Attempt to steal Dh635 million from UAE bank thwarted

gang of 44 asians and europeans

ABU DHABI 18 June 2017: The Public Funds Prosecution in Abu Dhabi, in co-operation with the Criminal Investigation Department, has foiled a plot to steal over Dh635 million from the account of one of the banks operating in the country, using information technology tools.

The two agencies have been co-ordinating with the Central Bank of the UAE for 24 hours to recover Dh635 million. They have also arrested 38 individuals of Asians and Europeans and are working towards arresting six others.

Counsellor Ali Mohammed Al Baloushi, Attorney-General of Abu Dhabi, stressed that it was possible to prevent the crime due to the co-ordination among the concerned authorities. He praised the quick response of the teams, which proves their high efficiency and readiness in establishing security.

He added that the foiling of this attempt confirms the exceptional stature of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in the world competitiveness index as one of the most favoured destinations for residency and investments on the regional and global levels.

Electronic Crime

Al Baloushi clarified that the accused individuals are facing charges under the Federal Penal Code No. 7 for the year 2016, and the Federal Executive Order No. 5 for the year 2012 regarding electronic crimes. He said, according to the latest amendments to the penal code, the bank’s money is considered public fund once the federal or local government contributes to its capital completely or partially.

In the details of the case, one of the banks reported an unusual withdrawal from one of the accounts at the Central Bank. The Public Funds Prosecution subsequently ordered to freeze the money that was illegally withdrawn. The investigations concluded that one of the employees logged into the bank’s electronic system using the password of another employee, which was given to them, and it was used to transfer different amounts of money, totalling AED635 million, to the accounts of five companies in five different banks.

The execution of this operation to steal the money started through an order to transfer the money during the morning when the electronic system was opened. But these movements were detected after a warning about the lack of required credit in the affected bank account. Due to the early time of the transfer, the process restarted after the flow of money into the account began.

By tracking the transferred amounts of money, it became obvious that these amounts were transferred to several branch companies of five major companies, whose headquarters are scattered across different emirates of the country. The investigations also discovered the presence of a gang that has attempted to connect bank employees with these major companies, and connected the major companies with other branches in exchange for a percentage of the amount for each party.

The Public Funds Prosecution issued a directive to seize and freeze the money in the accounts they were transferred into, in addition to issuing an order to seize 6,000 mobile phones whose value reached around AED10 million, purchased with the stolen money.

By Rajive Singh