Of course there is. The Zawya story seems to get closest to what supposedly went on (see below). And now its reported he’ll be up in court on Sept 15th facing the public prosecutor (ie this seems to be a criminal case for fraud, not a civil case). Here he is in, presumeably, happier days.
The story: My source tells me that Dr. Bakheet Al Falasi was in partnership with a Lebanese Businessman, who built a successful company dealing in the manufacture of security smart cards and other high end printing products. The business had a load of expensive machines, and premises. Business had grown over the years and was good.
Unfortunately, the Lebanese businessman died. When his wife and son returned to the UAE, it is alleged that they found the good Minister had somehow managed to acquire the company and all its assets, leaving next to nothing for them. She went to the cops. The cops clearly felt there was a case to answer.
Of course, the rumors would have it that its not a very good indication of his chances in court that he’s been sacked as a Minister before the case, and that the public prosectutor agreed to pursue the case at all. In the UAE, a public prosecutor doesn't take on a Minister lightly, especially a relatively rich businessman Minister.
The trend is definitely one of the UAE wanting to be seen as a place where the rule of law takes precedence over the old ways of connections and fiat power, emphasised also by the recent case of the UAE Ministry official who was done for selling visas on the side.
It will be very interesting to see how the big Omani test case of the (well blogged, but poorly reported) Blue City dispute between Cyclone LLC and Bahrain's AAJH ends up, seeing as Cyclone is apparently significantly owned by HH Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq al Said, Oman's Minister of Heritage and Culture.
For those of you living a cave, here's one of the many press reports about the UAE Minister - this one from Gulf News
UAE Minister relieved from post
Published: July 27, 2008, 17:57
Abu Dhabi: President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a federal decree relieving Dr. Khalifa Bakheet Al Falasi from his post as Minister of State, WAM reported.
Gulf News and other newspapers had earlier published a report quoting Dubai's Attorney General Essam Eisa Al Humaidan as saying that the Public Prosecution had referred a minister and his supposed associates to the Dubai Court of First Instance where they would be prosecuted.
The case had been filed by a Lebanese businesswoman.
"A woman allegedly accused the minister of breaching the trust of her family's business, including a huge property and a company based in Dubai," Al Humaidan said.
And the pretty accurate Zawya Story published a week earlier.
U.A.E. Minister Al Falasi Faces Charges Of Fraud - Official
Monday, Jul 21, 2008
BEIRUT (Zawya Dow Jones)--United Arab Emirates Minister of State Khalifa Bakheet Al Falasi will face charges in the emirates for breach of trust and fraud in a case filed by a Lebanese woman, senior Dubai officials said Monday.
Al Falasi's case, referred to court by the Dubai Public Prosecution, was originally filed in Abu Dhabi by the Lebanese woman who claims Al Falasi mishandled the assets of her brother after his death, an official, who declined to be identified, told Zawya Dow Jones Monday.
The Lebanese businessman owned several companies in Dubai and took Al Falasi as a local partner since 1995.
Al Falasi refused to talk about the case after repeated calls to his office by Zawya Dow Jones.
The case is the latest in a series of high profile fraud scandals in Dubai following the arrest of the former chief executive of Deyaar Development Co and a number of business executives linked to an investigation into financial mismanagement at Dubai Islamic Bank.
"The Dubai government will not tolerate any corruption," another senior government official told Zawya Dow Jones Monday. "The public prosecution is taking the case to court." He declined to give further details.
Al Falasi is still officially a member of the U.A.E. government, he said.