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Wed 4 Dec 2013 09:53 AM

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Safi Qurashi’s former partner ordered to repay $10.8m by Dubai court

After spending nearly three years in jail, Court of Appeal concludes bounced cheques should never have been banked

Safi Qurashi’s former partner ordered to repay $10.8m by Dubai court
Safi Qurashi.

A Dubai court has again cleared Safi Qurashi, the UK businessman who spent nearly three years in a Dubai jail for bounced cheques, of criminal charges and has ordered the his complainant in the case to repay him over AED40m ($10.8m).

The property developer, who went on hunger strike for seven weeks before being released from jail, was previously cleared of bounced cheques charges.

In the latest court judgement, his complainer and former partner, listed as SD, was ordered to repay over AED40m owed to Qurashi and concluded the security cheques SD presented for payment, and which subsequently bounced and resulted in his conviction, should never have been banked.

“It has taken three years to finally prove my innocence in all three cases lodged against me in the criminal courts. The Supreme Court in 2012 had already overturned two cases with the third one pending. Now that the Court of Appeal has ruled in my favour after experts looked into the cases and evidence - I can finally overturn the third case against me,” he said.

Qurashi, who famously paid $60m for the Great Britain manmade island on Nakheel’s The World development in 2008, was accused of bouncing three cheques in property deals in Dubai and was given a seven-year jail term after a 2010 trial.

He served more than two and a half 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.

Qurashi used the latest ruling to appeal to Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to review Dubai’s banking system, which makes it a criminal offence to bounce a cheque.

“There are many lessons to be learnt here. Companies and individuals are using the Dubai criminal courts and the cheque law in its current position to wrongfully claim for money that they are not entitled to. This is largely due to the fact that criminal courts do not consider evidence or whether the complainer has any entitlement to the value of the cheque.

“At times and certainly what has been highlighted in my cases is that the victims of fraud are being jailed in certain bounced cheque cases. The real criminals are the ones who sign contracts and collect postdated cheques and then fail to honour the contracts. They then use the postdated cheques if they bounce or are stopped to open criminal cases and effectively blackmail people into making payments.

“The contracts that have been signed are never considered in almost all these cases. The fact that the claimant has not delivered his/her part of the contract becomes irrelevant and this results in a great injustice.”

Qurashi has since set up a new real estate firm, the Q Group, and will soon announcement plans for the launch of the Great Britain island on The World.

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DRB1 5 years ago

Actually, a lot of individuals and companies use the bounced cheque as a mechanism for what can only be described as extortion.Unfortunately, I was a victim also - a very well known property company owned by a very prominent Emirati went to the police with a cheque that I had issued, that had bounced. The Police were called first rather than coming to me. If they had, I would paid immediately - it was an oversight and I was not in financial difficulty.

I was none the wiser, until having gone to the airport I was told of the police case, thrown into jail, and prevented from leaving. I surrendered my passport and was told I'd get it back when I return with a letter from the complainant stating I had repaid the debt.

Having gone to the complainant I was told of their additional 'fees' and charges they wanted now, for them to issue the simple letter to dubai police - well over AED 40,000 for a letter. (over 150% of the bounced cheque total)! This is extortion, in its most basic form.

M.Saleh 5 years ago

Why does this loser end up on the front page of AB every few months?

Get on with it. There are a million more important things to discuss.

Move on, for god's sake.

Mark Reed 5 years ago

I am no fan of Quraishi, but I would certainly disagree with you calling him a loser.

His case (along with many other cases) highlight the shortcomings of the Dubai/UAE banking system. Therefore I believe that writing about his case is a valid way of trying to make the necessary changes to the existing banksystem so that simialar mistakes can be avoided in the future.

Ahmad 5 years ago

Way to go Safi. Your perseverance has finaly been successfull.
But a question remains: who will compensate the almost three years spent in jail?

Good luck for the future

ScottS 5 years ago

@M.Saleh. Because he's a personal friend of the editor.

Saqib 5 years ago

He is not a Loser infact inspiration for all those who are in similar situation, a fighter who challenged the Justice system, Only a Loser can write what you wrote brother.

Amirah 5 years ago

Do you know him , if not I would abstain from making defamatory comments that are not constructive.

This issue has affected the lives of 100's if not 100o's of people in the region. His case highlighted the need for the Emirati authorities to take some action which resulted in the release of 100's of prisoners in 2012. Be it those released were Emirati where flight risk was not an issue.
Next steps would be legal and banking reforms. A step by step approach without diluting the need to be able to pursue criminal fraud allegations - This issue affects us and our families and has far reaching repercussions . Most of us expats may well supposedly be on the wrong side of the law. This is not about looking at the problem but more importantly about finding the solution.

turk 5 years ago

@M.Saleh...He definitely doesn't look like a loser to me. He won the case, didn't he therefore how can he be a loser? His case his given light on the defects and loopholes of the banking system which are being taken advantage of usurpers. If there is any loser here, I definitely think it is you for not having the mental capability of understanding things before giving a wayward comment....Thanks Safi for the inspiration in fighting for what is right...

Isra 5 years ago

What about all of those that couldn't put up a fight and have ended up in jail. Isn't about time the emirates found a solution , even an interim solution as human rights abuses like this are not tolerated in this modern age. We just have to look at the region to know this. With its advanced infrastructure and progressive vision and thinking Dubai and the rest of the emirates should not let banks and individual or corporate interests stop it making progress with Human Rights issues.
The UAE has done so much more than other countries in the Middle East to protect its people and the nation and create a stable environment. Don't let this down by using laws in the wrong way or allowing them to be used. This should not happen under HH Sheikh Mohammed's watch. No Way.
I hope UAE leaders have a major shake up in the FNC on this subject.

Iftikhar Ali 5 years ago

The verdict is praise-worthy-a very talented entepreneur who brought glory to IT industry and contributed to education social issues has been vindicated and pronounced innocent
Reward will come from God for an honourable man