as the person buying (Mr. Aouz) also works for police, so I trusted him and gave him my car.
What forced me to Trust Mr. Ahmed was that he had a long beard and appeared to be very religious. He showed to me as if he is a Mandoob for a very rich Local Sheikh Family and who immediately want to buy this car for their Son (21 years old) working in Abu Dhabi Air Force. I trusted him and he cheated me.
Late that night (2nd Oct 2005) Mr. Ahmed called me saying not to cash the Cheque from UNB bank next day as he will bring the cash and we will go to transfer the car registration at Al-Bursha Tasjeel. I kept calling him on 3rd Oct but he did not come at all and on 3rd Oct 2005 night when I called Ahmed, he told me go to UNB Bank, Sheikh Zayed road branch and cash the cheque next day on 4th Oct 2005 morning and then later that day we will transfer car registration.
I went to the UNB Bank on 4th Oct 2005 morning at 9:30am to cash the cheque but it was REJECTED due to no amount in the account (Copy of Cheque and bank memo is attached).
I kept calling Mr. Ahmed on his mobile (050-6919104 and 050-2165012) all the day on 4th Oct 2005 and he kept promising to come to me with cash several times but he never came. Last time I spoke with Mr. Ahmed at his mobile 050-2165012 was on 4th Oct 2005 at around and he promised to come to me within 30 mins with cash but he never came and later on switched OFF his mobile. I have an audio clip that was recorded using my mobile between me and Ahmed on 4th Oct 2005 in which he is saying that he is coming to me after Iftaar with the cash but he never did.
He kept lying to me throughout on 1st Ramadan (i.e., 4th Oct 2005) and kept saying he is brining the cash but he never did.
At this point I strongly suspected that the Mr. Ahmed and Mr. Aouz Abdullah Ali have cheated me and decided to go to the police the very next morning.
I went to Bur Dubai Traffic Police department (in Barsha) on 5th Oct 2005 early morning, who could not help me and suggested me to go to Bur Dubai Police Station (near TradeCenter). I immediately went to Bur Dubai Police Station, Crime investigation section and met Mr. Abdullah who did initial investigations and told me that the person has already transferred Car Registration to his name without even telling me!!! He also told me that police is searching for the victim for past few months. He suggested me to go to Al-Rafaa police station Crime Investigation as the incident happened in Karama. I went there but CID could not help me much and suggested to file a complaint in the Cheque Fraud section. Currently I am in the process of collecting necessary documents from Bank and my company to file a Fraud Cheque case at Al-Rafaa Police Station.
I reported this problem to Dubai Police (at Rafaa Police Station) in Oct 2005 hoping that they can help me in this situation and help me either recover my Car in the same condition or the AED: 29000 money from Buyer that he owes me for buying my Car, but no luck so far.
After a couple of months I was called by Dubai Police to see (Mr. Aouz Abdullah Ali) under whose name my car ownership was transferred, I was told to see him behind a window and identify if he is the person who Signed the agreement but I confirmed that it was not him. Mr. Aouz also said that he is not aware or involved in this fraud and never signed any sales agreement with me or gave me any checque. He is a friend of Hadi Omar Saeed (The Fraud), who actually signed the sales agreement and gave me the fake checque, had to give him about 30,000 Dhs, so instead of giving the money Omer gave him my car.
I said to police that if Mr. Aouz did not sign the sales agreement or gave me the cheque then how come he is keeping my car, as the the buyer confirms that he did not sign the sales agreement which makes the sales agreement illegal. Secondly, howcome Hadi had his original driving license of Mr. Aouz while signing the sales agreement with me. This must be their planned act. The police said that they will investigate and will contact me. Since then I have not progress from Police. I can’t believe that such a simple case cannot be resolved by Police! I tried following up with the police few times after that but no luck.
On 8th October I found the following article that was published in local news in “7 Days” on 12th Sept, where it says that Police is hunting a man who allegedly bought 58 second-hand cars with cheques that bounced. Hadi Omar Saeed, 30, has already served six-months in prison for cheque fraud, and was released just two months ago:
Below you will find a series of closely interlinked cases. The gang members' names appear repeatedly. Two sets of cheque books were used to draw four of the cheques. Three of the cars have been sold to the 4 X 4 Showroom in Dubai.
Here are the details of the five cases:
Type of Car: Mitsubishi Galant 2004
Chassis #: JMYSREA2A4Z704157
Buyer’s Real Name: Fazel Ebrahim (Bahraini)
Introduces himself as Mohammad
Cheque amount: 36,000 AED
Date of Cheque:26/04/2005
Bank: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
Owner of Cheque: Plus Point Building Material
Traffic Department: Al Barsha
Exported to: Abu Dhabi
Export date: 26/04/2005
Transferred to: Hazem Mohammad Ahmad Afifi
Transfer date: 27/04/2005
Exported to: Saudi Arabia
Type of Car: Audi A3 2002
Chassis #: WAUMA48L32AO54486
Buyer’s Real Name: W.S. (Jordanian)
Introduces himself as Samer
Buyer’s Real Name: Ali Al Rabian (Saudi)
Introduces himself as Mohammad (PRO)
Cheque amount:40,000 AED
Date of Cheque: 08/05/2005
Bank: Union National Bank
Owner of Cheque: Svetlana Erimbetova (Uzbekistan)
Traffic Department:Al Barsha
Exported to: Abu Dhabi
Export date: 08/05/2005
Transferred to: B. N. A. (Syrian)
Transfer date: 09/05/2005
Exported to: Russia
Result: The Saudi has been sentenced to 6 months in jail. The owner has abandoned the case because she is afraid of retribution by the gang if she continues.
Type of Car: Mercedes Benz 2004
Chassis #: WDB1704441F303393
Buyer’s Real Name: Fazel Ebrahim (Bahraini)
Introduces himself as Samir
Buyer’s Real Name: S. K. S. (Iraqi)
Later known as George
Cheque amount: 110,000 AED
Date of Cheque: 15/05/2005
Bank: Union National Bank
Owner of Cheque: Svetlana Erimbetova (Uzbekistan)
Traffic Department:Al Aweer
Transferred to: United Metal Supply
Transfer date: 14/05/2005
Transferred to: B. N. A. (Syrian)
Exported to: Abu Dhabi
Export date: 16/05/2005
Sold to: 4X4 Motors
Transferred to: Abdollah Yousef (4X4 Employee)
Sale date: 22/05/2005
Sale Price:65,000 AED
Result: The Bahraini is serving 1 year in prison and the Iraqi is pending judgement.
Type of Car: Toyota Prado 2004
Chassis #: JTEAU25J140001391
Buyer’s Real Name: W.S. (Jordanian)
Introduces himself as Walid Al Bahraini
Buyer’s Real Name:Ali Al Rabian (Saudi)
Introduces himself as Ahmad (PRO)
Cheque amount: 104,000 AED
Date of Cheque: 28/05/2005
Bank: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
Owner of Cheque:Al Rabian Electronics
Traffic Department:Al Qusais
Transferred to: S. K. S. (Iraqi)
Transfer date: 28/05/2005
Exported to: Sharjah
Sold to: 4X4 Motors
Sale date: 28/05/2005
Sale Price:94,000 AED
Result: The Saudi is sentenced to one year in prison for cheating. The judge has not made a judgement regarding the car. The judge is awaiting information from 4x4 Motors about the Iraqi who sold the car to 4x4 Motors. (Note that the same Iraqi is already involved in case #3 and has been attending court hearings and is awaiting judgement.)