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Wed 13 Feb 2013 11:53 AM

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Dubai's Safi Qurashi cleared of bouncing $2.7m cheque

UK businessman, who spent three years in jail, cleared by civil court over cheque fraud

Dubai's Safi Qurashi cleared of bouncing $2.7m cheque
Safi Qurashi.

Safi Qurashi, the UK businessman who spent nearly three years in a Dubai jail, has been cleared by a civil court for bouncing a cheque for AED10m (US$2.7m).

The property developer, who went on hunger strike for seven weeks last year before being released from jail, used the verdict to call on UAE authorities to amend regulations regarding bounced cheques.

“A lot of heartache and pain could have been avoided if only the criminal court took the responsibility of saying that a bounced cheque does not necessarily mean someone has committed fraud,” he told Arabian Business.

“I know I am not alone in sharing the view that the bounced cheque situation requires urgent review and further action by the UAE authorities,” he added.

“As my case and many others perhaps further highlight, police and prosecution officials in the Emirates need to be given the legislative powers to be able to consider mitigating circumstances in bounced cheque cases and establish criminal intent before referring cases to the criminal courts for cheque fraud.”

Qurashi was accused of bouncing three cheques in property deals in Dubai and given a seven-year jail term after a 2010 trial.

The businessman served two 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.

The case was referred to the civil court, which on Tuesday ordered Greenfield Trading pay Qurashi AED1.5m plus compensation after the judge ruled his AED10m security cheque should not have been cashed.

“The civil court final judgment shows that I owed him (Greenfield Trading) absolutely no money and he has to pay me AED1.5m plus compensation. It has vindicated me in a civil court and unanimously proved that I don’t owe him anything,” he said.

Qurashi said the latest criminal charges filed against him by property developer Nakheel, which refer to a plot of land he bought on its Dubai Waterfront development, has been moved from the criminal courts and is currently under investigation with the real estate committee.

His legal team has claimed that Dubai Waterfront, a subsidiary of Nakheel, reneged on its contractual obligations and has requested the cheques are cancelled.

Moh S 6 years ago

What is your obsession with this guy? He's on the front page of ABN every few weeks. There are a million more important things to report.

Move on

Red Snappa 6 years ago

Hopefully this case will highlight the changes required in the legal system.

For example, the encashment of undated guarantee cheques, for the full original amount that is to be repaid by installment, are a completely unfair weapon and is probably a criminally fraudulent act in its own right by the very nature that it is usually a considerably reduced amount that is still outstanding.

These cheques are not issued with any premeditated intent to deceive, of course you do not have an equivalent amount in your bank account, otherwise why would you elect to repay by installments. In fact, you quite likely will never have that amount at any one time in the account. Therefore, reversing the roles, is it not a fraudulent act to encash that cheque, knowing that the money is not in the account and the amount owed is significantly less than the face value of the cheque, or in fact the encasher is not entitled to it at all.

There are many wise judges around the world who would agree!

who you fooling 6 years ago

And the exciting news coming from Kuwait...??!!

The airports going to open 7 years after design was approved perhaps...

Ulevpri 6 years ago

The whole thing is so wrong. He signed a cheque and everyone knows what this means! He should not walk free, he should be made responsible for signing cheques knowing there is no money on his account. If such people walk free now, we can just cancel the rules for cheques and bouncing cases, since it seems you can walk free after signing. If its like this cheques have no value anymore... you sign it, but you walk free even if it is bouncing! everyone can give a security cheque but this means nothing anymore! Totally wrong sign and judgement!

who you fooling 6 years ago

@Ulevpri,

Read the facts the cheque should not of been cashed as he received NOTHING from them.

Do you leave a store without buying anything and give the cashier money in fear of being arrested for merely looking at products!!

Andy 6 years ago

@Ulevpri,
Your analogy above where you mentioned "Do you leave a store without buying anything and give the cashier money in fear of being arrested for merely looking at products!!" is completely wrong.

You do not write a check out for the product/s until your groceries or merchandise were already scanned and bagged at the register. If your check then bounces you are held responsible.

If you write your niece a check for 1000 Dhms for her Birthday present (Just an example) to where she goes to the bank to cash her check only to find that it bounces because there are insufficient funds in your account does that then mean you should not be held liable for check fraud because you received nothing from her in return?? (Using your analogy here of having received nothing in return).

who you fooling 6 years ago

Two business men, one writes a cheque for a product or service, cheque to be cashed when service or product is provided, service not provided cheque cashed......Prison!
Me giving my niece a present for her birthday.........
The same thing.... ???!!
No wonder America is in such a mess if people consider birthday gifts and business deals as one in the same.
Having said that being in America you would not have to worry about going to prison for it would you!!

Patrick Meehan 6 years ago

Arabian Business should be applauded for highlighting that Dubai cheque law jails innocent people and that Safi Qurashi was one businessman who did something about it.

Social injustice is an important topic for the business community, especially as hundreds of people still remain in prison.

Safi’s continued belief in Dubai and documented business activity since his release, should act as an inspiration to business people everywhere. Of course he has not made the front page and there are a million other things to report on, but well done to Arabian Business for good reporting.

Paddy 6 years ago

Arabian Business should be applauded for highlighting that Dubai cheque law jails innocent people and that Safi Qurashi was one businessman who did something about it.

Social injustice is an important topic for the business community, especially as hundreds of people still remain in prison. Safi’s continued belief in Dubai and documented business activity since his release, should act as an inspiration to business people everywhere.

Of course he has not made the front page and there are a million other things to report on, but well done to Arabian Business for good reporting.

who you fooling 6 years ago

@Telco guy,
Of coarse I understand it and I know full well it could happen to me, I have been to Al Aweer taking money to more than one friend. And yes the bank could cash my cheque even though I am 7 aed in credit on my master card and 30 aed in credit on my visa card, this could result in me going to jail or being on bail fighting the case, thats my point its wrong. If I default fine but cashing a cheque when it should not be cashed should be punishable not the other way round!!