Australian businessman Matthew Joyce jailed for 10 years over Dubai property deal


Men look at a model of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, at the Cityscape exhibition in Dubai on October 4, 2010.



An Australian businessman sentenced to 10 years jail and fined $25 million for property fraud in Dubai has declared his innocence and vowed to appeal his harsh sentence.

Matthew Joyce, who has been under house arrest in the United Arab Emirates city since 2009, was sentenced on Monday.

His junior colleagues, Marcus Lee and Anthony Brearley, were acquitted of fraud charges relating to a failed waterfront deal.

Angus Reed, who was also involved in the deal, was sentenced to 10 years jail, but he is already in Australia. 

"My family and I are still coming to terms with it," Joyce said in a statement.

"I have received 10 years' jail, the maximum possible sentence, and a fine of $25 million, which is double the loss alleged by the prosecution.

"The most difficult part of today's decision is that I've been convicted based on the evidence of a witness who was found by an Australian court to have lied.

"I will of course appeal this decision. I am innocent of the charges against me."

The men were charged over the sale of waterfront land in Dubai to Australian property developer Sunland.

Joyce, who was managing director of Dubai Waterfront, and Reed, whose company Prudentia was involved in the deal, were accused of hoodwinking Sunland into paying a $12 million “introductory fee” to secure land during Dubai’s property boom.

Sunland accused the men of falsely claiming Prudentia had reserved the right to develop a plot. It claimed the men transferred $6 million to a family trust account belonging to Joyce. 

A parallel case in an Australian court was dismissed last year after key witnesses for Sunland were found to be unreliable.

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