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Bouncing checks still a crime for expats in UAE

ABU DHABI: Foreigners still risk being imprisoned for bouncing checks in the UAE, as a government order which decriminalizes the offense applies only to local citizens, an official statement said.
The statement was issued to clarify contradictory reports in local media, after some reports this week said foreigners no longer faced criminal penalties for writing checks that bounced.
The UAE’s tough penalties for defaulting on checks were relaxed for local citizens in October after a royal decree was issued, but the threat of jail remains for the country’s large expatriate population.
A debt settlement fund launched by the government is “concerned only with settling all the debts of only Emirati citizens,” state news agency WAM quoted the government statement as saying.
“The relevant mechanisms set by the fund for this purpose apply only to relevant UAE citizens, and not others, and this includes the decriminalize security checks presented by UAE citizens to banks and financial firms.”

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