Canada University in Dubai hosts a Prime Minister

Dr. Andrew Furey talks about the university's and his home province's common vision and values

The deceitful antics of 38-year-old Lebanese Alex Tannous, who had been posing as an Emirati prince and conniving investors out of millions of dirhams, finally came to an end last week. Tannous was detained by the FBI in San Antonio, Texas, after returning from overseas on a child custody case. If found guilty, he may serve a 20-year jail term.

Canada University in Dubai hosts a Prime Minister

He was swiftly given an order to be detained without bond, and last Friday he showed up in federal court in San Antonio, where a conviction could result in a 20-year prison term.

An FBI criminal complaint affidavit states that Tannous had long pretended to be a diplomat and businessman from the United Arab Emirates, with intimate ties to Emirati aristocracy. But it turned out that he was a very good con man, capable of defrauding gullible people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

According to the affidavit, Tannous was actually a brilliant con man who defrauded gullible people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by using his persuasive skills. "Tannous instructed his victims to send him thousands of dollars through businesses he owned and controlled in order to obtain the funding."

According to Khaleej Times investigations, Tannous's dubious scams ensnared people all around the world in addition to San Antonio.

One such victim, Marc De Spiegelerie of Belgium, felt vindicated when he heard about Tannous's arrest. In a statement to Khaleej Times, De Spiegelerie stated, "It may not bring back the 70,000 euros (Dh275,000) or the 10 years of my life, but the possibility of him spending the next two decades behind bars brings solace to me and all other victims."

Recalling his story, De Spiegelerie said how, after being persuaded to invest in what Tannous claimed to be a profitable business in Doha, Qatar, he sent money to a local bank in Dubai. "That was back in 2012." De Spiegelerie, who subsequently brought a lawsuit against Alex in Dubai Courts, stated, "He entertained us in their Palm Jumeirah home and said he was friends with the royals."

In a similar vein, Libyan Omar Y Abouhalala claimed to have approached Dubai Courts as well, claiming to have been conned out of Dh1.15 million.

Equico Enterprises Inc. was one of the companies that Alex owned. In the FBI affidavit, he claimed to be an Emirati executive tasked with finding US businesses that would make good investments in the United Arab Emirates. He also allegedly suggested a partnership to create ghost kitchens with the owner of a software company, citing access to millions from an Emirati economic development fund. Tannous, who was looking for $100,000, got $70,000 in four installments between June and August 2021, which were deposited into an Equico account. The promised initiatives never materialized, even though they were paid considerable sums of money.

Court documents revealed a different picture of Alex, who was described as the founder and chairman of a corporation located in Dubai on one website and as the UAE's World Peace Ambassador on another. They demonstrate his reliance on his parents' allowances as well as the income and credit of his now-ex-wife. He even declared bankruptcy at the beginning of 2021 in order to avoid investors trying to get their money back.

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