Former Leeds United managing director David Haigh’s arrest in Dubai is not linked to the recent takeover of the club by Massimo Cellino or Cellino himself, according to the club’s former owners Gulf Finance House today.
Haigh unwittingly flew himself into the arms of the Dubai police a week last Sunday, expecting to be offered a new role at GFH, where he was formerly deputy chief executive officer, after leaving Leeds United last month.
He was arrested and thrown in jail following allegations of serious fraud and embezzlement.
However, a source for the “shocked and horrified” Haigh, said: “He is confident he has done nothing wrong or illegal . . . and that the Dubai authorities will see through what he insists are baseless allegations.”
Eight days on, Haigh is still believed to be in custody, with press reports suggesting that he is being held under investigation of a $6.45m (about £3.8m) embezzlement.
GFH’s statement said: “The issues that have been referred to the Dubai and UK authorities are unrelated to GFH Capital’s relationship with Mr Massimo Cellino, the new majority owner and fellow shareholder in Leeds United, or his purchase of a 75 per cent stake in the club from GFH earlier this year.”
The statement continued: “GFH Capital is confident that it has fulfilled all its duties and obligations properly in bringing the allegations against David Haigh to the attention of the appropriate authorities.”
It seems like the allegations relate to Haigh’s time at Leeds under GFH Capital’s watch, rather than anything allegedly done over the sale to Cellino.
Haigh was quizzed by West Yorkshire Police following allegations of misappropriation of club funds when it was revealed that CCTV cameras in the boardroom toilets at Elland Road, which he declared was done following rumours that class-A drugs were being used behind the scenes at Elland Road.