Deported Swede Ellie Holman concedes she made visa 'mistake' at Dubai airport
The botox businesswoman admits to visa mix-up at immigration after returning to home in England
The Swedish dentist who became the focus of a series of newspaper headlines over her detention in Dubai has admitted that she was held after attempting to enter the UAE on an already-used visa.
Ellie Holman, who runs a botox clinic in the southern English town of Sevenoaks, told the MailOnline website that an incident over her use of a previously issued visa got out of hand on her arrival last month.
The revelation was tucked away in article that repeated a series of wild accusations about the Iranian-born dual national that have been published in recent days.
Ms Holman uses the name of her English fiancé and her real name is Elham Reza Reza Sateei (sic). The visa, which is dated 23/05/-21/07, also stated that she had no accompanying children, yet she was travelling “on a break” with daughter Bibi.
“At Dubai International airport, she handed over her Iranian passport at the immigration desk. The officer's computer told him that her visa had already been used two months earlier, which Ellie acknowledges was her mistake,” the article stated.
“He advised Ellie to get a transit visa, which would allow her to stay in the country for the duration of her five-day trip.”
However, tempers frayed after Ms Holman used her phone to start recording at the immigration counter.
Officials said Miss Holman produced an expired Swedish passport at one point. The flight landed on July 13 and the dentist finally left the UAE on August 12. Almost all of that time was spent at a private home.
The businesswoman engaged the public relations firm Detained in Dubai on her behalf.
The family have estimated the cost of the incident, including advisory services, flights, accommodation and lost earnings to be in the tens of thousands of pounds.
“So far this situation has cost me around £30,000 in legal fees, expenses and missed work,” she told reporters on arrival.
"My practice is closed. All of our savings are gone.”
In a phone call with The National in which the visa issue was put to Ms Holman, she refused to speak about her experience. “I cannot speak to you,” she said.
Although not a law firm in either Dubai or the UK, Detained in Dubai has a track record of seeking clients that are experiencing immigration difficulties in the UAE. In this case as in others, two starkly different narratives have been presented in the case, beginning with claims that she was detained for drinking wine on the flight to the UAE.
Dubai Attorney General Essam Al Humaidan denies this, stating Ms Holman was issued with charges of profanity and photographing a government official during the row after attempting to enter the UAE using the expired Swedish passport.
An immigration official told her she could not use an expired passport and she then produced an Iranian one, which entitled her to a 96-hour stay, but she had to change her departure flight according to the new visa.
She “angrily” refused to do this due to the additional payment it would require, and verbally insulted the immigration officer and took photos with her phone.
The businesswoman says she spent three days of the month she spent in Dubai in jail with her four-year-old daughter.
Yet, the record shows that Ms Holman and her daughter remained together in the airport security office for less than 24 hours.
“Services were provided to them, taking into full account and consideration of her four-year-old daughter,” according to Mr Al Humaidan.
The qualified dentist added that was told that the case would be annulled if she paid £40,000 (Dh187,000) to the immigration official but this too has been rebutted by Dubai officials. Money was exchanged and the prosecution decided to drop the charges against the dentist and deport her instead.
The National has reported posts on Ms Holman's clinic’s own Facebook page to show that she treated patients in Dubai.
The health authority's online records show she is not licensed in the UAE, and is therefore not eligible to do so. Even dentists who are licensed by DHA are not eligible to carry out the non-surgical cosmetic procedures she promoted on her clinic's Facebook page, such as botox.
The clinic she runs in Kent is not registered with the UK’s professional body, though she is not required by law to do so.
Updated: August 17, 2018 09:13 AM