Fraudsters Said to Swindle $136 Million From Abu Dhabi Bank

(Bloomberg) -- Abu Dhabi’s Al Hilal Bank PJSC uncovered internal fraud worth more than 500 million dirhams ($136 million), according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Some employees at the Abu Dhabi state-owned Islamic lender allegedly withdrew funds from dormant customer accounts, said the people, asking not to be identified because the details aren’t public. Money was then transferred from the Al Hilal accounts to bogus accounts before being withdrawn, they said.

A total of 38 people from Asian and European backgrounds were arrested last summer for the "unlawful confiscation" of 635 million dirhams from a U.A.E. bank, Abu Dhabi’s Judicial Department said in an emailed statement, without identifying the lender.

The case is being heard in court and those being tried include some bank employees and others who aren’t. Police and the central bank were able to retrieve 625 million dirhams of the money taken, according to the statement. A spokesman for Al Hilal didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Al Hilal has total assets worth 42.7 billion dirhams, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The bank hired Emirates NBD PJSC, First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Nomura Holdings Inc to manage sale of dollar-denominated Islamic bonds in the second quarter, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month.

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