Solicitor and former Leeds United football club boss David Haigh has been denied permission to appeal a High Court ruling enforcing a Gulf court order made earlier this year.
Haigh returned to the UK in 2016 from Dubai, where he had been convicted of taking more than £3m from private equity outfit GFH Capital. He spent two years in the emirate’s penal system.
In May, the High Court of England and Wales ruled in favour of GFH Capital’s claim to enforce a judgment of the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) Courts, which described Haigh as a ‘fraudster’ and ordered him to repay money he had allegedly taken.
In the main ruling, the Honourable Mr Justice Henshaw said: ‘I do not consider that Mr Haigh can arguably establish a prima facie case, or indeed any case, that the claim against him in the DIFC court was fictitious such that the DIFC judgment was procured by fraud.
‘On the contrary, as Justice Sir Jeremy Cooke said…“no-one has ever come forward with a coherent explanation for the fact that large sums of money found their way into the bank accounts of the defendant and that false invoices were created with payment instructions which disguised the receipt of those sums by the defendant”’.
Haigh subsequently filed an application for permission to appeal the order. However, the Rt. Hon. Lady Justice Carr refused his application, stating: ‘I do not consider that the appeal has a real prospect of success or that that there is any compelling reason why an appeal should be heard. There is no prospect of an appellate court finding that the Judge’s decision was wrong. He made no arguable error of law or fact. In so far as he exercised discretion, there is no prospect of a court interfering with his approach.’
She added: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, the stay of execution pending determination of the application for permission to appeal is lifted.’
Haigh has also been issued with a disclosure order by the High Court with a penal notice attached. If he does not comply with the order he could face a prison sentence or a fine.
GFH Capital is represented by boutique firm Preiskel & Co LLP while Haigh is a litigant in person.