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11 in Dhs7m Bitcoin scam arraigned
by HAMZA M. SENGENDO June 13, 2018
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DUBAI: Four men who battered and robbed twins of Dhs7m after summoning them to finalise a Bitcoin deal appeared in court on Tuesday with seven accomplices.

The Arab mastermind, 43, cohort, 40, sales executive, 33, and Asian visitor, 40, mugged the Indian victim, 28, and his brother, 28, inside an office in Al Khabaisi on April 25, the Criminal Court heard.

They threatened to assault them with a razor. They grabbed Dhs7m from them along with an iPhone and a Samsung mobile phone and fled, according to their complaints at Al Muraqqabat Police Station.

An Asian driver, 30, an alleged Bitcoin dealer, 34, a mobilizer, 38, a deals negotiator, 37, his aide, 57, a broker, 26, and a businessman, 55, were charged with aiding them and abetting the robbery. 

Prosecution records showed the businessman owned an office. He rented it to the gang to use it in the theft. He also offered them to use his personal car to access the building’s parking.

The driver took charge of transporting them. The Bitcoin dealer met the victim and convinced him he had digital currencies for sale at Dhs7m. He rather summoned to the gang to raid the office.

The mobilizer and broker were tasked with searching for people in need of Bitcoins so they could assault and rob them. Both contacted the negotiator, and his aide (who posed as the dealer’s assistant).

In court all Asians defendants denied. The Arab mastermind, cohort and sales executive confessed to theft but denied assault, threatening and carrying any weapon. The mastermind said the Asian visitor “was with us.”

Records showed police seized Dhs3,683,830. Prosecutors demanded the toughest penalty applicable. Lawyers asked for time to prepare. Judge Sheikha Hamad Al Ghafli deferred the hearing till Jul.8.

On the record, the victim who had an interest in Bitcoins contacted a broker asking for 200 Bitcoins. They agreed on Dhs7m and set an appointment. He contacted his brother to bring the sum for the transaction.

He and his brother arrived at the office around 8pm, met the gang members and agreed to buy each coin at around Dhs34,000. The dealer asked to first see the money. He saw it, walked out and made a phone call.

Shortly after he had returned inside the office four men made their way in claiming they were CID personnel from Interpol and that Bitcoin dealings were illegal in the UAE thus the transaction was against the law. They demanded the brothers to hand over the money. Both resisted and requested to call the police or be taken to a police station.

The gang beat them, dragged them into another room, threatened them with the razor and robbed them.

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