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Originally published Monday, March 25, 2013 at 3:18 AM

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US businessman gets 15 years in Dubai fraud case

A Dubai court has convicted an American businessman for fraud and sentenced him to 15 years' imprisonment after a nearly five-year legal battle that included a hunger strike and a failed attempt to flee.

The Associated Press

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates —

A Dubai court has convicted an American businessman for fraud and sentenced him to 15 years' imprisonment after a nearly five-year legal battle that included a hunger strike and a failed attempt to flee.

The case against Lebanese-born Zack Shahin also brought diplomatic tensions between the United Arab Emirates and the Unites States, which backed Shahin's demand for a trial after years in detention.

Washington did not immediately comment on Monday's sentencing, which also includes fines totaling more than $7.8 million for Shahin and three others.

The Dubai criminal court found Shahin guilty of taking nearly $5.5 million in bribes as head of Dubai-based Deyaar Development. He denied wrongdoing.

Shahin staged a hunger strike before being granted bail in July 2012. He escaped to Yemen, but was returned to Dubai.

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