An order freezing the global assets of ex-Leeds United director David Haigh was extended by a court in Dubai last night as the 36-year-old neared the end of his fifth week in custody without charge.
Haigh, who is accused of a catalogue of financial irregularities by former Leeds owner Gulf Finance House, saw an interim freezing order put in place for an indefinite period while prosecutors in Dubai decide whether to bring charges against him.
In a separate move Deputy Chief Justice Sir John Chadwick granted a request that shares and assets of Sport Capital – the offshore firm with links to Haigh and which United owe more than £950,000 – should also be frozen.
Last week, the High Court in London ordered Leeds to repay a loan of almost £1m given to the club by Sport Capital in November 2013. United and their Italian owner, Massimo Cellino, disputed the loan but lost their case and were given until next Monday – June 23 – to return Sport Capital’s money.
Leeds are yet to complete payment but are planning to do so before Monday, a day on which the club will seek to have a winding-up petition issued by Sport Capital withdrawn.
GFH is currently attempting to reclaim almost £3m which it accuses Haigh of taking fraudulently through fake invoices created by him during his time as deputy chief executive of GFH Capital, the private equity arm of GFH.
Haigh denies any wrongdoing and planned to file a counter-claim for money he says he is owed by GFH – a sum he claims exceeds the £3m sought by GFH through the civil courts.
Haigh’s lawyer, Bushra Ahmed, was quoted by Arabian Business as saying: “He has no access to his records, he’s under medication at present, the conditions in the prison are – he has no access to pens, he has no access to papers, he is not someone who is concentrating, he is not focused.”
In a statement, GFH Capital said the freezing order against him and Sport Capital had been granted “as a result of allegations of serious fraud and embezzlement and the weight of the supporting (evidence) against Mr Haigh.”
Friends of Haigh say he “vigorously contests” all of GFH’s allegations, some of which relate to the bank’s ownership of Leeds.