Prominent members of the Leeds United Supporters Club have sent a message of support to David Haigh, the former United managing director who has been under arrest in Dubai for two months.
Chairman Ray Fell and three other senior figures at the Supporters Club - Phil Beeton, Dave Gaertner and Chris Hall - said Haigh’s imprisonment over allegations of fraud had left them “upset, dismayed and angry at the treatment apparently afforded to you.”
Haigh was detained in Dubai on May 18 and has been held without charge for the past nine weeks following claims by GFH Capital, United’s former owner, that he embezzled almost £3m during his time as the company’s deputy chief executive.
The 36-year-old denies any wrongdoing but remains in jail after a court set the cost of bail at close to £4m. Haigh’s global assets were frozen last month as prosecutors in Dubai investigated the matter.
GFH Capital has launched a civil case against him in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Court but no criminal charges have yet been brought.
Haigh was a key figure behind GFH Capital’s takeover of Leeds in 2012 and he worked as the club’s managing director until April of this year, leaving his post after Massimo Cellino’s buy-out of Leeds.
He held the position of deputy chief executive at GFH Capital until February.
Haigh attended a Supporters Club meeting shortly before resigning from his post at Elland Road and in a letter to him, the four LUSC officials said: “The ongoing reports of your detention leave your friends within LUSC upset, dismayed and angry at the treatment apparently afforded to you.
“Whilst we are in no position to comment on the accusations levelled at you (or not!) to be detained for so long with, apparently, no charges being levelled seems to be totally at odds with what we are accustomed to as UK citizens.
“We continue to hope that you are given the earliest possible opportunity to present your case to the appropriate authorities to enable not only justice to be done, but seen to be done.
“Whilst not representing LUSC as an organisation, we the undersigned officials would like to offer our individual support to you in your current plight, and assure you that our thoughts are with you.”
GFH Capital accuses Haigh of creating false invoices and arranging payment of money to bank accounts unconnected to the firms charging for services.
Speaking to the BBC last month, GFH Capital senior executive office Jinesh Patel said: “We had no intention of having anybody incarcerated or having him in a condition that is going to have him in an uncomfortable position.
“Our plan and our aim is to get recovery of the assets that have been fraudulently taken from GFH Capital.
“The fact that the Dubai authorities are doing their job very, very well and are undertaking due process is out of our hands. We can’t control that process.”
Haigh’s supporters say he is innocent and being denied access to funds and information needed to defend himself properly.
It was reported last week that two publishers, including one in the UK, are looking to approach Haigh with book deals.