Buyer of No.1 license plate in Abu Dhabi jailed for 3 years

DUBAI: An Emiriti businessman who was of fraud and writing a bad cheque worth 31 million dirham to pay for the Abu Dhabi No.1 licence plate will have to spend three years in jail after an appeals court confirmed an earlier sentence, a media report said on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old Emirati had bought the special plate in November 2016 at an auction in Abu Dhabi for a whopping 31 million dirham ($84,39,750). In 2016, the UAE media had identified him as Abdullah Al Mahri.

The Public Funds Prosecution had ordered the detention of the Emirati after organisers of the auction filed a complaint about him issuing a dud cheque after buying the number plate commemorating Abu Dhabi government's golden jubilee. Prosecutors charged the man with fraud and issuing a bounced cheque.

During his interrogation, the Emirati admitted to issuing the cheque with full knowledge of his dearth of cash in the bank, Khaleej Times reported.

"He said he was planning to re-resell the rare number plate at a profit so he can pay the value of the cheque to the organisers and retain the balance," it quoted a prosecutor as saying. Authorities however said a person can only resell a number plate bought in an auction after they have paid the full amount. Transactions taking place before payment is made in full is considered illegal.

The Abu Dhabi Misdemeanour Court had earlier sentenced the Emirati man to three years in jail after he was found guilty of fraud and issuing a bounced cheque.

The businessman challenged the sentence at the Abu Dhabi Court of Appeals which upheld the ruling by the first court. The auction was hosted by Emirates Auction in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Police on November 19, 2016 to commemorate the Abu Dhabi Government's Golden Jubilee.

The Emirati beat several bidders for the coveted plate after starting at Dh1 million. He said after the auction that he bought it in honour of the country's rulers, who worked tirelessly to make the UAE No 1 in the world. He noted that he was willing to pay any amount to get the plate number.

PTI