The trio was charged with kidnap, impersonation and online misappropriation of the virtual currency.
Three men were charged at the Dubai Court of First Instance on Monday for allegedly posing as cops and kidnapping three Indian traders to a desert location to rob 25 bitcoins from them.
According to public prosecution records, the trio, aged 19, 27 and 20 (student), conned the victims into riding in their car after falsely claiming that they were being wanted by authorities for dealing in the virtual currency.
They then drove to a remote desert location off Al Barsha where they used the victims’ laptop to transfer 25 bitcoins from their account into the account of one of them in Japan. The trio was charged with kidnap, impersonation and online misappropriation of the virtual currency.
They had four Indian accomplices, aged between 21 and 47. Those are accused of possessing Dh250,000, under circumstances suggesting that the money was ill-gotten.
The incident took place on March 14, 2017, and a case was registered at Al Barsha police station.
A Yemeni woman, who works as a driver for one of the traders, recounted during the prosecution investigation, how she met the first defendant. “I worked with my sister for the traders. Many people of different nationalities would come to their villa to buy bitcoins. The 19-year-old accused contacted me and then met me and my sister at a restaurant.”
However, in the meeting, the accused told the sisters he is a security official and that the trader is being wanted in India in connection with forgery and fraud crimes. “He asked for our help, claiming we would get Dh500,000 as a reward for our cooperation. He also claimed we would land lucrative jobs for our help.”
She stayed in contact with that defendant for some time to keep him posted about the trader’s movements until the incident day.
One of the victims, a 35-year-old Indian investor, told the prosecutor that he was with the other two traders when a car intercepted them after 10pm. “The suspects pulled us out of the car and took our money and mobile phones.”
The complainants were then taken to a remote spot where the suspects yelled at them that they were fraudsters and would be deported. One of their laptops was then used to transfer bitcoins to an account belonging to the 27-year-old defendant.
The trial continues on December 13.