David Haigh
David Haigh

I am currently held in jail in Dubai for more than 300 days without charge.

Here you can find out about me, my legal cases, my time in Dubai jail, my role at Leeds United and how to support my charity work.

Once I achieve my freedom I finally intend to climb Kilimanjaro, run the London Marathon, pray at Mt. Kailash, continue my work against homophobia and discrimination in football and then focus on helping those in war torn countries, the homeless in England and Brits in prisons around the world.

So here it is Football Prison Freedom .  Follow me on Twitter via @HaighDavid




Read On About Me


Firstly, David has stressed that he wants to thank the Dubai Authorities, especially the Bur Dubai Police for their professionalism, honour, kindness and understanding. Despite being held without charge in their custody for almost eight months, he has no argument whatsoever with the Dubai Authorities. David believes Dubai to be a fantastic city and looks forward to when he is released to enjoy it once more once the nightmare his former employers have created for him is over.Since 18 May 2014,

David has been held, without criminal charge, in jail in Dubai. What follows is a description of the events since that date which have seen David subjected to a cynical plot perpetrated against him by his former employers and friends at GFH Capital (GFH) and their lawyers Gibson Dunn. David believes their actions are a fundamental attempt to misuse the Dubai legal system in order to have him deprived of his liberty and voice. Their actions, worthy of a movie script, have seen David’s basic human rights abused by his former employers and people he considered as friends at both GFH (GFH) and Gibson Dunn Crutcher LLP (Gibson Dunn).

The following is David’s honest response to the allegations which have been fabricated against him:

Deceit and dishonesty of those David once trusted

David was lured to Dubai in May 2014 by the deceit and dishonestly of those he once trusted, looked up to and called friends. On the false premise of discussing monies they (GFH) owed him including commission for the sale of Leeds United Football Club (Leeds United) and a potential new role for him in London, David was lured to travel to Dubai. The supposed meeting was also to discuss a new role in London offered to him by GFH. Under the laws of Dubai (which are based on Sharia law) David is able to be held in jail without charge indefinitely in a manner where the power of the accuser is significant in keeping David in jail without bail.

David’s arrest

When David arrived at the Dubai offices of GFH on May 18, still recovering from serious stomach surgery he underwent in the UK of which GFH were well aware, he was immediately arrested and taken to Bur Dubai Police Station where he remains to this day without bail, charge, trial or even questioning. He is guilty of NO wrong doing. David is wrongly accused of stealing approximately GBP 3.6 million from GFH.

Shortly after his arrest and whilst he was in extreme pain and without food or painkillers GFH’s representatives visited David in Jail and attempted to procure his agreement to transfer his assets and claims to GFH Capital. It was made plain to David that if he did not comply with these unreasonable and outrageous demands, he would be kept locked up indefinitely with no chance of Bail. Naturally, despite his weakened state, David refused to comply with these demands. Shortly after he responded with his lawyers offering to GFH the opportunity to appoint an independent accountant, in this case leading international firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to investigate their allegations. David was sufficiently confident that he had committed no wrongdoings to agree unconditionally to abide by the findings of such experts and, if they deemed necessary, to repay any monies owing to GFH – provided that GFH also agreed to pay any sums to David that the report concluded were due. Despite David’s undertakings, GFH were not interested. David has in any event appointed PwC to do a full reconciliation of monies received and due to him from GFH. Perhaps unsurprisingly in view of his well-founded claims that GFH owes him money, GFH are continuing to refuse to co-operate with David and PwC’s requests for information and documents in this regard.

No food, medicine or money – comprehensively disabled

Deprived of his medicine and unable to eat because of his surgery, David virtually starved for his first two weeks in jail and was in extreme pain. David was deprived of access to his documents and records needed to defend himself and had at the time virtually no access to lawyers, friends, family or the outside world.  GFH and its lawyers moved rapidly against David in his comprehensively disabled state and sought to freeze his assets and block his access to funds in order for the to be able to pay for food, medicine, lawyers and living expenses. At the same time, they launched a blitz of ill-founded legal actions against him with sometimes 5 or more hostile lengthy legal letters a day from his once trusted colleagues, friends and advisors. While he was being effectively being buried in litigation upon litigation across the globe, David at the time couldn’t even get a pen or paper with which to begin to defend himself – far less access to computer and document records which would prove the falsity of the GFH allegations. Unsurprisingly in these circumstances, GFH was successful in their quest for a freezing order which entitled David to ZERO funds whilst in prison for food medicine or living expenses. David was simply unable to defend himself in this predicament – which he believes was precisely the GFH/Gibson Dunn plan in luring him to Dubai and having incarcerated without money, rights or voice.

Will shortly loose his Dubai home

The freezing orders and the false acquisitions against David continued to bite as David was forced to default on his regular living and financial commitments since his arrest.  David has defaulted on all his credit cards and mortgage payments as he is unable to pay them as a result of GFH and Gibson Dunns actions which have allowed him zero funds since his arrest to meet ongoing commitments. Inevitable, it is now anticipated that additional criminal debt cases will be filed against David in Dubai where debt is a criminal offence. Additionally, David will shortly loose his Dubai home as a result of defaulting on mortgage payments – he is not even permitted to remove his much treasured possessions including photographs of his former fiancé, who tragically committed suicide in 2013.

Money which David needs for paying for his legal fees and living expenses

Loss of David’s Dubai home will not only mean another criminal case against David but David will also suffer a significant financial loss because of it, money which he needs to pay for his legal fees and living expenses. David is simply stuck in a washing machine cycle of spiralling legal actions from which he cannot escape – again, David believes, precisely as planned by GFH all along.

New Lawyers

David is fortunate in having lawyers and advisors who believe strongly and passionately in his innocence and his powerful counter-claims against GFH, not to mention their patience in waiting for fees.

David is represented by Stephenson Harwood Middle East LLP (www.shlegal.com) partner Rovine Chandrasekera and associate Shiraz Sethi. Together with local Dubai Counsel Nasser Mallala (www.nmlaw.ae)

David is also represented by Alun Jones QC, a leading international human rights barrister from Great James Street Chambers in London, along with Zafar Ali QC in order to ensure David’s urgent release from custody, a statement said.

Ali and his junior, Ryan Hawthorne, act for David in proceedings in the Dubai International Finance Centre Courts while Alun Jones acts on David’s behalf with regards to his human rights action, which was recently lodged in the High Court in London, alleging deceit and conspiracy to injure against GFH for their actions in luring him to Dubai and causing his wrongful imprisonment without trial or charge.

David’s Defence

David wants nothing more than to be able publicly and openly to answers the claims against him. Whilst GFH are the ones that put David in this terrible disabled situation by their Deceit, GFH and their lawyers were the first to complain about the time it took David to respond to the allegations against him. For a long time David Was only allowed 5-10 minutes with his lawyers a week and for many months virtually no access to his own computer files and records. Thankfully this has improved of late thanks to the generosity and understanding of the Dubai Authorities.

With a little bit more access to his legal team, David’s team leapt at the opportunity and his team met up in Dubai in December 2014 and filed his Defence together with a complementary report from PwC in late December 2014. They also progressed David’s various claims against GFH and associate parties. However, GFH’s actions again bit when David was denied access to his funds to pay a counterclaim fee to the DIFC courts of USD 20,000 – thus deliberately preventing David from filing his circa £5 million counterclaim against GFHs circa £ 3.6 million claim against David.

Other Claims

David and his associated companies have the following claims filed or soon to be filed against GFH and associates:

  • English Court claim against      GFH and others for Deceit and conspiracy to injure in excess of £1      million;
  • DIFC Court claim against GFH      and another for non-payment of bonus shares and cash;
  • DIFC Counter claim for £5      million (to be filed); and
  • Additional claims in Dubai      and England. Watch this space.

Support for David

One thing that GFH cannot take away from David is the kindness, support and love of those around the world that support David.  His case has been taken up by the British politician Andrew George MP and many other politicians, Prisoners Abroad (www.prisonersabroad.org.uk), and several leading Human Rights campaigners amongst others. David is also supported by his family and many friends around the world.

Amazing Leeds United Fans


David has been humbled by the support he has received by the ever amazing Leeds United fans around the world who have not only supported him on twitter and online but who have gone as far as visiting David in jail and who have sent, books, gifts cards and letters and emails of support and importantly for David upto date match reports.


How you can help?


There are many ways in which you can help David. David’s team is in the process of setting up a small charitable trust to help David with his living expenses and legal fees. More information later.

In the meantime David is looking for anyone who can help raise awareness of his case or who can help support David’s existing team:

  • Campaigners and lobbyists
  • Web developers
  • Graphic designers
  • Social media managers
  • Lawyers
  • Forensic Experts (IT, Accountancy, Regulatory, Share markets)
  • Specialist in shareholder activism
  • PR and media relations (especially in Saudi, Kuwait and Bahrain)
  • Journalists and Broadcasters

Please contact team@davidhaigh.co.uk

Thank you

December 2014

MrEXvD-3_400x400Former Leeds United Boss marks his 300th day in a Dubai jail without charge or questioning and reveals how he became so desperate that he planned to end his life.

Former Leeds United Boss David Haigh has issued a shocking statement from his Dubai Jail cell after 300 days in jail without trial charge or questioning.

In it David talks for the first time about his shocking first weeks in prison: how he even considered taking his own life; and how Prisoners Abroad helped him through his darkest days of despair and hopelessness as an innocent man tricked into incarceration in a foreign jail. The shocking revelations form part of an interview and fundraising campaign he has backed by leading charity Prisoners abroad and can be seen here www.prisonersabroad.com/davidhaigh

In a move to raise much-needed funds for their extraordinary work, David is sharing his story of his imprisonment and how Prisoners Abroad is supporting him through his ordeal.

As Pauline Crowe OBE, Prisoners Abroad’s Chief Executive said,

“Far from their friends and family, those detained overseas are often confronted with crippling loneliness and isolation. Prisoners Abroad is sometimes the only contact they have from the outside world. We are currently supporting David and 23 others detained in the UAE, to provide them with the help they need, from welfare grants to reading materials, throughout their time in prison and beyond.”

David Haigh said

“Today marks my 300th day in jail in Dubai without trial, charge or even questioning. To put that in perspective in numbers that’s 300 calendar days, 10 months. That’s 7200 hours of my life taken away from me – including missing dozens of Leeds United matches.

During each of those 300 days (when I was actually able, by whatever means, to get hold of a pen or paper), I have written a diary which will one day become my book containing a contemporaneous record of everything that has happened to me and those around me. It includes a look back at the motivations of the people with whom I once worked at Leeds and in Dubai and whose actions and behaviour have led to my wrongful incarceration in a foreign jail.  It is shocking to me as I read and reflect on the story but every word is true.

The first notes, scribbled on pages torn out of an old Lord of the Rings book and written with a broken biro, stand as a reminder to just how impossible it was for many months for me to defend myself against a despicable and pre mediated plan to comprehensively incapacitate me and effectively disable me from even filing a basic defence to the baseless allegations laid against me. They had, and have, no foundation whatsoever in truth.

Still it remains a fact that, in those 300 days, I have not been permitted access to one penny of my money for living expenses or even to buy food. This continues to this day. I thought I could continue to complain about my predicament and the despicable actions of the bad guys. However, I think there is just no need anymore. The world now knows something of the truth about those who have accused me, and their lawyers. They will be even more shocked when the full story finally comes out as it will soon.

At 300 days I wanted to show my enemies that no matter how comprehensively they try to disable me from defending myself that they would not succeed. My resolve to fight not just for myself but importantly to fight for others worse off than me has never been stronger.

So going forward it’s about the future and about positives.  So this is about thanks and appreciation. There is no doubt at all that the biggest thank you from me must go to Prisoners Abroad.

This is an amazing charity which has supported me from day one – they are the very best example of compassion without judgment. I have seen first-hand how, they have supported countless Brits here in these 300 days and of course will continue to support many thousands more here in Dubai and around the world. I want to use the profile of my case to help them raise money so their lifesaving work may continue long after I am back home in Leeds watching the footie.

You’ll see over the next weeks the campaign that I have supported at Prisoner’s Aboard, they interviewed me and I gave them some very private and very personal responses, a few are here. The full interview can be found at www.prisonersabroad.com/davidhaigh

Q: It must have been a very dark time.

I was beyond desperate. I was suicidal. I even planned to hang myself on the cell door and managed to find some strong material.

I just wanted it all to end – to get rid of the fear, desperation and the pain. It was crushing me.

I think those first few weeks were the worst – a nightmare. It was the darkest time of my life. I had no lawyer – I wasn’t even allowed a pen and paper. I had no money and didn’t understand how my accusers were being allowed to trick me. I was desperate.

Q: How has Prisoners Abroad helped you?

To be frank, it has saved my life! The people at Prisoners Abroad were the only ones who were there – no one else was. I really don’t say this lightly, but if it were not for the help that

Prisoners Abroad offered, I doubt I would be here saying this and you would have been reading ‘Former Leeds United MD Found Dead in Dubai Jail’.

Q: Do you have a message for Prisoners Abroad and the people back home?

It sounds crazy, like something from a Hollywood movie, but being locked up in a foreign country can happen to anyone. I’ve been deceived by people I trusted; I’ve had my most basic human rights abused by my former employers and even people I counted as friends. I’ve lost almost everything. I was successful, happy and my life was going well. And today I’m shut away from the people I love, from my friends and from my family. But I’ve done nothing wrong. These people are taking my money, my home, my life and my freedom. But there is one thing that they can’t take away from me. And that is the kindness and love that has been shown to me by Prisoners Abroad. I would ask that anyone reading this gives what they can to help them. I know that their survival packs save lives. I know from my experience how much difference vitamins, medicines and even a phone card make. It can be the difference between life and death. So please, if you can, support this wonderful charity and the people who work for it. They are incredible and I owe them my life. Thank you is all I can really say, but it will never be enough. Hopefully once this nightmare is over, I will come and join them as a volunteer and help others in prisons around the world.

Q: Apart from: Prisoners Abroad who else would you like to thank?

Thanks to all my lawyers and the wonderful people who have believed in me and supported me for the last ten months.

Leeds United

In 2012 David was an integral part of the team from an Islamic private equity house in Dubai which acquired Leeds United FC, his family’s hometown team. He played a key part in the complex negotiations with previous owner Ken Bates and became a director of the club upon completion of the acquisition.

Between January 2013 and April 2014 – with other shareholders and directors based largely outside the UK – the day to day running of the club was David’s, often sole, responsibility as he took on the title and role of Managing Director.

David spearheaded many fans initiatives, bringing together what had previously been effectively rival fans’ groupings of Leeds United supporters, reducing season ticket prices, and introducing modern equality and anti-discrimination policies. Such policies included seeing the club spearhead anti homophobia in football campaigns by signing up to Stonewalls Diversity Champions and by supporting the UK launch of former Leeds United player Robbie Rogers anti-discrimination ‘Beyond It’ charity.

The responsibility of sourcing additional investment to maintain the viability of the club throughout what proved to be extremely challenging times also fell to David.

Disputes with the then majority owners of the club over hollow promises made to David and the Leeds United Fans over David’s ability to manage the club unhindered and the club being continually starved of much needed investment led to David putting together the Sport Capital consortium to buy the Club in November 2012.  Whilst ultimately Sport Capital was not successful in its bid to buy the club Sport Capital remains a financier of Leeds United. David was instrumental in introducing current owner Massimo Cellinos’ Eleanora Sport Limited to Leeds United Football Club.

David resigned from the club in April 2013 to focus on voluntary work and other business opportunities.

Charity Arctic Trek

Julie and I are thrilled to announce that our trek to the Arctic Circle in April raised almost £27,000 for our chosen charity, Make a Wish Foundation. The husky-drawn challenge across 250 frozen kilometers was in aid of this fantastic cause who gave my niece – Julie’s goddaughter – Sienna, a magical day out at Disneyland Paris. Click here to watch our video.

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