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Fri 7 Oct 2016 01:48 PM

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Former RAKIA chief slams 'false charges', awaits decision on $1.5bn fraud extradition

Khater Massaad claims there has been a 'fundamental violation of human rights' in respect of allegations

Former RAKIA chief slams 'false charges', awaits decision on $1.5bn fraud extradition
Khater Massaad was chief executive of the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority from 2007-12.

A former senior official of a key development body in Ras Al Khaimah who faces allegations of a $1.5 billion fraud has spoken out, claiming he should be awarded damages for the "false charges which amount to nothing more than extortion".

Last month Khater Massaad was detained at Jeddah airport, in the west of the kingdom, under an arrest warrant issued by the government of Ras Al Khaimah.

The arrest was confirmed by a statement from the RAK government, which said it would seek the Swiss national's return to the United Arab Emirates to stand trial.

Massaad now awaits the decision of the Saudi authorities in response to the request by Ras Al Khaimah for his extradition.

In a statement issued through Saudi-based law firm Salah Al-Hejailan, Massaad, now the CEO of Star Industrial Holdings, said: "I have been told that the request by RAK for my extradition is based on two criminal judgments against me and others in the RAK courts dating from 2015. These allegations are made by the emirate itself acting as the owner of the businesses.

"However, I have never been served with a summons for either of the two cases made against me which means I have never been able to defend myself in court. Indeed, I do not even know the particulars of the allegations, nor seen any of the documents attempting to substantiate the allegations, nor been served with the judgments nor even had sight of any other documents which claim to make a case against me in these seemingly secret and even mysterious legal cases.

"In short, this is a total and absolute abuse of anyone's understanding of what might be the proper judicial due process. There has consequently been a fundamental violation of my human rights in respect of such allegations which at worst are no more than a straightforward business or civil dispute.

"By any international standard of judicial co-operation or even common decency, it is clear that there is no legitimate basis for my extradition, and certainly none back to a jurisdiction so clearly lacking any of its own proper judicial procedures."

His statement follows what the RAK government described in early August as a breakdown in talks with Massaad in relation to "global embezzlement and mismanagement of $1.5 billion" during his tenure as chief executive of the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA).

Massaad has continually insisted that the charges brought by the RAK government are unfounded, and that an October 2015 trial at which he was convicted in absentia by an RAK court of corruption and fraud had numerous flaws.

Massaad ran RAKIA from 2007 until 2012. He was also behind the establishment of RAK Ceramics - the emirate's most prominent company and one of the world's largest makers of porcelain goods.

In his statement, he added: "As regards my own credentials, I am asking the pertinent authorities in Saudi Arabia and RAK to judge me on my personal, business and academic background as well as the many people of high standing and regard who will vouch for my own good standing and attachment to strong business ethics and morals. 

"As a further demonstration of my good faith in justice, I am prepared to answer all and any of the allegations in a court of arbitral forum in any jurisdiction where the independence of the judiciary is accepted and where fair and just judgments and arbitral awards can be assured, which could be either in Saudi Arabia or in Switzerland.

"Moreover, my Saudi business partner is prepared to provide a letter of guarantee. In reality however, I am the one who is still owed considerable sums by RAK and not only for my contributions to the development of the emirate but now also for damages for the false charges which amount to nothing more than extortion."

Fentoni 3 years ago

1. Khater Massaad ""...I am prepared to answer all and any of the allegations in a court ...in any jurisdiction where the independence of the judiciary is accepted and where fair and just judgments and arbitral awards can be assured, which could be either in Saudi Arabia or in Switzerland."
In whose reality is the independence of the judiciary in Saudi Arabia accepted? 2. "However, I have never been served with a summons for either of the two cases made against me which means I have never been able to defend myself in court." ..If you flee the country before RAK courts could issue a summons then how can you be served with one? Now you'll be forced to return to answer the allegations unless you flee to another country that doesn't have extradition agreements with the UAE.