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Expats ‘rented luxury hire cars then changed VIN numbers in bid to ship them overseas’

DUBAI // Three Jordanians and a Tunisian are accused of changing the chassis numbers of three luxury rented vehicles in a bid to ship them overseas.

Dubai Criminal Court heard on Tuesday that they allegedly altered the VIN, or chassis number, on a 2016 Nissan Patrol, a 2016 Lexus and a 2015 Mercedes, as well as used forged documents as they tried to ship the cars abroad.

The incident came to light when an employee at a shipping company in Al Qusais accidentally discovered that the chassis numbers imprinted near the front tyre of all three cars were different from those on the documents and on the front windscreens.

“Two men came to me with the cars and the documents. Later, when I discovered the changes in VIN number, I contacted my boss, who directed me to call police,” said a Speed Shipping Company employee.

“CID officers arrived and double checked then discovered alterations made to the VINs and to the documents.”

The employee, whose age and nationality were not given, was advised to contact the two defendants who gave him the documents – the two male Jordanians, aged 53 and 35. One defendant came and was apprehended by police on May 3 last year but it appeared that the other man had left the country.

The Tunisian defendant had rented the three vehicles and racked up more than Dh90,000 in unpaid rental fees.

“We tracked down the documents and found out they were issued by RTA offices at Dubai Mall. When we questioned the employees at the office, it turned out that a Jordanian woman had issued the documents for the defendants,” testified a police officer.

All four were charged with forgery and use of forged documents.

The Tunisian, 32, was additionally charged with refraining from paying rental fees and with embezzlement of the three vehicles.

The woman, 25, was also charged with aiding and abetting.

The defendants were not present in court to face the charges but a verdict is expected on June 6.

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The National