- Associated Press - Sunday, May 29, 2016

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - A Dubai court sentenced an American businessman to 15 years in prison on Sunday after convicting him on theft and fraud charges.

Zack Shahin was sentenced at the Dubai Criminal Court over a 2007 Texas land deal, according to the Abu Dhabi government-owned daily, The National. Three other Americans received similar sentences in absentia. The defendants were also fined 56 million dirhams ($15.3 million).

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in the Emirates, David Duerden, said the mission is following Shahin’s case “very closely.”

“We are aware that today a sentence was announced in a case against Mr. Shahin. Legal proceedings are continuing and we will continue to provide consular services to Mr. Shahin,” he said. Shahin’s lawyers could not be reached.

Shahin is a former head of Dubai-based property company Deyaar Development who was detained in a 2008 embezzlement probe. He staged a hunger strike in 2012, then escaped to Yemen after being granted bail but was caught and returned to Dubai.

He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in a separate judgment in 2014.

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