Panaji: Supporters of Ryan de Souza, one of the two Goans sentenced to 517 years in jail in a Ponzi scam in Dubai, on Thursday urged External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to help him, and started an online campaign to garner support.
They claim the 24-year-old former footballer was falsely implicated in the case.
“We humbly request Sushma Swaraj ji to please consider our petition to save an innocent man from an unfair verdict. He is innocent and is being made a scapegoat.
“On the whole, he worked for four months in accounts, before the Dubai Department of Economic Development sealed the company in June. How can they say he is responsible?
“Ryan resigned and as his visa was due to expire, he decided to return to Goa, but was detained at the airport on February 10, 2017, was in prison until now, and sentenced to a term similar to that of owner Sydney Lemos,” a petition uploaded by one Nikhil Francos said, which got support from over 2,200 netizens in less than 24 hours.
On April 11, de Souza, along with his employer Sydney Lemos, promoter of the Exential Group, were sentenced by the Dubai Misdemeanours Court for involvement in a multi-million dollar Ponzi scam.
de Souza, 24, was arrested while attempting to leave the Emirates, even as his parents claimed in the online petition on change.org that they too had lost money in the Ponzi scam.
Lemos was formerly a sponsor of FC Goa, an Indian Super League football team.
de Souza played for a Dubai football club owned by Lemos, before he joined his company as senior accounts specialist.
“He was just a faithful employee who has been accused for being the right-hand man of Sydney Lemos. A young man of good values has been hit by a huge tragedy, who with your help will be given justice,” the petition added.