Former Deyaar chief Shahin's 15-year jail term over Dh56m land deal upheld

DUBAI // Former Deyaar chief executive Zack Shahin and three others will have to see out their 15-year jail terms for theft and fraud involving more than Dh56 million over a land deal in 2007 after Dubai Court of Cessation upheld their sentences.

A Dh56m fine was also upheld against the four men as well as an order to repay the same amount to the Dubai property company. Five other men thought to be involved had been found not guilty of aiding and abetting.

Shahin, a 56-year-old American businessman, and the other men, including three former Deyaar executives, had denied deceiving the company into paying an inflated price for a plot of land in Houston, Texas, in November 2007, and embezzling Dh56.3m from the deal.

On July 30, 2012, Dubai prosecutors submitted original documents notarised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Washington DC as well as UAE authorities. They included details of the activity of the two escrow accounts of American National Title Company at Amegy Bank of Texas during December 2007. The accounts are where the money for the plot was transferred.

The documents also included a report issued by Dubai Financial Audit Department dated May 16, 2012.

Shahin was arrested and imprisoned in 2008 during an investigation into financial irregularities while he was head of Deyaar. He went on hunger strike on May 14, 2012, and was released in July the same year on Dh5m bail. He attempted to flee the country but was arrested in Yemen and brought back to a UAE detention centre.

Shahin and the three other Americans will be deported after serving their jail terms.

salamir@thenational.ae