Jailed former Leeds Utd boss in talks to write a book

Two publishers have made offers to chronicle David Haigh's life at the football club and arrest in Dubai on fraud charges
David Haigh, former deputy chief executive of Dubai-based GFH Capital. (Getty Images)
By Shane McGinley
Fri 11 Jul 2014 01:42 AM

Former Leeds United boss David Haigh is currently considering two offers from publishers to write a book about his time managing the football club and his subsequent arrest and imprisonment in Dubai for allegedly embezzling $6.4 million.

Haigh helped GFH Capital, a subsidiary of Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House, buy Leeds United in December 2012 but resigned as managing director of the club in April following Massimo Cellino’s purchase of a 75 percent stake in the club. He has been held in a Dubai jail since late May amid allegations, which he has denied, of financial irregularities whilst working for GFHC.

Arabian Business understands that two publishers, one from the UK and one international, have approached Haigh to turn his experience into a book and the 36-year-old is currently considering the offers.

The Daily Telegraph quoted a source as saying Haigh will make a decision on the deal “if and when he gets out of prison”.

Haigh was arrested when he arrived at GFH’s Dubai office on May 18 on the premise of discussing a new job. He has 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.

In a hearing at the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts last month, in which a freezing order on Haigh’s assets.

In its statement of claim, GFHC alleges that while working as deputy CEO for the Gulf finance company Haigh created a spate of false invoices for third party work that was then paid for into bank accounts operated by him.

As part of his defence against GFHC’s claims, Haigh’s team has disputed that such a volume and frequency of invoices could have been issued without the knowledge of senior GFHC people and that “many of the signatures purporting to be his may be forgeries”.

In an interview with the BBC, Haigh said he had made mistakes during his time as deputy CEO of Dubai-based GFH Capital, and regretted signing blank cheques and also allowing other staff access to his computer and emails.

A spokesman for Haigh said this week that “he believes that the position in which the actions of GFH and their lawyers have placed him is in breach of his fundamental human rights”.

“None of us want to be in this situation. Unfortunately a fraud has been perpetrated on massive scale and over a period of time – at least 18 months – and we are duty bound as an organisation that is regulated, supervised as well as run on Islamic principles to actually undertake an investigation and bring it to the attention of authorities across Dubai and the UK and that’s what we’ve done,” GFH Capital executive Jinesh Patel told BBC Radio Leeds earlier this month.

“It’s not about personalising an issue whatsoever, it’s really about recovery of the assets and the money that’s been taken from GFH Capital fraudulently and seeking recover of those.”

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