In news which would be deemed illegal under the habeus corpus ruling that underpins English Law, ex-Leeds United managing director, David Haigh, has spent nearly 300 days in a Dubai prison whilst authorities decide whether to proceed and pursue a criminal case against him.
Haigh was jailed in May 2014 after being accused of fraud by Leeds United’s former owners GFH Capital, who were also his former employers. He was a major figure involved in GFH’s takeover of Leeds United when the bought the club from then-owner Ken Bates in December 2012 but resigned as an employee when GFH sold a 75% majority share to Italian businessman Massimo Cellino in April 2014. Haigh returned to Dubai in May 2014 under what he thought were the auspices of a job interview from GFH only to be arrested and charged with allegedly profiting from falsified invoices to the tune of £3m whilst employed at GFH Capital. Under Dubai law, anyone suspected of cheating (a breach of trust) can be detained for as long as is necessary. It is this that has led to David Haigh admitting to feelings of a suicidal nature.
As he sits in his Dubai prison cell, accused of nothing, whilst a case is explored against him, Haigh has said that,
“It was the darkest time of my life…I was suicidal…I just wanted it all to end – to get rid of the fear, desperation and the pain. It was crushing me.”
Haigh strenuously denies the allegations tabled against him and has prepared a dossier of counter-claims against GFH Capital regarding what Haigh himself has termed as “damaging allegations” about the group’s financial conduct. With no set period needed before Haigh needs to be presented in a Dubai court habeus corpus-style to be charged, this story could rumble on for a while.