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Dubai charges Australian businessmen with fraud

  • Story Highlights
  • Two Australian businessmen charged with fraud in United Arab Emirates
  • The two were taken into custody in January 25
  • Attorney: "They have committed no wrong-doing ... (charges) should be dismissed."
From Arie Bell
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(CNN) -- Almost half a year after they were arrested, two Australian businessmen have been formally charged with fraud by authorities in the United Arab Emirates.

Matt Joyce and Marcus Lee were taken into custody on January 25 on suspicion of bribery while working for Nakheel, a property development company owned by the ruler of Dubai, their lawyer said.

The port city is one of seven emirates that make up the oil-rich Gulf nation.

The formal charges, filed late last week, center on fraud. But lawyer Martin Amad said he could not provide further details until he has had a chance to have the document translated from Arabic to English.

"We believe that any allegation of impropriety or fraud is misplaced," Amad said. "They have committed no wrong-doing and we look forward to defending the charges, which should be dismissed."

Authorities have not set a date for the trial.

After their arrest, the businessmen were each held in solitary confinement for seven weeks, Amad said.

Now, they are being housed in a facility with 98 other men, he said.

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