Jailed ex-Leeds Utd chief says still waiting to be interviewed by police

After six weeks in a Dubai prison, David Haigh vows to clear name of 'all the smears and innuendoes'
David Haigh, former deputy chief executive of Dubai-based GFH Capital. (Getty Images)
By Andy Sambidge
Wed 25 Jun 2014 04:33 PM

David Haigh, the former managing director of Leeds United FC who has been in a Dubai jail for six weeks on allegations of falsifying invoices worth $5 million, said on Wednesday he has not yet been interviewed by police or public prosecutors.

In a statement released through UK-based Ian Monk Associates, Haigh, the former deputy CEO of Dubai-based GFH Capital, said he was committed to clearing his name in Dubai and the UK of "all the smears and innuendoes brought against him".

"Whatever the outcome of his continued bail applications David does not intend to leave Dubai until he has fully defended himself against all claims made against him in the commercial claim brought by GFH," the statement said.

"He has no intention of becoming a scapegoat for his former employers, whose allegations of wrongdoing against him he believes to be totally unfounded and whose conduct in bringing them in such a manner he believes to be an abuse of both Dubai’s legal process and of his own fundamental human rights."

The statement added that attempts to defend himself against the allegation have been frustrated by the denial to him of access to his computer and phone records - and even to a pen and paper.

"Additionally he is allowed only minimal access to his lawyers whom he is currently unable to pay because of the freezing by the DIFC, at the request of GFH, of his bank accounts," the statement said.

GFH Capital, a subsidiary of Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House, launched legal action against Haigh, 36, late last month, with a statement of claim alleging that while working for the finance company he created a spate of false invoices for third party work that was then paid for into bank accounts operated by him.

Haigh has also been referred to the Public Prosecution for trial on charges of “embezzlement, swindling and breach of trust”, but to date no criminal charges have been brought against him and the matter is still listed as under “investigation” on the Dubai Public Prosecution website.

Haigh, who negotiated GFH Capital’s takeover of Leeds from former owner Ken Bates in 2012, as well as its on-sale to current owner Massimo Cellino this year, was arrested shortly after arriving in Dubai on May 18.

In the statement, Haigh said the current situation means he is also unable to properly pursue his own claims against GFH, either in the courts or with the Bahrain and Dubai financial regulatory bodies. These claims relate to monies owed to him by GFH and to the conduct of GFH in various commercial areas.

The statement said while he has no criticism of either the Dubai judicial system or its police, Haigh claimed that GFH and its lawyers Gibson Dunn are deliberately misusing the Dubai processes to frustrate his right to defend himself against GFH’s commercial claim to which he believes his email and phone records contain a full defence.

The statement also said Haigh's health is "suffering significantly" during his imprisonment.

"He is in daily pain due to serious stomach surgery which GFH were aware he underwent shortly being tricked into flying to Dubai. He is also suffering from dental pain."

Updates:

08:35 / June 26: A spokesman for GFH Capital issued the following statement to Arabian Business: "The recent statement by David Haigh concerning the
current situation he finds himself in is noted. It is unfortunate that David Haigh continues to
brief the media with repeated but vague allegations of impropriety against GFH
Capital and its lawyers, but asserts before the DIFC Court that he is unable to
answer GFH Capital’s claim against him.

"It is inappropriate for us to comment on such
general allegations made only to the media, however we note that Mr Haigh’s
most recent press statements repeat an unparticularised allegation concerning a
purported conflict on the part of GFH Capital’s lawyers first raised by Mr
Haigh’s lawyers at a hearing before the DIFC Court on 3 June 2014. Mr Haigh’s
lawyers were invited by the Court to make an application if they wished to
pursue those allegations; to date, no such application has been made.

"GFH Capital understands that Mr Haigh is currently
detained in Dubai by judicial authority rather than police action, following
applications for bail on his part. Separately, the DIFC Court has imposed a world-wide
freezing order over Mr Haigh’s assets following two hearings at which Mr
Haigh’s lawyers were present. The freezing order was applied for by GFH Capital
and granted on the basis that Mr Haigh is permitted access to funds to pay his
lawyers. Mr Haigh has had the opportunity to apply to discharge the search order
and has chosen not to do so."

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