David Haigh, the former executive of Bahrain’s GFH Financial Group and a convicted fraudster, has been told he faces jail if he fails to provide details of his finances to a UK court.
The warning follows a ruling by England’s High Court in May that GFH Financial Group can pursue Haigh for $5 million (Dh18.37m) in damages and costs.
The former director of Leeds United Football Club failed to attend the hearing on Friday, instead sending an email to the court claiming he had been unwell.
GFH Financial Group is seeking a disclosure order over Haigh’s assets in its bid to enforce a Dubai court judgment against him.
Lawyers for GFH argued that the threat of a “penal order” was necessary in an effort to make Haigh comply.
Due to Haigh’s failure to appear at the hearing to provide his financial details, Mr Justice Henshaw ordered that he has two weeks in which to do so or face jail.
Haigh claimed that he has been in hospital and in his letter to the court offered to provide evidence on Monday.
However, Mr Justice Henshaw refused to adjourn the hearing, telling the court that Haigh had made similar promises before. The judge said he had reached the conclusion that it was Haigh’s “deliberate choice” not to attend.
Haigh was deputy chief executive of GFH Capital, the investment banking arm of Bahrain’s GFH Financial Group, and led the group’s acquisition of a 24 per cent stake in the English football club Leeds United in 2013.
However, Dubai International Financial Centre Courts found Haigh to be a fraudster after about 100 forged invoices arranged payment into at least four different bank accounts in Dubai, London and Manchester. He has denied the claims and tried to prevent enforcement in the UK, where he has lived since 2016.
In May, Haigh applied for leave to take the matter to trial in the UK but his application was refused.
In the previous hearing, Mr Justice Henshaw had said there was “no realistic prospect of persuading this court at trial that the relevant findings in the DIFC judgment were incorrect in any material respect”.