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court papers reveal details of case against david haigh

court papers reveal details of case against david haigh

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Details of the case against former Leeds United managing director David Haigh have been made public in Dubai.

The court particulars lay out the case of his former employers Gulf Finance House Capital, who allege Haigh breached his contract and/or fiduciary duty to GFH-C by misappropriating funds totally just under £3m.

GFH-C’s claim, signed by their senior executive officer Jinesh Patel and dated 26th May, states that while employed as deputy chief executive officer of GFH-C, David Haigh had authorisation to approve invoices and pay invoices us to a value of US$50,000 (around £30,000).

The claim goes on to list legitimate invoices paid by David Haigh on behalf of GFH-C to four companies: Lincoln Associates (for legal support services), Millnet Limited (data services), GPW Group (investigative work), and David Murray of Fountain Court Chambers (legal advice).

For each company, following the establishment of what GFH-C say are legitimate payments and bank account details, the claim lists further invoices paid in the name of each company, but to different bank accounts that GFH-C allege were operated by or on behalf of David Haigh.

GFH-C’s case is that Haigh was knowingly raising false invoices for amounts he knew were not due to the companies involved, and authorising the payments to go to bank accounts he controlled. As well as evidence from the companies that they do not control the bank accounts named on the invoices, they also cite a reply from Haigh to Millnet after they copied GFH-C’s solicitor in on an emailed invoice, in which they claim he wrote: “Please send these direct to me only.”

David Haigh’s address on the court papers is given as c/o Bur Dubai Police Station, but reports from the court suggest he could be released from custody by June 8th, having been held without charge since May 18th, when he was arrested after arriving in Dubai for what he apparently thought was a meeting about a new job at GFH.

Haigh is accused of serious fraud and embezzlement by GFH-C, but has yet to be charged, and court papers suggest a trial might not start until late February 2015.

Of interest in the court documents are the investigations for which GPW Group were engaged by GFH between 2012 and 2014. These include Project Athena, an investigation into the background of Massimo Cellino, which according to the documents was initiated by Haigh on October 6th 2013, around six weeks before Sport Capital (BVI)’s share purchase agreement to buy Leeds United from GFH was signed.

Other investigations named in the document as begun by GFH-C with Haigh’s authorisation include: Project Montreal, Project Looper, Project Offside, Project Spectator, Project Hornbill, Project Whistle, Project Rafidain and Project Seth; while Haigh is alleged to have created or caused to be created false invoices connected to Project Juliana, Project Wendyhouse, Project Dubailand, Project Dubailand/Legends, and Project Bremner.

It’s impossible to know how many of these investigative projects were related to Leeds United, although the names of some would strongly suggest a link.

More definitely related to the football club are some of the court cases for which Haigh is alleged to have created or caused to be created false fee notes, purportedly on behalf of Fountain Court Chambers. These include the references:

  • Dubailand v GFH
  • G Capital – Project Rachel
  • LUFC v Ken Bates and others 
  • Jct 24/7 v LUFC
  • Mark Taylor v LUFC

While the reference to a case involving Ken Bates and Leeds United presumably relates to the acrimonious end of Bates’ presidency, it isn’t clear what the Jct 24/7 case refers to; while Mark Taylor is presumably the same Mark Taylor who was formerly Ken Bates’ solicitor in London, and who set up the companies through which Bates bought the club in 2005; companies that, as I showed on Friday, can be linked by a Nevis company named International Directors Ltd to Sport Capital (Guernsey), the company that currently has a winding up petition lodged against Leeds United. 

Massimo Cellino’s legal team is currently trying to have the petition withdrawn, claiming that the loan in dispute did not come from Sport Capital (Guernsey) but from David Haigh himself, who is not named as a director of the company; further, they are arguing that the money is “potentially proceeds of crime”, with reference to the case against Haigh in Dubai.

An unnamed friend has been putting Haigh’s side of the story throughout his seventeen nights in jail, telling the YEP yesterday that: “He doesn’t blame the Dubai authorities for anything that’s happening but he does feel deeply betrayed by others who he thinks are misusing the legal system there.”

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