A court in Dubai on Thursday sentenced MM Ramachandran, chairman of the Atlas Group, to three years in jail in a case of financial fraud, according to media reports.
The 74-year-old businessman, popularly known as “Atlas” Ramachandran, had been in police custody since August after cheques for 34 million dhirams issued by his group bounced.
Ramachandran was sentenced to jail by the Dubai Misdemeanour Court. “Ramachandran will be jailed for three years,” presiding judge Ahmad Shiha was quoted as saying by gulfnews.com.
His lawyers will appeal against the judgement, according to media reports.
Ramachandran’s wife attended the hearing and was present in court when the judgement was announced. She broke down and was seen weeping outside the court complex.
The businessman’s problems began after more than a dozen banks in Dubai complained to police that his group had defaulted on loan repayments. His requests for bail had been rejected several times.
Besides his business interests in the United Arab Emirates, Ramachandran is also known as a film producer and actor. He has once ranked among the “100 most powerful Indians in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council)”.
The Atlas Group operates a chain of jewellery stores in the GCC states. In the UAE alone, the group has about 20 outlets, including 12 in Dubai.
Last month, the Atlas Group announced it had entered into a deal with United Arab Emirates-based investment firm Maas Group to raise funds. Equity from Maas will go into Atlas Group-owned businesses in the UAE and its healthcare facility in Oman.