what ken said: “david haigh is an honest man”Back
Ken Bates has returned to the airwaves to declare that David Haigh is an honest man who should be freed from jail in Dubai.
Bates also said that Gulf Finance House, to whom he sold Leeds United in 2012, are in his experience, “totally untrustworthy, totally unreliable, and totally liars.”
That view contrasts with Bates’ comments at the time of the takeover, when Bates said that “[GFH] are backed by the right resources, including a very wealthy individual,” and told the YEP: “You look at so many takeovers that have gone wrong. Some have rushed in like a bull in a china shop and immediately found problems for themselves. Clubs attract all the parasites, con-men, agents, hangers-on and get-rich-quick merchants who want to cash in and take advantage of people’s ignorance. We’re not doing it like that which augers well for the future.”
Bates was speaking on Radio Yorkshire, the radio station he owns and operates from the office above Subway on Elland Road, to “the rose between two thorns in [the] newsroom”, Anna Hodges. The interview has been posted on YouTube with the still image, seen above, showing Hodges fascinated by her boss’s lively conversation.
Bates told Anna that he and another person warned David Haigh not to travel to Dubai in May.
“Now funnily enough on the 10th of May, Suzannah and I had dinner with David Haigh in Chelsea,” Ken said, "and he told me he’d had an offer to go back to, a new big offer, job offer, to go back to Dubai to discuss it, with GFH, Gulf Finance House. And I told him, unequivocally, not to go back. I said, ‘David it’s a trap, they’re out to get you because you know too much.’ And I know somebody else who gave him the same advice.
“Unfortunately, he ignored it and went out, he got the flight on the 17th of May, evening flight to Dubai, landed in the morning of the 18th, went to his apartment, showered, changed, business suit on, went to the Dubai office at ten o’clock, he was arrested at five past ten, he’s been in jail ever since. He’s charged with money laundering, fraud and embezzlement, but he’s been jailed pending investigation. The problem is I understand they haven’t even started the investigation. And he’s been out there what, for seven weeks?”
Bates says that evidence Haigh claims to have of “wrongdoing” by Gulf Finance House is the reason for his imprisonment.
"Now apparently, a couple of days after he was arrested, a lawyer acting on behalf of GFH, saw Haigh and told him that they intended to make sure he was found guilty, and they intended to keep him locked up for a very long time.
"And the reason for that is, as Haigh has told me a number of times over the last few months, he has serious evidence, of serious and continuing wrongdoing on behalf of GFH and GFH Capital. Has he evidence? And of course he can’t get to his apartment or anything, they’ve confiscated his laptop and this that and the other, it means of course that they have been able to get their hands on the damning evidence, hopefully from their point of view, to destroy it or eliminate it. But I wonder if David Haigh has got another copy locked in some lawyer’s safe outside the Gulf, which in due course will be revealed to show them what they are.
“I can only say my dealings with Gulf Finance House, particularly Salem Patel, but more importantly Hisham [Alrayes], who is his CEO, found totally untrustworthy, totally unreliable, and totally liars.”
Bates says that his radio station will be investigating GFH, and that he wants to get 100,000 signatures on a petition so that Haigh’s case can be debated in Parliament.
"They are very serious allegations, which I think Radio Yorkshire are going to be investigating over the next few weeks, I understand, and expose Gulf Finance House for what it is. I mean, 2011, Leeds United made more money than they did, we’re just a little football club, I use the world little in the sense that we’re just a small financial institution, whereas Gulf Finance House claim to be one of the most significant investment banks in the Gulf. Well, they’re shares were down by 13% earlier this year, and you don’t do that if you’re successful.
“Anyway, let’s see, time will tell, but I think the next thing we should do is start doing a petition, if we can get a 100,000 names on it, it goes to Parliament, questions can be raised and debated about it, to get Haigh released on bail. They have set his bail conditions at £3.5million, which is totally ridiculous, and has to surrender his passport and somebody else’s as well, which again is ridiculous. They’re just trying to bottle him up, and I understand we’re going to do a long investigation, including conversations with people connected with those who were involved with David Haigh at Leeds United, and also of course more importantly those in Gulf Finance House and Gulf Finance Capital. So I think as we can say Anna, listen to this space, as well as watch it.”
Central to Haigh’s situation is the question of his health, and Bates described what he understands about the conditions Haigh is being kept in.
"Well what happened was, he had an operation, a stomach operation, and I understand for the first eight days they wouldn’t give him the medicine and the food he needed, because he’s a vegetarian of course, and he lost, I think they said, five stone in eight days.
“So that was a worry, the intense heat, he’s in a room with about forty others, has to share his payphone with all of those. There is of course no air conditioning, and of course the temperature out there is almost 100 degrees fahrenheit. So you can imagine, he can see his lawyer once a week for five minutes, and he sees a friend once a week for five minutes. And that’s it.”
From that worrying description, Bates then continued straight into a confusing recollection of newspaper stories that suggested alcohol would be banned at Elland Road, although what link this has to Haigh’s situation isn’t clear.
"Of course you remember the famous one where Salem Patel tried to have alcohol banned from Elland Road, haha, Leeds United have a sponsor called Sky Bet, which obviously is gambling, and they also have a big deal with a brewery. But. We must all work together on this.
“David Haigh, I am convinced is an honest man. I think he has admitted himself he has done silly things like leaving blank cheques, and people having access to his iPad and mobile phone, that doesn’t make him a crook. What it does make him is a witness to all the wrongdoing that has gone on in Gulf Finance House over the last few years, and that I believe is why they’re trying to shut him up.”
In the nine minute interview, Bates also suggests that former Sky presenter Richard Keys should keep his own counsel, after comments Keys made on Twitter suggesting that Ken Bates still had a financial interest in Leeds United, which Bates “unequivocally” denies.
"He alleged I was behind the 25% not owned by Cellini [sic] and he thought I was going to come back and this and that and the other. Well Keys of course had absolutely no reason to say that, apart from the fact that it’s absolutely not true, the way he speculated about us at all. But on the other hand, if he’s making remarks like that on air, you wonder why TalkSport, who by and large have a good reputation and high standards of performance, why they’d bother to employ somebody like Keys.
“The fact of the matter is, and I’ll repeat it unequivocally so nobody can misunderstand it, I have no financial interest in Leeds United at all, other than my outstanding court case. I do not own any shares, directly or indirectly, nor have I any desire to do so. Keys is just making it up. He’s made himself nothing more than a bloody liar.”
Bates also used the opportunity to give his opinions on Luis Suarez: “he should be banned for life”; the World Cup in Qatar: “If they don’t take [the World Cup] away from Qatar, European countries should boycott the tournament”; and FIFA: “We should ban FIFA for life … At the end of the day they haven’t got any guts. Too much money sloshing around in the system. A bit like our Parliament these days.”
Ken Bates is 82 years old and currently resides in Monaco.