Detained in Dubai calls for review of the denial of bail for David Haigh


With Reference to:

Ex-Leeds MD David Haigh's prison blast at GFH Capital http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leeds-28061069 The curious case of David Haigh

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/the-curious-case-of-david-haigh-570059.html?page=0 Radha Stirling, founder of Detained in Dubai: "David Haigh, a prominent public figure and UK citizen who was formerly Managing Director of Leeds United Football Club, was arrested and imprisoned in Dubai in May 2014, pending legal proceedings for accusations of fraud and embezzlement, following a dispute with fomer employer, GFH Capital. More than 200 days after his arrest no criminal charge has been brought against Haigh and he has not been questioned by prosecutors. The matters on which he remains incarcerated remain civil rather than criminal ones. It has been said that evidence will be presented against David that he embezzled funds from the Company using falsely generated invoices. However, David's representatives will present evidence from a handwriting expert to prove that he did not sign the invoices and was not even in the country when these invoices were allegedly signed by him. They will also argue that David was owed sums running into several million pounds sterling by GFH in respect of unpaid salary, commissions, bonuses and expenses during his time with the company and as CEO of Leeds United - a club in which GFH owned the majority shareholding for 15 largely unsuccessful months from December 2012. It is further claimed by the Haigh legal team that the specific reason Haigh flew to Dubai in May was because GFH had asked him to come to their offices to discuss payment of the moneys owed to him as well as to discuss a new job with the company – which he left in dispute two months earlier. Thus Haigh says that, not only has he been wrongfully imprisoned, but that he was only capable of being incarcerated having been lured into the Dubai jurisdiction with that specific aim. In support of this, Haigh’s legal team has issued a High Court writ in London against GFH and its directors claiming a further million pounds in damages for deceit and causing injury to Haigh through wrongful imprisonment resulting in further loss of earnings, health and reputation as well as fundamental breaches of his human rights. The claim was put into the High Court in London in early October although papers were only served on GFH directors Jinesh and Salem Patel this week after what Haigh’s team claims were deliberate and protracted attempts by senior GFH personnel to avoid service. Proceedings involving commercial disputes are slow to resolve through the Dubai legal system. At the outset following his arrest, the Courts set bail for David at over £2.5 million pounds, an extremely high and unachievable amount, many times higher than the bail that was set for Julian Assange. David's worldwide assets were frozen immediately upon his arrest, pending the outcome of this matter and he therefore has a limited ability to fund his legal defence and certainly can not afford the bail amount. The risk of David illegally departing the country is so small, that it is perturbing that he has not been given an achievable bail amount. Mr Matt Joyce, an Australian businessman, was accused of fraud and was placed under house arrest rather than imprisoned during the lengthy judicial process. This gave him the same opportunities that his opponents had to fight his case. He was able to research and assist in the presentation of his side of the matter. He had the same access to his legal representatives as the opposition and therefore put both sides on a level playing field. After years of courtroom battles, Matt Joyce was finally found innocent and allowed to return to Australia, reference: http://www.smh.com.au/business/world-business/matt-joyce-returns-home-after-dubai-ordeal-20131218-2zki1.html In another prominent case, Safi Qarashi was imprisoned for bounced cheques and after much campaigning, finally found innocent and released, reference:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/expat-money/9423555/Briton-Safi-Qurashi-has-convictions-overturned-in-Dubai.html It is important that those accused of financial crimes in the UAE are given the option of being placed under house arrest, throughout their Trials. They are not a risk to the public and should not be treated as guilty without a court judgement. Matt Joyce remained under house arrest and was ultimately found innocent. Safi Qarashi was imprisoned and later released after being found innocent. If Mr Haigh is ultimately found innocent of the allegations, he has unnecessarily and unjustly been imprisoned during this time. The UAE will not award compensation for the injustice and nor will those who made the allegations. Where the accused is not a risk to the public, he should be granted bail and treated as innocent until proven guilty. Governments need to warn their citizens about doing business in the UAE We have received numerous and ongoing reports from different people who have claimed to be victims of business disputes in the UAE, criminalised at the whim of a corporate partner or employer. These cases have included local sponsors who realise they are in a power position and can make financial demands or misuse the criminal justice system to make false claims against their foreign partners. This often results in the foreigner either losing a lot of money or being imprisoned for crimes they have not committed. It is difficult for a foreigner with limited access to funds, to defend themselves properly in a very slow and expensive judicial system, while not being allowed to work. Governments need to warn their citizens of the dangers and risks involved in doing business in the UAE, so that they are better equipped to protect themselves. Criminal charges can be easily initiated in civil matters, with little initial evidence and can result in years of imprisonment, pending the outcome of a Trial. Even if bail is granted, the accused will not be able to work during the ordeal, leading to extreme financial difficulties and the inability to retain defence counsel. Media Contact Radha Stirling is available for email, telephone and skype interviews. To contact Radha Stirling, founder, www.detainedindubai.org, call +44 7050 686 745, More information can be obtained at www.detainedindubai.org

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