Crime and Courts

Leeds United’s ex-MD held for Dh23.7 million fraud in a Dubai firm

Staff Reporter
Filed on May 24, 2014

The company discovered the legal irregularities committed by Haigh when it conducted its annual internal accounting audit.

The Dubai Police have arrested David Lawrence Haigh, former deputy chief executive and legal consultant of private equity group GFH Capital Limited on charge of breach of trust and referred him to the Public Prosecution for trial, reports Wam.

GFH Capital, a Dubai International Financial Centre-based company, had filed a lawsuit against Haigh, who is also former managing director of English foot-ball club Leeds United, for embezzling Dh23.7 million.

The company discovered the legal irregularities committed by Haigh when it conducted its annual internal accounting audit.

BBC said GFH claims the alleged wrongdoing is directly connected to the equity group’s ownership and subsequent sale of Leeds to Italian Massimo Cellino.

According to UK Press reports, 36-year-old Haigh was one of the men behind GFH’s purchase of Leeds from Ken Bates in December 2012.

The reports said he resigned from his job at GFH Capital in February with Cellino closing in on a 75 per cent takeover of Leeds and was due to become the club’s chief executive when the Italian businessman’s takeover went through in April.

But his relationship with Cellino deteriorated rapidly and he resigned from his position as managing director, quitting the club within a week of Cellino finalising his takeover on April 7.

The reports quoted a British Foreign Office spokesman as saying: “We are aware of the arrest of a British national in Dubai on 18 May 2014. We are providing consular assistance.” The Yorkshire Evening Post quoted GFH Capital as saying in a statement: “GFH Capital understands that a former employee has been arrested in Dubai and charged on suspicion of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering while he was employed at the bank.

“We are unable to provide any further details at this stage while the case is being considered by the authorities.” The paper also quoted a friend of Haigh’s as saying: “David has done nothing wrong or illegal. He’s appalled to find himself in this position.”

“However, a someone who knows Dubai well and respects its institutions, he’s confident that the authorities will see these allegations for what they really are and clear him of any wrong-doing,” the friend told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

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