Leeds United: David Haigh in police custody in Dubai

David Haigh.
David Haigh.
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Former Leeds United managing director David Haigh is in police custody in Dubai after being arrested over alleged financial irregularities relating to the ownership and sale of the club by Gulf Finance House.

Haigh, 36, has spent the past three nights in jail after being detained on Sunday morning.

He is understood to have flown to Dubai - the base of GFH’s private-equity arm, GFH Capital - after being offered a new job by the Bahraini bank.

Haigh, who denies all claims against him, was detained by police shortly after arriving at the offices of GFH.

A friend of Haigh’s, who asked not to be named, told the YEP: “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.”

Many of the allegations against Haigh relate to GFH’s time as owner of Leeds and the recent sale of the Championship side to Italian Massimo Cellino.

Haigh, who was until recently employed as deputy chief executive of GFH Capital, was one of the men behind GFH’s purchase of Leeds from Ken Bates in December 2012.

He became a club director the previous month and took up the job of managing director at Elland Road in July 2013.

He resigned from his job at GFH Capital in February of this year with Italian businessman Cellino closing in on a 75 per cent takeover of United and was due to become Leeds’ 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.

Speaking after his resignation, Haigh aimed criticism at both GFH and Cellino, saying: “I had to deal with and manage what can only be described as the crazy situation of very limited support from those who should have supported the club and the management, whilst at the same time having little or no decision-making ability.”

Haigh recently stated on Twitter that he planned to stages a series of media interviews to give his version of GFH’s turbulent spell as owner at Elland Road.

He was also involved in a winding-up petition served on Leeds last month by Sport Capital - a company with close links to Haigh - over a loan of £950,000.

Cellion and United are contesting the petition, which will be heard by a judge in London on June 9.

A statement from GFH Capital said: “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.”

Sources close to Haigh have since told the YEP that Haigh has not been formally charged with any offence and is continuing to be questioned about the allegations.

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