21 Bulgarian caught in fraud for millions of dollars
At least 21 Bulgarian citizens involved, 4 international banks had been stung and losses that can reach up to 30 millions of dollars - this is the balance out of the Dubai deception, investigated by journalist from 24 hours daily from the beginning of the year. Most probably this is the biggest international felonious combination with a participation of Bulgarian computer specialist. It is long odds that they had become innocent victims of swindlers, misused with their personal information, in order to illegally draw big amount of money. All expert reports regarding the case are ready and they proved the fact that the signatures under the financial documents helped the money to be drawn illegally do not belong to the arrested Bulgarians.
The authorities in Dubai had finished the investigation of the case. The Bulgarian citizens had to present to the court where a judge will decide if they are innocent. Despite the lack of evidences it is possible, Bulgarians to be sentenced for the same period they had already passed in the arrest, well informed sources about the case claim. This way they could not have the opportunity to bring a suit against the authorities in Dubai for being illegally taken into custody.
Big part of the people involved in the scheme, have relatives who work at Internal Ministry services. A special Committee of the Relatives of the Arrested in Dubai Bulgarians is founded. Their representatives meet deputies and Internal Ministry employees.
Only 24 hours daily visited and interviewed the Bulgarian citizens in Al Raffa police arrest in Dubai. Just few days after our visit they were moved to another place - in to the arrest of Chief Prosecutor's office where the conditions are much better.
The pick of scandal is on December 1, 2004 when the computer specialists Kiril Mantowski - 23 years old, Victor Lazarov - 21 years old, Svetozar Kolev - 40 years old, Liubomir Megov - 32 years old and Velin Nedelchev - 21 years old are arrested at the airport in Dubai juts few minutes prior their return flight to Bulgaria. More than a month later all parties involved keep the case in secret and only 24 hours daily managed to get some information about it. The exact amount of the fraud remains unknown, but calculating the sums pointed out in the claims filed by some of the banks stung by the affair, the amount vary between 3 and 30 millions of dollars, but theoretically it could be bigger.
Our investigation ascertained that in the fatal evening there were 13 Bulgarians at the airport - five of them from a Dubai company M.I. Electronics, 7 other from Traineese - closely connected with M.I. Electronics. The Bulgarians were accompanied by one of the secretary, who was engaged with the recruitment processes in these companies.
Lebanese citizens Geroge Abi Habib and Sharbel Akmari are directors of the two firms. They catch a plane to Lebanon an hour prior the Bulgarians and fly away without a problem. Four days earlier, the main boss Amel al Sharif - also a Lebanese, disappears. There is no guarantee these are the real names of the Arabs.
Why at the airport
are arrested just 5 persons,
but the rest of the group manages to leave the country? For the time being becomes clear that only employees of M. I. Electronics had been detained. In addition the three of them - youngest ones - Victor, Velin and Kiril are the first Bulgarians, dragged into the felonious scheme.
They leave for Dubai in April 2004. Prior they've worked without labor contracts for Canadian Technologies Company and through it they establish contacts with M. I. Electronics. They offer them a competitive payment conditions and later on an opportunity to help them with the visa issuance.
Former director of Canadian Technologies Company Hisham (Mike) Bader claim he had not mediated between the boys and their new employer and had not received any money as a compensation for their departure.
Relatives of the boys though do not support his position and have their own opinion about his role.
A month after the departure Victor, Velin and Kiril come back to Bulgaria very happy from their stay in Dubai and tell how well paid are they, and how wonderful the working conditions in Dubai are. Later they depart again. In short period of time after other specialists, majority of them connected with Canadian Technologies Company leave for Dubai as well.
This way through this channel are transferred at least 21 Bulgarians - 10 from Sofia, 5 from Pernik, 5 from Dobrich and one from Stara Zagora. Most of them have university diplomas in computer science, but there are also people with a lower qualification.
At least 3 Lebanese, 7 Filipinos, 2 Canadians and one Pakistanis are involved. At least three companies from Dubai are used - M. I. Electronics, Traineese è EL sag.
4 International Banks are fleeced
- Standart Chartered Bank, HSBC Bank, Emirates Bank and ABN Amro Bank, who had lodged complaints in the court.
Having in mind the precise mechanism of the fraud and the scanty information coming from official sources concerning the case, it is quite possible the number of Bulgarians and foreign citizens involved to be bigger, additional companies to be concerned and other fleeced banks to appear.
The frauds are executed as in Dubai as all over the world, because using Master and Visa credit cards it is possible to draw money worldwide.
Credit cards of the persons involved are blocked yet last year, but before this to be made transactions through them are made for between four and six months period.
Further more an unknown number of unsigned rubber checks for loans exist. Information for the total value of two of them is reveled after representatives of the banks lodge complaints in the court. They are respectively for 27 000 dollars and 54 000 dollars.
It is also known that the checks on behalf of some of the Bulgarians had been issued even after their arrest. This means somebody had cheated in favor of them including during the period after they've been behind the bars.
The scheme that involves them in the fraud was identical - they used to get information from acquaintance about remunerative job offer in Dubai. When they get to Dubai they've been welcomed and accommodated in four lodgings - two in Dubai and another two in the neighboring Sharjah Emirate.
After a short investigation process and signing of labor contracts their employers had taken them to the bank. There they had filled in petition for issuance of credit cards and had filed it personally.
After a short period of time the bank had sent representatives to the employer's office to check out if these persons really work for that company. They used to come into the office and made an interview with them. After a check up they sent them back to Bulgaria.
Part of them are invited for a second time in Dubai, others did not. In favor of everyone though credit cards are issued and that had been received by their employers.
Only T. gets his credit cards personally
24 hours daily meets T. - one of the girls transferred in Dubai scheme. She is invited during the summer by Traineese company that is closely connected with M. I. Electronics firm. The net salary offered to her is 1000 dollars. T. got information there is a demand of specialist in a trade with computer components - the job she is doing yet 8-9 years. She was told there will be a transport to Dubai, lodging and food. The only requirement for her is to know English at good level, but later becomes clear that most of the candidates do not have such language knowledge.
Ò. goes abroad in
the beginning of August
A month prior she is investigated - language proficiency, business skills, age, family status. Finally they confirm her job application. T. sends a copy of her passport in order to issue her a visa invitation needed at the border for issuance of the document.
T. did not know anything at all about M.I. Electronics - she had contacted just the other company - Trainees. The two companies had had offices in different quarters - M.I. Electronics in Internet city, but Trainees in another prestigious place - Knowledge city. Trainees Office manager had been Filipino Salso. Other Bulgarians, Lebanese and Filipinos had worked at the same company.
Later T. has met George and Sharbel and understands they are the big bosses. George was presented as the person engaged with all documents issues, but Sharbel was a driver who used to drive them to work, but at the same time he was responsible for credit cards issuance from the banks.
T. was accommodated in an apartment in Dubai together with three more Bulgarians. They make compulsory medical examinations, in order to have right to sign a labor contract. This procedure last approximately 25 days.
They had had entire freedom to walk about. They used to sleep as much as they wanted to, they used to shop, eat at different places - nobody had bothered them for nothing. After the signing of their contracts they had to come to the office,
but they were not demanded
to do any kind of work.
This situation for T. lasts 2-3 weeks. She says the office at Knowledge city was a luxury place but totally inappropriate for trade with computer components. When they had showed her to the company warehouse she was surprised to see there are mainly non-marketable objects.
She was worried and more and more insistently had asked her employers why they do not give her to do the work she was hired. There was no answer.
At the end she had quarreled with Sharbel, but later with George also. They argued because she was forced to fill out applications for credit card issuance. Despite she had to gain 1000 per month, the amount stated in her labor contract was 24 000 dirhamas, that was equal to more than 6 500 dollars. She asked why there is such a big discrepancy between the contract and the
reality. They had explained to her that the rest of the amount is spent for rent, food, transport, social and health insurances. She was satisfied with this reasonable answer. Still she could not understand why they had to issue her a credit but not a debit card. She had filled out an application, but for some reason the bank rejected to proceed with it. Then they had tried another bank - Standard Chartåred - where the operation was successful and they issued her two credit cards - Master and Visa.
Had not understood why
They had explained to her she can draw maximum 1500 dollars from both of them, not more. In fact overdraft opportunity gives possibility considerably bigger amounts to be drawn. This can last months in a row if per contra little amounts are deposit in the bank, in order everything to look O.K.
In the beginning her employers tried to convince her they should receive her credit carts. T. though insisted personally to get them from the bank and she really managed to do it - she was the only one of the entire Bulgarian group succeeded to do so.
In this connection she had quarreled with Sharbel and George, and shortly after that they revalidated her ticket for earlier date and had sent her back to Bulgaria. At the very end they continued to state no bust up in their relations had happened and that they will invite her again in Dubai. This though did not happen. In fact she had received at hand just half of her salary. They promised to pay her the rest, if she leaves them her credit cards, but she firmly denied.
T. never had drawn any money
From these cards
That she still gets
She though is not sure there is not other credit cards, issued on her behalf, and if somebody did not draw money from them.
Another three or four Bulgarians transferred in the same scheme had received second work invitation, but refused to leave, because they smelt something wrong happens. Despite all this, their identity most probably was used for
The Lebanese bosses
Amer Al Sharaf - considered to be the main organizer of the scheme, is in Brazil, were he has a second citizenship, claim well informed sources.
The information available for George Abi Hbib is that he graduated in Paris. Sharbel was the driver but other say he was engaged with the bank affairs. There is a possibility ties of relationship between two of them to exist, acquainted with the case say.
An investigation against them is launched in Lebanon, but still no results are announced. Amer, short and bald-headed, according the description, had visited Dubai just from time to time.
Later in the scheme had jointed some George, they called him - The Canadian. At the moment he is also behind the bars together with two more non Bulgarians. They were caught a week after Bulgarians are arrested, because they had used the company mobile phones of M.I. Electronics - this helped the police to intersect them.
Two Bulgarian secretaries were engaged with the recruitment of the people - Petia and Violeta. One of them was paramour of one of the Lebanese. At the moment one of them is in Bulgaria, but the other is hides herself in Dubai.
What is the investment in the illegal scheme? Approximately 12 000 dollars is the cost of the air tickets and 50 000 dollars are spent for rents. Some amounts are also invested in the acquisition of the enticement companies, buying of some goods and company expenses - not more than one million dollars in total. In exchange the potential profit that the fraud scheme could bring is up to 30 millions of dollars.
How the pyramid bursts
Five of the arrested boys from Sofia, had been at the airport together with the guys from Pernik and one of the secretaries. The rest of the group - five boys from Dobrich comes back to Bulgaria without any problems. The panic starts when M. I. Electronics bank accounts are blocked. Their employees are panic-stricken when they reveal that the boss Amer al Sharif is missing from four days. This though had not seemed strange for them because he used to come in Dubai from time to time. At least two strange events happen prior the company bank accounts to be blocked. A week prior Sharbel's arrest - some woman lodges an appeal against him because he had stolen her mobile phone and he had beaten her. The accusation is ridiculous having in mind the real occupation of the Lebanese.
He is kept for one night in the arrest and they set him free. It is possible though his arrest to be executed just to force him to admit about the illegal financial maneuvers.
The second occurrence happen a day prior bank accounts to be blocked. At some party one of the Bulgarian secretaries, meets an employee of one of the banks occupied with credit cards issuance operations. He said to her: "I know you, I know your employer and what exactly you are doing." The Bulgarian had had a scare and had started to call George.
Arrest in Dubai
Reach the Parliament
Relatives of the arrested boys meet deputies Tatiana Kalkanova and Aneli Chobanova
Relatives of the arrested in Dubai five Bulgarian computer specialist had met deputies Tatiana Kalkanova and Aneli Chobanova from Simeon II National Movement. Tatiana Kalkanova is also a vice-chairman of the yellow parliamentary group.
Relatives of the arrested announced, Mrs. Kalkanova had come at the meeting with a big folder full of materials regarding the case. She had received it after her meeting with Gergana Grancharova - deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Some of the documents in it were marked "top secret".
Mrs. Kalkanova had explained the relatives what the charges are and had discussed with them the possible steps in defense of Bulgarians that could be undertaken in the future, the deputy announced for 24 hours daily. She advised them in addition to lawyers from Dubai, to hire also jurists from Bulgaria who to submit a civil cases against the company that had sent the Bulgarians in Dubai.
Last week Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced, they informed the responsible services in Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the arrested Bulgarians in Dubai and they've started to work on the case. The Supreme Court of Appeal is also approached by the relatives on January 6, 2005.
"Yes, indeed there is a signal regarding the case in Supreme Court of Appeal, and it is moved forward, we are collecting additional information and we've already sent inquiries to the respective services and institutions.", Nikolay Markov a spoke-person of Supreme Court of Appeal specified. From Ministry of Foreign Affairs press center reconfirmed they have information regarding the Bulgarian computer specialists arrested in Dubai, but because it is not classified they can not reveal it to the press.
"Until his departure to Dubai Lyubomir Megov, Kiril Mantovski, Victor Lazarov, Svetlozar Kolev and Velin Nedelchev have worked in Canadian Technology Company in Bulgaria" (Can Tech Bg Ltd.), managed by a person presented himself as Mike Bader with Lebanese origin, specified sources from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to information released by "Consulship" service just two of the arrested Bulgarians - L. Megov and K. Mantovski had had paper labor contracts signed with Canadian Technology Company. On Friday relatives of the arrested Bulgarians lodged a complaint in Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the information they were maltreated during the first days of their stay in the arrest. In previous publication of 24 hours daily they described telephone talks with their relatives - they were beaten many times and no medical assistance was rendered, despite they've lodged two complaints about it.
Relatives of the arrested announce for 24 hours daily that the five Bulgarians had asked the Consular an official appeal to the authorities in Dubai to be lodged in connection to the violence exercised over them. Consular though convinced them this would not serve their interests. Other relatives even claim the Consular denied to lodge such an appeal on behalf of the arrested Bulgarians, despite they had insisted to do so.
"I can not comment in front of the media what I discuss with the arrested people.", Consular Nikolay Vanchev stated.
The results from the graphological expert opinion regarding the appeal of the first bank had delayed because of unknown reasons. The announcement of the results of the expertise, considered to be extremely important for the progress of the case coincided with the official holidays in Dubai.
Data should been reveled on Saturday - a working day in Dubai, but according to the Consular they were not announced even on Sunday. They should be ready in the next few days, he says.
Relatives of the arrested fear some of the arrested were tortured in order to admit things they had not done and they even do not remember what exactly they had stated and signed. The relatives feel troubled this will be used against them during the trial. Just to remind that our medics in Libya are convicted just upon confessions extorted through tortures.
In the beginning of the year 24 hour daily was the first newspaper that get an information that more than a month Bulgarian citizens are behind the bars in "Al Raffa" police station in Dubai. Our meeting with Hisham (Mike) Bader - their former boss from Canadian Technology Company in Bulgaria, with their relatives and after we send an official letter with questions to Ministry of Internal Affairs, provoked publicity about the case and made possible some information about the case to be announced. Later we were the first ones who published the names and pictures of the arrested and their relatives.
Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Prosecutor's office undertook the arrested in Dubai Bulgarians
The Consular had negotiated lower fees for the lawyers
"Competent services in Ministry of Internal Affairs are informed and work on the case of the five Bulgarian citizens in Dubai. Supreme Court of Appeal was
also approached by the relatives on January 6, 2005.", from Ministry of Internal Affairs announced regarding the five computer specialists, detained at the airport on 1 December on their departure to Bulgaria.
"Until their departure to Dubai Lyubomir Megov, Kiril Mantovski Victor Lazarov, Svetlozar Kolev and Velin Nedelchev have worked in Canadian Technology Company in Bulgaria (Can Tech Bg Ltd.) managed by Mike Bader, Lebanese by origin", sources from Ministry of Internal Affairs announced.
According to "Consular relations" only two of the arrested Bulgarians - Lyubomir Megov and Kiril Mantovski have paper labor contracts with Canadian Technology Company in Bulgaria.
Entry visas to Dubai had been settled by the local employer - M.I. Electronics F.Z. LLC. company, that according the last statements made by our citizens is also directed by the Lebanese, presented himself as George.
As a reason for their arrest, the Prosecutor's office in Dubai has shown "a fraud and an appropriation of somebody else's money." At the beginning the investigation is leaded based upon an appeal made by one bank institution - Standard Chartered Bank, but from the beginning of 2005 appeals had lodged anther three banks - HSBC Bank, Emirates Bank è ABN Amro Bank. Referring information from Dubai, money had been drawn illegally from these banks through open accounts and credit cards and checks, part of them issued in favor of Bulgarian citizens and based upon their international passports.
"Because the same accusations are also searched or are under investigation the managers of "M. I. Electronics F.Z. LLC" and other people as well.", sources from Ministry of Foreign Affairs say.
As a defense lawyer of the Bulgarian citizens before the court appears Rukoz George Hobeike, a lawyer from Lebanese origin. He has informed Bulgarian Consular Nikolai Vanchev, he is engaged about the case by Mike Beder, who had promised to pay him the due fees. In the middle of December though after he had not received the advance payment previously negotiated with Bader, Hobeike renounce his obligations concerning the defense.
"I managed to come to an agreement with the same lawyer for 7000 dollars fee, 3000 dollars less than before. This was the price for the defense for each one of the arrested Bulgarians about the four cases.", Consular Vanchev announced yesterday. Relatives firstly have to pay in advance 1400 dollars so the lawyer can start his work concerning the case. Two months later additional amount of 2800 dollars per person have to be paid in and at the end the rest of the money. "We are collecting money for the initial installment", announced yesterday from Bourgas city Maria Velcheva, a mother of arrested Velin.
Milena - Lyubomir Megov's mother and his sister Olya had lodged appeals in Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a requisition for investigation of the information about battery against the arrested. They also demanded due measures to be taken including trough a diplomatic note.
The prisoners in Dubai: we are innocent, they set us up!
24 hours daily succeeded to see Luybomir and Victor, tomorrow - with the rest of the group
Our messenger in United Arab Emirates
"We had not done nothing against the law at all during our whole stay in Dubai.", with one voice declared Lyubomir Megov and Victor Lazarov during our meeting yesterday. They were the first of the Bulgarians we've talked with in Al Raffa police station.
"You can see just up to two people per day, come tomorrow if you want to see the rest of them.", declared an hour and half prior, officer of the day at the reception in the police station. He wrote down in Arabian an entry permit and after a long stay our reporter was get into a small room. Little after that in a similar room behind reinforced glass appeared the first two of the arrested on December 1, Bulgarian computer specialists.
"You have 5 minutes",
snap the soldier of point duty.
"We neither had filled in applications for credit cards issuance nor they are signed by us.", declares almost with no delay Lyubo. "More over some of these documents are written and submitted on dates on which we were in Bulgaria." This becomes clear from the grafologycal reports made up to now, he also claims. "Local police has on its disposal technical devises good enough a expertise to be made and flatly to be determined, without a doubt if we've signed something.", he said.
If we ignore some pimples and eczemas on their faces the boys look good and stronger because they regularly visit the fitness trying to make good use of they time in the arrest.
According to Lyubo, it became clear that some of the credit cards had been issued not with their original passports but through Xerox copies of the documents. Despite is looks strange, reputable banks to permit such thing, credit card issuance presenting just Xerox copy of a passport is a common practice in Dubai. It was discontinued just after the arrest of the Bulgarians.
The boys are sure that there is no one else but their former bosses from Lebanon, representing M. I. Electronics to plot and executed the fraud. They though managed to leave the country and now are under investigation. There is no agreement for legal aid between Dubai and Lebanon.
Lyubomir had announce he had seen an application for credit card issuance on behalf of M.I. Electronics, signed by Amer al Sharif an owner of the company and stamped with the company seal. This document was attached to the case. To it with a stapler was attached an application for credit card issuance on behalf of Lyubo, but filled in with a handwriting different for his and signed by somebody else.
"The situation is not different for each and everyone of us.", Victor adds.
In the case against the Bulgarians witness was Filipino woman who claimed she had sold a laptop to one of the boy mentioned in the appeal of Standard Chartered Bank. During the identity parade though
The woman has pointed out
Completely different people
Later the boys had heard that the same Filipino woman had been detained in another police station for false testimony. "This is the situation here, the authorities are very strict. If somebody complains from anybody, the police arrest both of them until they understand who is guilty.", the boys say.
The three cases regarding the complaint presented by three of the banks involved in the shady affair are united in one and this was the reason for the delay of the graphologycal expertise. Up to 2-3 weeks or one month at the latest it will be ready, Lyubomir says.
If the investigators accept seriously the result of this expertise, there will be no reason to hold us in the arrest any more, he claims. Both of them - Lyubomir and Victor confirmed they've been abused in the beginning of their detention - they've been beaten and dashed against the wall.
"I think they just had wanted to do their job faster and had insisted to sign the testimonials. We though denied and demanded a meeting with the Consular and a translator, but they replied - "We will not give you a telephone", and continued to dash us.", Victor recalls.
Lyubo says testimonials dated from the beginning of their arrest when they've been beaten have disappeared and they did not see them anymore attached to their case. At the moment the investigators take under consideration just their testimonials given later on.
"At the moment we do not have no problem with nobody in Al Raffa.", the boys stated. They've become interesting and very popular group among the rest of the arrested people, because the press in Dubai often had mentioned Bulgaria in context of the rest of the European countries.
In this very moment the guard nervously starts pounds on the metal door alarming that the end of our meeting had come - we even had exceeded the time limit with 2-3 minutes.
According to our Consular in Dubai Nikolai Vanchev
it seems probably
Bulgarians to be released on bail
until the closure of the whole case. For the first time he started to speak about the possibility this to happen without the arrested to deposit an amount of the bail, that they can not afford.
Just in the complaint made by one of the banks approximately 100 000 dollars had been illegally drawn. The amounts mentioned in the complaints of other three banks are close to this amount of money in each one of the documents.
The legislation in Dubai stipulates two options for release on bail. The fist one is the total amount of all complaints to be deposited. The second one is a local person to guarantee for the arrested and respectively to pay their debts if they escape.
Bulgarian Consular make inquires for a third option - the Bulgarian state to guarantee for the arrested until the end of the trial. If this happens they will have the opportunity to appear before the court until the end of the case, but to be on free or under house arrest. On Saturday Mr. Vanchev met us with several successful Bulgarians in Dubai and they showed interest in the future of Bulgarian citizens put into the arrest.
Same day in the morning 24 hours daily representative made its first try to meet the boys, from 10 until 12 a.m. - the regular visit hours. It was found that for the same time exactly, the case of the Bulgarians is down for hearing and there are not in Al Raffa police station at the moment.
"They are not here, you should go to see them in the court.", duty officer stated in the receiving room.
Rukoz George Hobeike - a lawyer of the Bulgarians had not answer his mobile phone neither in the morning nor during all day.
On Saturday 24 hours daily representative asked to meet somebody from Al Raffa, who has information regarding the case with the arrested Bulgarians. After a short hesitation the duty officer sent us to a room number 9, from there they sent us to another room where we were welcomed by Mr. Essa Abdulmadgaid, Human rights officer. This strange for the Bulgarians position is introduced in all police stations in Dubai 8 years before.
Mr. Essa Abdulmadgaid is very kind and explained to us that the case is under the authorities of public prosecutor Ali Hamid bin Hatim. He is the only one able to give us no matter what information regarding the case.
Half an hour later
We insisted to meet
in the super-luxury Prosecutor's office building. At the beginning Mr. Hamid firmly denied to talk with us and tried to send us away with the assistance of the security. Two hours the reporter had silently waited Mr. Hamid to find time for him. After a while all in the Prosecutor's office started to ask each other why at the entrance of the building European stays and looks darkly. Mr, Hamid finally changed his mind.
He sent his assistant who politely explained the case is made confidential and until its closure Mr. Hamid can not give any information. "Furthermore you are not a relative of the arrested and you have no right to ask for information.", the employee explained.
He resent the reporter to the Public Relations office in the Prosecutor's office. They politely recommended to our newspaper to prepare a special application in Arabian language and to send it to the Prosecutor's office. This way somebody some time could give us information concerning the case.
Yesterday Mr. Essa Abdulmadgaid, Human rights officer accepted the books and letters sent by the relatives of the arrested Bulgarians. This way they will receive some novels, but at Victior's request - texts of Bulgarian songs. Among them there are songs of Slavi Trifonov and popular Bulgarian hits. These songs will fill the cell of Al Raffa police station the same evening.
Somebody is cheating with "Bulgarians"
checks after the arrest in Dubai
I was behind the bar, but on my behalf is paid with a rubber check, one of the arrested Bulgarians says
Our messenger in United Arab Emirates
"They presented to me a check, signed with my name, but dated December 5. We are arrested since December 1. So somebody continues to cheat on our behalf.", Velin Nedelchev speaks ardently. He is one of the five arrested in Dubai Bulgarians. Three of them have a visit with 24 hours daily in Raffa police station.
Velin says the rubber check was for 18 000 dirhama (approximately 4000 EURO) and through it is stung the last of the 4 banks that made complaints. Its claim is united with the rest as late as in January.
"We are expecting in the next days all documents concerning the case to be presented to the Bulgarian Consular and he to send it to Bulgaria. This way the dates of issuance of the rubber checks could be verified and to become clear if we were here or in Bulgaria at that time.", Kiril Mantovski says.
"Bank control here does not exist if they issue a credit card to a person, who had not apply, had not presented personally to the bank to take his card, they issue it without asking for a passport, just showing a Xerox copy of it.", Svetozar Kolev protests.
24 hours daily found out this is the reality, even if the control became stronger after the case with the Bulgarians.
All three computer specialists consider, that in the criminal scheme must had been participated also their former boss from M.I. Electronics company - Amer Sharif. The other two arrested Lyubomir Megov and Victor Lazarov confirmed their opinion the day before.
"There is no way credit card to be issued on our behalf, without the owner of the company to guarantee for us, to declare what are the salaries he pays us and so on. It is impossible such thing to be done without his involvement." Velin explained.
"4 days prior our departure Sharif did not come at work, nobody had been informed where he is and we haven't seen him since.", Kiril says.
At that moment another arrested, Pakistanian tries to enter the visitor's room from their side of the reinforced glass to call from the phone card telephone. Three of the Bulgarians stop him and force him to get out and wait. Still the visit last just 5 minute plus eventually 2 minutes more, given out of pity by the security.
"Do you have problems? You saw that - there are some impudents, but we can control the situation.", the boys smile. They look healthy; they are throb with vitality and determination to prove their innocence.
Essa Abdulmadgaid, Human rights officer in the police station had taken care to receive the letters and books, as well as note-book with texts of Bulgarian songs, send by their relative through 24 hours daily representatives. They had given them also reprints of all articles published regarding their case, but did not allow them to keep it. "We are absolutely innocent, we have not done anything against the law.", all three of the computer specialists stated.
"They wanted to confess, but we denied and insisted for translator and appearance of the Consular, but instead they beat us.", the boys say.
All in the police station treat them well, but they worry because if the grafological expertise comes too late, they will miss all deadlines. They assume somebody could manipulate the results.
"Today is 36th day, since the start of the procedure about this expertise. It has to be ready for a month at the latest. What is the reason for this delay?", Velin gets angry.
Bulgarians in Dubai are sentence to 2 years and a half
Five Bulgarian computer specialists - victims of bank swindlers
Two and a half years in prison for each one of the five Bulgarian computer specialists, arrested in Dubai on December 1, last year. Kiril Mantowski - 23 years old, Victor Lazarov - 21 years old, Svetozar Kolev - 40 years old, Liubomir Megov - 32 years old and Velin Nedelchev - 21 years old were arrested at the international airport in Dubai juts few minutes prior their return flight to Bulgaria. More than a month later all parties involved keep the case in secret and only 24 hours daily managed to get some information about it.
Bulgarians were accused of illegal draw of money from three local banks through credit cards and rubber checks, as well as receiving of bank loans. During the investigation becomes clear that their credit cards are issued on the insistence of their Lebanese employer from Dubai company called - M. I. Electronics.
The defense presented evidences that employers but not Bulgarians had received the credit cards used in the financial affair.
It is ascertained that during the first days after their arrest Bulgarian citizens are maltreated by the police and their first testimonies were taken by force. It remains unclear if this fact had been taken under consideration in the court. The five Bulgarians are sentenced to a year in jail in connection with claims of two of the banks and half year more because of the claim of the third bank. Yesterday they were moved from the arrest of the Prosecutor's office to a prison in Dubai.
"We will appeal against the decision of the court immediately. The term is 15 days. The court should present its decision two months after the date of the appeal at the latest.", Yordanka, Kilir Mantovski's mother announced. She hardly stifles her tears.
24 hours daily investigation ascertained that at least 21 Bulgarian citizens had passed through the same criminal channel in Dubai. By a mere chance just five of them are arrested and sentenced.
Most probably this is the biggest criminal combination worldwide, where Bulgarian computer specialists are involved. Even though the evidences presented by the defense proved they are innocent victims of swindlers, who misused their personal data to draw big amounts of money, the court decided they deserve to be put in jail. Quite a lot of the involved in the scheme have close relatives in Services of Ministry of Internal Affairs.