New setback for Dubai fraudster David Haigh in $5.4m legal battle

Former football executive fails to turn up in court after judge last month cleared the way for his properties to be seized

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)

A UK judge has rebuked Dubai fraudster David Haigh and restricted him from launching new legal challenges for two years against a $5.4 million order, after he failed to appear at his latest court hearing.

Mr Haigh joins about 130 people subject to extended civil restraint orders in the UK who are limited from bringing new claims to court without the permission of a judge because they refuse to accept decisions made in their cases.

Bahrain’s GFH Financial Group last month won permission to begin issuing eviction notices to Haigh and his tenants at apartments and a farmhouse in southern England as it seeks to recoup lost funds.

Mr Haigh 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.

A British judge imposed the new order on Wednesday because of the continued challenges and delays to the court proceedings requested by the former football executive, largely on the grounds of ill health.

High Court Judge Clare Moulder said Mr Haigh “cannot rely on his ill health to justify his persistent conduct in seeking to challenge findings which he does not accept,” according to a report by legal reporting service Law360.

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

Haigh, who now lives in Penzance in south-west England, did not turn up for his hearing last month and failed to show again on Wednesday. He has said that he wasn't well, and was trying find legal representation. The hearing went ahead after the judge called a recess to consider his absence and examined an alleged medical letter.

Updated: November 5th 2021, 9:32 AM