By Gavin Gibbon
Founder of UK-based Autism Rocks, Sanjay Shah, subject of tax fraud allegations in Denmark totalling 1.5bn UK pounds
The Dubai Autism Rocks Support Centre has closed its doors.
The facility, located in Dubai Healthcare City, opened in 2017 and provided support for children on the autism spectrum and their families.
The UK-based charity was established in 2014 by Sanjay Shah, a British multi-millionaire businessman living on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, who is accused of defrauding Danish tax payers out of £1.5 billion.
As well as the Danish tax authority Skat, authorities are looking into Shah in Germany, Norway, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the United States in connection with a complex tax fraud often associated with specialised stock dividend trades known as “dividend stripping” or Cum-Ex trading.
The father-of-three has strenuously denied all allegations, according to media reports, and has not been charged, although the claims are subject to a civil case at London’s high court brought against Shah by Denmark’s tax authority.
However, as a result of the ongoing investigations, Shah’s assets in Britain and the UAE have been frozen by the High Court of Justice in the UK.
That has led to the closure of the Dubai Autism Rocks Centre.
Shah’s spokesperson Jack Irvine, a PR and crisis communications guru based in the UK, told Arabian Business: “Because of the continuing freezing order on Sanjay’s Dubai bank accounts he could no longer continue to financially support the centre. Sadly, 30 autistic children have had to find alternative facilities. As the father of an autistic child, Sanjay is heartbroken at this turn of events.”
The centre provided gold standard, multidisciplinary therapy services to children on the autism spectrum and their families. This included applied behavioural analysis, speech therapy, occupation therapy and psychology.
The charity, according to its latest UK accounts, has benefited from more than £1.1m from Mr Shah’s companies.
Nile Rodgers, Guns ‘N Roses, and Justin Bieber are just a few of the musicians who have given concerts for the charity, and Prince performed at an intimate London venue organised in 2015.
Dubai-based private investment house Solo Capital Partners, founded by Shah, was wound up in 2015 amid reports the company was one of several being investigated by Danish authorities as part of the alleged tax fraud.
According to a report in The National last year, a case against Shah’s wife Usha, the founder and chief executive of Dubai’s Autism Rocks Support Centre, was thrown out by a Dubai court but was said to be appealing the ruling.
Earlier this week, UK newspaper The Guardian revealed that Denmark’s serious economic and international crime police department had seized a £14.7m mansion near Hyde Park, in central London, belonging to Shah.