Australian jailed in Dubai for 10 years pleads with developer after it admits defeat in parallel case in Australia
An Australian man jailed in Dubai has appealed to the developer that launched the legal action against him to "undo this monstrous injustice" after the company admits defeat in a parallel case in Australia.
Matthew Joyce, who was found guilty in July of defrauding Australian developer Sunland of $15m in a property deal over a plot on the failed Dubai Waterfront project, made his appeal the same day the firm announced it would drop its High Court appeal against a damning judgement in an Australian court.
Joyce was sentenced to 10 years’ jail and ordered to pay $20m in July, along with fellow Australian businessman Angus Reed who was convicted in absentia.
A third man, Marcus Lee, who worked for state-owned master developer of Dubai Waterfront, Nakheel, was found not guilty. He had been held under house arrest in Dubai along with Joyce since June 2009.
The men were found guilty despite Sunland losing a parallel legal case launched in Australia in which the company sought $15m damages from Joyce and Reed.
In that case, the judge denounced Sunland’s ''fabrications'' and claimed the company had an ''ulterior motive'' for bringing the case – to support its fraud allegations in Dubai.
Two key witnesses also were found to be unreliable.
Sunland lost an appeal against the decision. It had launched a last ditch attempt in the Australian High Court but on Thursday said it would not pursue the action.
"[The company has] resolved on balance not to pursue its applications for special leave to appeal to the High Court in respect of the decision of the Victorian Court of Appeal in relation to the above civil case," the company said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.
Joyce said the company's case against him "was now over".
"Sunland sought to intimidate and bully me through the legal process in Australia," he said in a statement. "It failed.
"I continue to suffer the consequences of Sunland's actions - actions which have forever damaged my family, my career and health.
"If it has any sense of morality or fairness it would arrange for [Sunland's chairman] Soheil Abedian and [Sunland executive] David Brown to return to Dubai with their lawyer, Ron Eames, to attempt to undo this monstrous injustice."
A spokesperson for Reed's company Prudentia called on the Australian government to alert the Dubai authorities that "Mr Joyce and Mr Lee are the innocent victims of a false complaint by Sunland", Australia’s public broadcaster ABC reported.
"Prudentia once again calls on Sunland Group to now do the right thing and withdraw their complaints to the Dubai authorities so that Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee can come home as soon as possible," the spokesperson added.
All three men are appealing their Dubai judgements.