Taking a loan from a bank in the UAE and then decamping to another country are tricks that a few residents have tried over the past several years. Little do they realize that the proverbial long arm of the law can reach them even beyond this country’s borders.
Bassam (name changed), an Asian expat in the UAE before, discovered this the hard way. For several years, Bassam moved from one job to another, unable to prove himself in any one of them.
His final job in the country was at a luxury hotel in a neighbouring municipality. While working there, Bassam leased a studio flat and lived there.
One summer after returning from a vacation in his home country, Bassam had a plan. He wanted to go back to his own country, but he needed to make money quickly. So, he applied for a bank loan. Once it was given to him, he remitted a big portion of the loan money to his bank account in his own country. Bassam thought to himself, “This time, I’ll return to my home country to settle there for good. I’ll not delay this for more than a month.”
Within the next month, he sold the furniture in his flat, withdrew the remaining amount of his loan money from his UAE account, and – one fine day – he left this country. On the day he flew out, Bassam left his rented car and its keys in the airport parking lot. He didn’t bother to return the money that he had borrowed from his co-workers at the hotel.
Bassam’s plan was to invest the money – he no longer saw it as a loan, though – in a food items shop. The shop was set up, and Bassam felt safe and settled. But after a few months, the bank from which he took the loan filed a police complaint, since the loan was not being settled. The complaint went to the Interpol, via the Ministry of Interior of the UAE.
The complaint was against several debt dodgers, and Bassam’s name appeared in the list. One day, in Bassam’s own country, officers of the Criminal Investigation Department knocked on his door. He was taken to a police station for questioning and then he was presented with the accusation that he had taken a loan in the UAE and then fled the country with no intention of paying it back.
He confessed to this offense without much resistance, admitting that he had used the loan money to buy a house, a car, and to set up a shop in his own country.
The extradition case
Following his confession, he was formally charged and court proceedings were set in motion. The judge ruled that Bassam’s properties should be sold to repay the loan. His family sold Bassam’s house, car, and shop to the first buyers who’d take them. But because this was panic selling, they didn’t get the right price, and the sale proceeds weren’t enough for the loan.
So, now the family had to sell some of its own properties as well just to pay in full amount. After this, the court decided that Bassam should be extradited to the UAE to serve a one-year prison sentence, and then he’d deported back to his home country. And so it was done. Bassam came back, a broken man, someone with a criminal record. He was back to square one: someone with no employment, struggling to establish himself. His life is a lesson for the youth who squander away their best years.