Dubai court orders ex-Leeds owner Haigh to pay $6 million

Pedro Gonçalves
clock • 2 min read

A Dubai court ordered David Haigh, former deputy chief executive of GFH Capital, the investment banking arm of Bahrain’s GFH Financial Group, to pay out $6 million in damages and other costs to GFH Financial.

David Haigh, former CEO of Leeds United, had already been convicted of fraud and embezzlement in 2015.

Haigh had been found to have faked about 100 invoices which resulted in millions of pounds and dirhams being paid into at least four different bank accounts he controlled in Dubai, London and Manchester. He served two years in prison and was subsequently deported from the UAE.

“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 in the sums of £2,039,793.70, Dh8,735,340 and US$50,000,” the verdict by judge Sir Jeremy Cook said.

Following the conclusion of the four-day trial in Dubai, Haigh was ordered to repay the firm $6m plus costs. GFH will now seek to enforce the judgment through the British court system.

“Moreover, his conduct throughout these proceedings has been entirely consistent with that finding, in seeking to delay matters, in failing to give disclosure and in seeking to manipulate or play fast and loose with the court’s procedures,” the verdict added.

A separate civil case, in which GFH is seeking $5m in damages plus legal and other costs, is ongoing.

Haigh, now 40, rose to prominence in November 2012 when he led GFH Capital’s purchase and subsequent short-lived ownership of English football club Leeds United. GFH sold a controlling stake in the club just 16 months later, exiting its remaining holding in September 2016.

More on