Ex-Leeds United boss files police complaint over alleged torture

David Haigh.
David Haigh.

A former Leeds United boss has requested a police investigation into torture that he allegedly suffered in a Dubai prison.

David Haigh has filed a “preliminary inquiry” with the Metropolitan Police force in London through Toby Cadman, a co-founder of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers.

Ex-chief executive Mr Haigh was thrown into a police detention centre in May 2014 after travelling to Dubai to meet with officials from Gulf Finance House (GFH), the former owner of Leeds United.

He had been arrested over claims that he falsified invoices and unlawfully channelled funds to bank accounts that he controlled. Mr Haigh spent 18 months at a temporary holding site at Bur Dubai police station and was convicted in the United Arab Emirates of taking more than £3m from his former employers – but has always vigorously protested his innocence.

Mr Cadman gave a statement outside Parliament Square in London this week.

He said: “Mr Haigh was beaten, physically assaulted, Tasered and subjected to sensory deprivation. Such abhorrent treatment has no place in any democratic system based on the rule of law.”

He added: “There can never be a justification for such treatment, and those responsible must be investigated and where appropriate, prosecuted for their actions.

“We have today filed a preliminary inquiry with SO15 at the Metropolitan Police and will, over the coming days and weeks compile more detailed submissions and evidence that will be forwarded to the authorities, with a request that an investigation be opened.”

According to Mr Cadman the request is being made to the Metropolitan Police because, in the case of torture, the force has jurisdiction to take action regardless of where the offence may have been committed.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said last year that it took Mr Haigh’s allegations of mistreatment “extremely seriously” and was “setting out our concerns to the UAE authorities”.

Mr Haigh told The Yorkshire Post a few weeks ago that he has undergone eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and was staying in a London psychiatric hospital.