Dubai fraudster David Haigh is expected to lose his multimillion-dollar luxury property portfolio now that his bankruptcy has been lifted.
Bahrain’s GFH Financial Group has won permission to begin issuing eviction notices to Haigh and his tenants as it seeks to recoup $5.4 million in lost funds.
Haigh was declared bankrupt in August 2020 and now, a year later, the UK insolvency order has been lifted.
The Insolvency Service told The National that bankruptcy orders usually expire after a year once a person’s personal debts are wiped, after which they no longer face any restrictions.
Haigh, who now lives in Penzance in south-west England, in 2015 was convicted in Dubai of breach of trust 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 his properties, after Master of the Queen's Bench John Dagnall said he was “not satisfied” with Haigh's claim about his health.
GFH is suing Haigh in the High Court to enforce the Dubai judgment, which was made in 2018.
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.
Haigh has reappointed himself as a director on the boards of his companies, including property firm Cove Estates Ltd, which the High Court ruled must relinquish its freehold of a set of 15 luxury apartments in the private Cornish cove of Lamorna.
Last year, Mr Justice Henshaw ruled that the freehold and nine leaseholds at the bespoke complex must be put into constructive trust for GFH.
He also ruled that Haigh’s home in Penzance, Cornwall, be put into constructive trust for GFH.
Haigh had bought the property in December 2013 for a stated price of £598,000.
GFH’s lawyers told The National it has now been given the green light by the court to start issuing eviction notices in a bid to recoup its funds from the properties.
Haigh still owes the $5.4m debt to GFH despite his bankruptcy and the company is seeking to recoup its lost funds.
GFH obtained a worldwide freezing injunction against Haigh in the DIFC Court on June 3, 2014, and against some of the leaseholders of apartments in The Cove complex at Lamorna, which the court heard had obtained funds from Haigh for their purchases.
"Mr Haigh purchased Apartments 4 and 5 of the Cove, and on 4 August 2013 transferred title in those apartments to his sister," Mr Justice Henshaw told London's High Court.
"Mr Haigh made loans to the second, third, fifth and sixth defendants for the purposes of acquiring Apartments 1, 2, 9, 12, 14 and 15 of The Cove; and in each of those cases, those purchases, loans and/or advances were made by Mr Haigh with funds misappropriated from GFH as described in the DIFC judgment.
"GFH alleges that the second to sixth defendants are each "vehicles for [Mr Haigh], interposed to conceal the fact that he was the true actor in the purchases of the various properties within The Cove, Cornwall.
"Its Re-Amended Particulars of Claim and evidence describe in detail how the properties in question, including those registered in the names of and nominally purchased by the second, third, fifth and sixth defendants, were all in reality purchased using funds which Mr Haigh had misappropriated from GFH.
"Mr Haigh is liable to account in equity for the sums found in the DIFC judgment to have been misappropriated from GFH, and holds those sums, or the assets now representing them (including Trevorian Farm), on constructive trust for GFH."
Former Leeds United executive Haigh failed to attend London’s High Court, leading Master Dagnall to rule that GFH can proceed with issuing eviction notices on his properties in its attempt to recoup funds.