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Arrest warrant likely for Saudi national conman

Amira Agarib & &dhanusha Gokulan
Filed on September 9, 2012

The police are expected to issue an arrest warrant for the Saudi conman responsible for the carefully planned sub-letting scheme that may have left hundreds of Dubai residents homeless.

According to sources in the police, seven more affected tenants have lodged complaints at the Jebel Ali Police Station against the Saudi national fugitive who duped over 400 residents of their rent money.

Tenants meet regarding Al Shamyana scam in Al Thayal 1, Greens, Dubai. — KT photo by Grace Guino

About 50 tenants gathered for a meeting on Saturday at Al Thayyal 1, Greens. Most of them were angry and were confused as to what their next step should be. Some said that they were relieved about not being lone victims in the scam. However, most of them have decided to lodge complaints with the police since they feel that it is the best way out.

Initial investigation by the police revealed that the Saudi suspect contacted victims over the Internet, made phone calls and scheduled meetings with them between August 20 and 27. Prior to his escape, the conman, who identified himself as Haitham Mahmoud Al Kouatly, aka Sam, met his victims at Tecom and collected cheques from them. Some tenants said that he send his secretary to their residences to collect the cheques. Police revealed that he might have fled the country on August 27 after cashing the cheques. His current whereabouts are unknown.

According to the source at the police, from the complaints registered at the police station it is believed that between August 23 and 26 a British woman paid him Dh90,000, a British of Indian origin paid him Dh95,000, an American paid him Dh91,000 and a Finnish national paid him Dh100,000. The police are expecting more people to lodge complaints. It is estimated that Al Koulaty may have embezzled more than 3.5 million dirhams in the sub-letting scheme.

More than 400 people claim to have been cheated by Al Kouatly. Victims have been voicing their concerns on social networking websites like Facebook and Expatwoman.com. They are now facing possible eviction and disconnection of their Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) bills. Most tenants are now worried about forcible eviction.

 

‘Koulaty was a &smooth talker’

It is not just tenants who have been victimised by Al Koulaty’s scheme. Landlords of various properties too were caught in his devious web. One such landlord ,who spoke to Khaleej Times, said: “I had rented my apartment in Downtown Burj to Shamyana Entertainment after they contacted me through an advertisement I placed on a website.

“Haitam was a very smooth talker. He told me that he owned a lot of companies in Dubai and he needed my apartment to lease to one of his staff members. When, I looked up on their website, I was satisfied with what I saw and received his trade licence and passport copy.

“Since the contract was to be in his company’s name it was not required for me to take the actual occupant’s passport copy.”

He added: “My lease is due to expire in October and when I got to know about this scam, I went over to my apartment to meet the tenant as I didn’t know who lived there. I was surprised to find a person who knew fully well that the apartment has been sublet to him and he was happy with the arrangement as he knew that the current rate for single bedrooms in Downtown was around Dh85,000 but that he was only paying Dh65,000 including utilities.”

 

UAE rental laws

According to Law No 26, Article 8, 2007 Regulating Relationship Between Landlords and Tenants In The Emirate of Dubai, sublease contract between tenant and subtenant shall expire by expiry of tenancy contract between landlord and tenant, unless landlord expressly agrees on the extension of sublease contract period. The law also states that if the tenant sublease premises, or part thereof, without the landlord’s written approval and in such case eviction shall be applicable to subtenant, and his right to refer to tenant for compensation shall be reserved.

amira@khaleejtimes.com

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com


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