Dubai Debtors Prison Snares Unwary Businesspeople

by Michael Diaz Jr. on August 12, 2010

Diaz Reus partner Carlos Gonzalez is quoted in a compelling August 11 Bloomberg article on the sorry state of Dubai justice and the dubious incarceration of foreign executives suspected of fraud.

While striving to become a world-class financial center, Dubai’s justice system remains archaic and provincial. In an effort to address fraud and over-development, it launched a campaign against corruption that has resulted in hundreds of foreign executives being jailed—often for years and often without formal charges or bail.

Further, some claim ill-treatment and torture. In addition, tough new anti-corruption laws passed after the execs’ arrests could up their sentences from three years to 20 years. Detentions for financial crimes are rising—many debt-related or the result of bounced checks, a criminal offense there. Indeed, doing business in Dubai is not like doing business in the West.

But if the United Arab Emirate hopes to garner investment and be a player on the world financial stage, it needs to bring its antiquated legal system into the 21st century.

As Carlos comments in the article, “Dubai, as an aspiring global marketplace, must also endeavor to become recognized as a cutting-edge legal center capable of developing a legal structure that matches its financial ambitions

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