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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

GFH to pursue David Haigh's Dubai and London assets in damages enforcement

Collection of damages awarded to GFH will impact company's 2018-19 results

Dubai-listed GFH said on Sunday DIFC Courts ruled in its favour in a long-running commercial case against the investment firm's former deputy chief executive David Haigh. Sarah Dea / The National
Dubai-listed GFH said on Sunday DIFC Courts ruled in its favour in a long-running commercial case against the investment firm's former deputy chief executive David Haigh. Sarah Dea / The National

GFH, the Dubai-listed parent of investment banking company GFH Capital, will start enforcement proceedings in Dubai and London for an award of around $5.1 million (Dh18.73m) in damages it received in a judgment against its former employee David Haigh last week.

DIFC Courts last Wednesday ruled that Haigh, a former deputy chief executive of GFH Capital who was convicted of breach of trust by Dubai Criminal Court in 2015, must pay damages to his former employer equivalent to the sum he was convicted of embezzling from the company.

“GFH can start enforcement of this judgment on Haigh’s assets in Dubai and the UK,” GFH said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market, where its shares are listed. “It is expected that the collection of these amounts will have impact on GFH’s financials for the year 2018/2019,” the company said yesterday without giving the details of the likely effect. Haigh’s assets were frozen under an earlier DIFC Courts order.

In a strongly worded judgment concluding a four-day trial in Dubai at which Haigh was not present, DIFC Courts judge Sir Jeremy Cooke referred to the defendant as a “fraudster”. He granted Bahrain’s GFH Capital’s claim in full, plus legal costs and exchange rate fees as the monies to be paid are in different currencies.

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“The court, bearing in mind the seriousness of the allegations made, is satisfied on the evidence that the defendant is a fraudster who caused to be paid into his own bank accounts and that of his close friend, monies belonging to the claimant,” the judgment said.

Following Haigh’s arrest in 2014 and subsequent criminal trial in Dubai Courts, GFH issued parallel civil proceedings in DIFC Courts, seeking the damages it believed it was owed.

In a long-running dispute comprising several appeals and counter-appeals during the past three years, Haigh has claimed he is not obliged to pay damages to GFH Capital. The latest ruling brings this chapter of legal proceedings to a close.

“GFH would like to advise its shareholders and markets that the DIFC Courts in Dubai has concluded its decision in favour of GFH on every fronts against its former employee, David Haigh,” GFH’s statement said. The court concluded that Haigh was guilty and his allegations against GFH were “without substance,” the statement added.