Judge rules Bahrain’s GFH can seize Dubai fraudster David Haigh’s properties

Former Leeds United executive has been ordered to pay GFH $5m

YEOVIL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 08: David Haigh, CEO of Leeds United, looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Yeovil Town and Leeds United at Huish Park on February 08, 2014 in Yeovil, England. (Photo by Rob Munro/Getty Images)
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A judge has ruled that Bahrain’s GFH Financial Group can seize Dubai fraudster David Haigh’s properties following his failure to repay the company $5 million.

Former Leeds United executive Haigh failed to attend London’s High Court, leading High Court Master John Dagnall to rule GFH can proceed with issuing eviction notices on his properties in its bid to recoup funds.

Haigh, who now lives in Penzance in south-west England, was convicted in Dubai of breach of trust in 2015 after allegations that millions had been diverted into his and an associate's bank accounts using false invoices. He was jailed and subsequently returned to the UK.

Haigh has repeatedly failed to attend court hearings, citing ill health, and GFH was granted permission to take further action to seize several apartments and a farmhouse complex owned by Haigh, after Mr Dagnall said he was “not satisfied” with Haigh's claim about his health.

He had asked the court to delay the hearing due to a medical appointment, but GFH's lawyer Ashley Pratt successfully argued that Haigh had intentionally scheduled treatment to overlap with the hearing.

Mr Pratt cited examples of Haigh being active on social media and said it showed he was not “incapacitated".

GFH is suing Haigh in the High Court to enforce the Dubai judgment, which was made in 2018.

Haigh, who led GFH's bid for an English football team, has already been declared bankrupt after losing a long legal battle against repaying swindled funds.

A London court warned earlier this year that Haigh faced jail if he failed to provide details of his finances after England’s High Court in May found that GFH could pursue him for $5m.

Haigh was deputy chief executive of GFH Capital, the investment banking arm of the Bahrain group, and led its purchase of Leeds United Football Club in 2012.

Updated: October 07, 2021, 11:10 AM