In July 2019, Gulf News reported on an apparent multimillion-dollar fraud involving the disappearance of some 6,000 tons of rice that Indian exporters had shipped into Dubai. According to Gulf News, the 6,000 tons of rice disappeared – as did the company in whose name the rice was ordered and its ostensible representatives, whose checks (at least some of which were postdated) for the rice purchases, the warehouse from which the rice disappeared, and airline tickets bounced due to insufficient funds — without a trace. At that time, the Dubai Public Prosecutor ordered police in the Jebel Ali district of Dubai to investigate possible fraud by six men and two companies, including a Dubai money exchange, in the case.
On March 6, Dubai authorities reportedly made their first arrest in the case. The individual, a 52-year-old Indian national, was released on bail two days later. It is not clear whether the conditions of that individual’s bail prohibit him from leaving Dubai while the investigation proceeds.
Note: This initial report may be heartening to the 20 or more Indian rice exporters who were victimized by the fraud. It nonetheless underscores the need for exporters in general to pay attention to indicia of trading fraud schemes, which have plagued the United Arab Emirates for some time. As the Indian Consulate in Dubai tweeted after the arrest, “Indian traders especially those in rice should take due precautions specially on terms and mode of payment [Ed. – postdated checks] to avoid such situations.”