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                                                       Dubai: A former Playboy cover girl and a businessman have been acquitted of swindling                                                        and embezzling Dh387,000 from an Indian merchant using forged documents over a                                                            shady nightclub partnership.

                                                       The 32-year-old German woman, who was featured on the cover of the adult                                                                       magazine Playboy, and the 35-year-old Pakistani businessman were purportedly                                                                   charged with forging documents to swindle and embezzle from the Indian businessman                                                        with whom they agreed to enter into a partnership for the nightclub.

Citing lack of corroborated evidence, the Dubai Misdemeanor Court acquitted the suspects after they entered a not guilty plea and strongly denied their accusations.

The businessman’s lawyer Nasser Hashim contended before the court: “The German suspect was on the cover pages of Playboy magazines. Her work involved nudity. When my client discovered her hidden agenda to promote lewdness through the nightclub, he pulled out from the agreement. Prosecutors’ accusations were unsubstantiated with… evidence or proof. This case is fabricated. My client was framed.”

Meanwhile the woman’s advocate Yousuf Al Beloushi defended: “My client was groundlessly accused of forging documents and using them. She did not forge or sign on any of the documents that are subject to dispute. Evidently my client did not have any criminal intention... and she didn’t realise that the documents were forged when she handed them to the victim’s friend. Had there been any form of dispute, it should have been referred to the civil court and not the criminal. My client didn’t commit any crime.”

Prosecution records said the merchant agreed to enter into a partnership deal with the suspects that entitled him to a share of 80 per cent of the nightclub as against 10 per cent shares for each of his partners.

The suspects and the merchant included an Emirati sponsor as a silent partner in the agreement.

The businessman alleged that the Pakistani registered his share in his brother’s name.

“The brother, the woman and I had to sign on transactions pertaining to the joint account that we opened at a local bank. I deposited Dh1.2 million and paid Dh80,000 in commissions for the sponsor. The defendants were each supposed to pay Dh250,000 as their share in the nightclub’s capital. They forged a receipt claiming that they paid Dh300,000 to an Indian manager [who had previously rented the nightclub] to waive his share in it. They also forged another receipt claiming they paid Dh87,000 as broker’s commission,” purported the merchant.

During the trial, advocate Nasser Hashim contended that his client did not have any gains from forging the receipts or swindling.

Advocate Al Beloushi argued that prosecution witnesses gave inconsistent statements and asked the court to acquit his client.

The primary judgment remains subject to appeal within 13 days.

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