The woes of Marvin Dela Cruz, the president and CEO of IT flop SquidPay Inc., are mounting as he and his partner are wanted by authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for embezzlement of funds.
Based on documents shared by a Babbler, Dubai courts found Dela Cruz and his partner, Raissa Queri, guilty of defrauding a client for amounts totaling 10.5 million dirhams or P156.9 million.
Warrants of arrest are out for Cruz and Queri following a December 2021 conviction which found that they deceived Mohammed Al Husary, owner of a global aviation firm, and got his money fraudulently.
The court imposed a six-month jail sentence on Dela Cruz plus a $1.95 million penalty (about P104 million). Queri is also sentenced to six months in jail and fine of $800,000.
The court found that Dela Cruz asked the Dubai national to invest in his company U-Hop Inc. and finance its expansion in Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
U-Hop was supposedly a ride-sharing service similar to Grab. This brand, however, did not fly in Manila.
The investor found out later that U-Hop is not a registered company, thus his decision to press charges.
Dela Cruz incorporated a U-Hop branch in the US and claimed he had big-time investors like boxing champ Floyd Mayweather, which convinced the UAE national to put his money in between October to December 2019.
Al Husary said he knew Dela Cruz from their time in Harvard and agreed to open a U-Hop branch in Dubai with him as a significant shareholder.
Dela Cruz’s SquidPay, a financial technology firm, is also facing a separate set of criminal cases in Manila and recently had its license to operate revoked by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas over allegedly fraudulent loans.
A red notice has been issued for the couple by UAE authorities. This means they can be arrested even by foreign law enforcers when they are spotted in any country.
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