By Staff writer
Dubai lawyers representing David Haigh will mount a defence that the former Leeds Utd chief was owed millions in unpaid dues by his former employer GFH Capital
Lawyers for the former Leeds United chief executive currently in jail in Dubai, David Haigh, are to claim as part of his defence that the funds he is accused of misappropriating from his former employers was owed to him anyway in unpaid salary, commissions and expenses, it was reported.
GFH Capital, the former owners of Leeds United football club who currently retain a 25 percent stake, claims Haigh embezzled at least £4million ($6.4 million) by creating nearly 100 fake invoice, while head of their private equity arm.
In October, GFHC released transcripts of a court hearing in September during which bank statements in Haigh’s name were produced.
GFHC claims all three accounts show money was transferred into them from their accounts between January and December, 2013, using the allegedly fraudulent invoices.
“These statements therefore remove any doubt that Mr Haigh was in receipt of these funds,” GFHC said.
Haigh, whose assets have been frozen globally as part of the investigation, has denied the allegations and claims evidence by a handwriting expert will prove signatures on the invoices are fake.
The 37-year-old has been detained in a Dubai jail since May, when he returned to the emirate on the premise of discussing with GFHC about a new work opportunity.
In the latest twist in the case, which has played out in regular headlines in the UAE and the UK, Haigh’s legal team has written to the Football League, making a serious allegation against GFHC.
The letter claims the investment house used funds to finance the 2012 purchase of Leeds United that were a potential breach of US Iran sanctions, according to the Daily Mail.
The report also claims the letter gives an insight into the defence Haigh’s lawyers will mount when the case comes before the DIFC Courts.
“Well-placed sources acknowledge Haigh did indeed receive the funds he is accused of misappropriating from GFH although his defence, whenever it is lodged, will say he was owed the cash in salary, commissions and expenses,” the Daily Mail report said.
This correspondents with several legal actions launched recently by Haigh’s lawyers. In early October, Haigh’s team filed a claim of deceit in the High Court, London, against GFHC. The claim details allegations of a calculated deceit aimed at luring him out of the UK and into the jurisdiction of Dubai and the statement at the time said the financial claim was expected to be in the millions of pounds sterling.
Later that month, Haigh’s lawyers filed a second case against GFHC in Dubai, claiming the financial institution breached its employment contract and owed him unpaid commissions and other benefits.
“The DIFC claim lodged by my lawyers represents only a tiny fraction of the amounts I shall be claiming from GFHC who I believe have misused the Dubai legal system to have me incarcerated,” his statement said.
“The conditions of my detention have made it impossible to prepare a speedy defence or counterclaims to their allegations against me. However, my legal team has now almost completed my defence and is now proceeding with my counterclaims.
“I am confident that the defence they will shortly issue on my behalf will completely exonerate me while raising serious questions about my incarceration,” he added.
In relation to the latest reports, a GFHC spokesperson told the Daily Mail: “We are not aware of this letter and so cannot comment in any detail. We are satisfied GFH has always behaved in an appropriate manner... However, one of our former employees has been subject to both criminal and civil investigation over a variety of possible criminal actions, including fraud and money laundering, during the last few months and we are therefore unable to answer on specifics.”For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
What is going on exactly? Can the justice be manipulated by people and lawyers that much? Verdicts will be hopefully informative and if wrong doings were performed who is going to repair the injustice and how can we prevent such cases?