Safi Qurashi’s former partner ordered to repay $10.8m by Dubai court

After spending nearly three years in jail, Court of Appeal concludes bounced cheques should never have been banked

Safi Qurashi.

Safi Qurashi.

A Dubai court has again cleared Safi Qurashi, the UK businessman who spent nearly three years in a Dubai jail for bounced cheques, of criminal charges and has ordered the his complainant in the case to repay him over AED40m ($10.8m).

The property developer, who went on hunger strike for seven weeks before being released from jail, was previously cleared of bounced cheques charges.

In the latest court judgement, his complainer and former partner, listed as SD, was ordered to repay over AED40m owed to Qurashi and concluded the security cheques SD presented for payment, and which subsequently bounced and resulted in his conviction, should never have been banked.

“It has taken three years to finally prove my innocence in all three cases lodged against me in the criminal courts. The Supreme Court in 2012 had already overturned two cases with the third one pending. Now that the Court of Appeal has ruled in my favour after experts looked into the cases and evidence - I can finally overturn the third case against me,” he said.

Qurashi, who famously paid $60m for the Great Britain manmade island on Nakheel’s The World development in 2008, was accused of bouncing three cheques in property deals in Dubai and was given a seven-year jail term after a 2010 trial.

He served more than two and a half years in jail before being cleared of two counts of cheque fraud after the courts heard that he had written them as security and that they should have been returned to him rather than cashed.

Qurashi used the latest ruling to appeal to Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to review Dubai’s banking system, which makes it a criminal offence to bounce a cheque.

“There are many lessons to be learnt here. Companies and individuals are using the Dubai criminal courts and the cheque law in its current position to wrongfully claim for money that they are not entitled to. This is largely due to the fact that criminal courts do not consider evidence or whether the complainer has any entitlement to the value of the cheque.

“At times and certainly what has been highlighted in my cases is that the victims of fraud are being jailed in certain bounced cheque cases. The real criminals are the ones who sign contracts and collect postdated cheques and then fail to honour the contracts. They then use the postdated cheques if they bounce or are stopped to open criminal cases and effectively blackmail people into making payments.

“The contracts that have been signed are never considered in almost all these cases. The fact that the claimant has not delivered his/her part of the contract becomes irrelevant and this results in a great injustice.”

Qurashi has since set up a new real estate firm, the Q Group, and will soon announcement plans for the launch of the Great Britain island on The World.

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Posted by: mazar fakhar

So he was wrongfully imprisoned for 3 years and just gets his money back?

Posted by: Ashraf Sheikh

Interesting comments here. My take on this is...I would definitely deal with him considering the fact that (a) Majority of the cases against him are cleared(b) He is still here, which further proves his clean character (c) He definitely knows through experience how not to get into any kind of trouble and how not to get his customers in trouble.

I must admit, although I do not know him personally, I have met him once at a Mosque.

Meet him and you'll know what I mean.

Posted by: Victory

Here we go again!! Having acheived his freedom I thought he may have taken heed and kept quiet - BUT - the flame of fame is too bright for our Pakistani friend.

I am not sure I would be giving Q Group a single cent based on his past record. Planting a flag out there on the world does not mean you have 'arrived'.

I feel genuinely sorry for those poor souls who still are paying for mortgages on properties that have not been (and maybe will not be) delivered.

Posted by: omar faris

the minute you handed over a PDC chq (blank or otherwise)
you accepted the (normal) procedure of doing business.
while i am against the criminalization of bounced chqs, you have to acknowledge that if things go wrong. you better have an exit plan ready.

Posted by: Ihsan Khan


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