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Fri 20 Mar 2015 02:22 AM

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Dubai's GFH Capital hits back at jailed ex-Leeds Utd chief's claims

David Haigh’s team has issued 'misleading information to the media', finance company says

Dubai's GFH Capital hits back at jailed ex-Leeds Utd chief's claims
David Haigh, former deputy chief executive of Dubai-based GFH Capital. (Getty Images)

Dubai’s GFH Capital, a subsidiary of Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House, has hit out at recent media coverage regarding an interview with its former deputy chief executive David Haigh, who is currently in jail in Dubai on allegations of embezzling $6.4 million.

Haigh, also the former managing director of Leeds United football club, claimed in an interview with the charity Prisoners Abroad, he was being held without questioning, trial or charge and his incarceration had driven him to think about taking his own life.

"I was beyond desperate. I was suicidal. I even planned to hang myself on the cell door and managed to find some strong material. I just wanted it all to end - to get rid of the fear, desperation and the pain. It was crushing me."

Haigh and GFH have made numerous counter claims against each other since the former club manager was arrested in Dubai in May.

Haigh is accused of embezzling at least £4 million ($6.2 million) from his former employer by fabricating about 100 invoices and arranging payment into at least four different bank accounts in Dubai, London and Manchester.

In a civil case, GFH is seeking $5 million in damages plus costs and “such further or other relief as the court thinks fit”.

GFH launched legal action against Haigh following his arrest soon after arriving at GFH’s Dubai offices on May 18.

Haigh had resigned from GFHC in March, a month before resigning as managing director of Leeds United.

Haigh counters that he was dishonestly lured to Dubai to be arrested and is claiming £1 million in damages for pain and suffering, loss of liberty, earnings and reputation.

Haigh and his communications representatives have issued a steady stream of press releases in a bid to generate headlines for the various legal actions it has brought against GFH.

In a bid to counter the allegations, GFH has issued the following detailed response exclusively to Arabian Business.

“David Haigh has been making numerous allegations that have appeared in various media outlets about GFH, the Bahrain-based financial investment group and its subsidiary, GFH Capital, the Dubai-based investment bank, and the criminal and civil proceedings he faces.

"GFH has opted to date to avoid responding to Haigh’s claims, believing that it is proper to await the outcome of the legal process. Sadly, Mr Haigh has made a number of statements which have to be corrected. We hope that this statement will shed some light on his allegations,” the GFH statement said.

“The truth of the matter is that during a review of GFH Capital’s business, GFH uncovered compelling evidence that David Haigh had committed massive fraud and embezzlement by stealing the bank’s money. As a regulated financial institution, GFH reported this to the Dubai police and to the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

"When Mr Haigh arrived in Dubai, he was arrested by the Dubai police. The public prosecutor in Dubai is now pursuing criminal proceedings against him. Meanwhile Mr Haigh keeps on providing misleading information to the media claiming that he is innocent and has in some way been detained unjustifiably.

“Unlike what Mr Haigh is claiming, his arrest and subsequent detention was in full accordance with the applicable law, based initially on the decision of the public prosecutor and later on the decision of the criminal court. Mr. Haigh has been interrogated and subsequently arrested after a court reviewed his file. Furthermore, Mr Haigh was and remains entitled to submit an application for bail.

“GFH also commenced civil litigation in the Dubai International Finance Centre Courts to recover the money from Mr Haigh. Worldwide freezing injunctions have been made by a retired English High Court Judge who now sits in the DIFC, and also by the English High Court. These orders are not granted lightly. To obtain them, GFH had to show respected and experienced Judges that they had a strong case that Mr Haigh had defrauded them.

“The basic fact is that money was channelled from GFH to bank accounts Mr Haigh denied having any control over or indeed even any recollection of their existence. However, documents obtained via proceedings in London show that these accounts did actually belong to Mr Haigh. He has given no explanation as to how this happened. Nor has he explained why he lied.

“Attempting to divert the attention from the criminal and civil proceedings in the UAE, Mr Haigh further threatens groundless legal proceedings against GFH and now its staff. He has taken great steps to publicise these proceedings while at the same time insisting that he has limited access to his advisers.

“These facts should suggest to any impartial observer that Mr Haigh is unable to explain away his role in a serious fraud, and is instead trying to abuse the courts and the media in the hope that he can put pressure on GFH to stop pursuing its rightful claims. In light of the above, the bank felt that it’s bound to issue this statement.”

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Robert Carter 5 years ago

Assuming that the UAE authorities have NOT yet made a decision of Guilt, WHY is 1 (one) side (David Haigh) of the Case in Jail ,and the other GFH, not ?. Strikes me as one sided Justice ,at least appearance wise.