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Romanian visitors involved in luring jeweller to Paris and forcing him to give up valuables

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Dubai: Three visitors have been accused of threatening to harm a jeweller and his son over the phone and forcing his employee to give them Dh12 million worth of jewellery.

The Romanian trio, 34-year-old M.K., 58-year-old V.C. and 57-year-old V.A., were said to have been involved in the case of luring the Lebanese jeweller and his son to Paris (in collaboration with other suspects who remain at large) and then coercing the jeweller in the Dubai-based shop to hand over the diamonds and gold to them in December 2014.

M.K. and V.C. were charged with threatening to harm the Lebanese jeweller and his son if he did not call his Syrian employee and coerce him to give them the jewellery.

V.A. was accused of aiding and abetting his countrymen by stashing the gold and jewellery.

The defendants pleaded not guilty before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Thursday.

Prosecutors said M.K. and V.C. verbally threatened the employee into giving them 55 diamond necklaces, 25 bracelets, 71 pairs of earrings and 120 rings.

The Lebanese jeweller testified to prosecutors that the incident happened after his employee called him while he was in Beirut.

“My employee called me and claimed that a man [who turned out to be V.C.] walked into my shop in Deira and presented him the shop’s business card. The man had claimed that he wanted to buy a big quantity of jewellery as he was in the process of opening a jewellery store in Abu Dhabi. The man asked for discount up to 45 per cent. A few days later an Egyptian man called and claimed that he lived in Paris and that he had asked V.C. to check my shop in Dubai. The caller, who said his name was A.A., asked me to travel to Paris to seal the deal and collect the money there. The deal was worth around €1.5 million [Dh6.2 million.] I travelled along with my son to Paris. We met A.A… then we were lured to a hotel room where they threatened to harm me and my son if I did not call my employee and demand him to give away the gold that weighed more than 6.5kg,” he told prosecutors.

According to the records, the Lebanese and his son were let go, and the latter contacted his Syrian employee and asked him to lodge a police complaint.

A police officer testified to prosecutors that they identified the suspects using footage from CCTV cameras installed in the shop.

“The defendants were arrested one at a time. The diamonds and gold were recovered at the defendants’ residences where they were professionally hidden behind a sink and a washing machine,” he said.

According to records, the Dubai police are working with Interpol to repatriate a female suspect involved in the case.

Presiding judge Ali Abdul Wahhab adjourned the case until May 25.

Sharon Shetty

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