Under UAE laws, embezzlement is a fraud or economic crime in which one, two, or more persons betray financial trust. In the entrepreneurial world, it is a necessity that you entrust financial responsibilities to partners, employees and agents by banking on their honesty.
However, it is not uncommon for one to betray another’s trust regarding financial responsibilities. In other cases, individuals might find themselves victims of framed embezzlement allegations.
This article outlines the most appropriate action when defending oneself against false embezzlement allegations including the selection of the right law firm In the UAE. Read on to discover more.
The Relevant Anti-Embezzlement Laws in the UAE
Depending on the circumstances surrounding each case, embezzlement can be either a felony or misdemeanor in the United Arabs Emirates. For anyone to be charged with the offence, it must be proved that the accused does not hold any proprietary interest in the property or money in question.
In other instances, embezzlement can be classified as a fraud, attracting a variety of penalties, including fines, prison time, and restitution orders. Under Article 404 of the Federal Penal Code, embezzlement is classified as a crime of breach of trust.
Breach of trust happens when a person embezzles, uses or dissipates documents, money, or any other movable asset with the motive to cause harm to its rights owners when the assets are handed over to such persons by way of rent, deposit, loan for use, pledge, or agency.
There is a thin but clear line between fraud and embezzlement/breach of trust. An act or omission is fraudulent when the perpetrator uses fraudulent maneuvers. On the other hand, embezzlement occurs when the perpetrator is already a trustee in fiduciary capacity.
How To Build a Defense Against False Embezzlement Charges
To prove embezzlement, the prosecution holds the onus of proving that the act was perpetrated with an intention to deceive and obtain financial benefits. The prosecution scrutinizes evidence of actions such as falsification of receipts or invoices, false theft allegations, and use of embezzled funds.
The UAE Federal Penal Code requires that the accused be presumed innocent until proven guilty of the offense. As such, a criminal penalty cannot be imposed until guilt is proved as per the laws of the land.
Proof of evidence has to be strong and well established. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution. In the absence of clear and well-established evidence, the charges can be successfully challenged.
If you or your loved one has been slammed with false embezzlement charges, it is advisable that you seek professional counsel from a seasoned criminal law attorney in the UAE.
Types of False Accusations
Whenever there is insufficient evidence to support the charges or determine whether the allegations are true or false, the accusations are often termed as unfounded or unsubstantiated.
False allegations can be divided into three categories:
- Completely false allegations, where the claimed events did not occur
- Partially true and partially false allegations, where there is a mix up of events that actually happened with those that did not occur
- Allegations describing events that occurred but where the perpetrator is not the accused, rendering the accused innocent
In the event that you believe the accusations are false, you are entitled to file a complaint in accordance with Article 276 of the Federal Penal Code – Federal Law No. 3 of 1987 as ready with all subsequent amendments.
Steps To Take When Falsely Accused
You might be innocent but oblivious to the necessary procedural requirements for acquittal. Here are the steps that you should take when accused falsely for embezzlement:
- Hire a seasoned criminal lawyer who has handled similar cases in the past
- Understand the seriousness of the allegations and the potential penalties that you might face
- Understand the cost of building up a defense. This covers attorney fees, expert witness fees, and investigation costs.
- Intervene before charges to settle the matter out of court
- Do not take unnecessary action
- Gather any relevant evidence such as documents
- Collect witness contact information
- Professional investigations overseen by both your attorney and the prosecution
- Plea bargain. Innocent people will sometimes enter into plea agreements for lesser charges rather than risking conviction.
Things You Shouldn’t Do
When facing false embezzlement charges, some actions can worsen the situation. Please avoid doing the following:
- Destroying evidence that you think might hurt you
- Talking to the prosecutor, police or investigators in the absence of your lawyer
- Contacting the witnesses or victims
- Consenting to tests requested by the police in the absence of your lawyer
Are you facing false embezzlement charges? Consider contacting experienced professional criminal attorneys in the UAE.