GFH GC Haigh instructs Kaim Todner on costs order judicial review

Former GFH Capital general counsel David Haigh has instructed human rights firm Kaim Todner to judicially review a £230,000 costs order against him handed down in October.

The firm, led by managing director Karen Todner, will argue the award was inappropriate as the private prosecution application was withdrawn prior to any hearing, The Lawyer understands.

Haigh launched the prosecution application last May alleging his former employers two GFH Capital executives, and their lawyer, former Gibson Dunn & Crutcher partner Peter Gray, engaged in “human trafficking” to lure him to Dubai where he is currently in prison.

Gray, represented by Peters & Peters, was awarded costs of £108,000 by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in October and GFH Capital bosses Hisham Al-Rayes and Jinesh Patel were awarded full costs of £121,500.

In his costs ruling, District Judge Ikram said: “The applicant had choices at the outset and he chose to seek the issue of summonses on a private prosecution whilst in custody in Dubai facing proceedings there.

“He did so knowing that he would have to conduct proceedings with the possibility that he would remain in custody there. He could have instead gone to law enforcement agencies but chose not to. I am of the clear view that it was wholly improper to launch these proceedings.”

Haigh was imprisoned in Dubai in May 2014 over claims he falsified £3m of invoices in connection with the sale of Leeds United, which was then owned by GFH.

His assets were frozen by GFH’s lawyers Gibson Dunn in June 2014 and have not yet been released. The freezing order meant Haigh was unable to pay his legal counsel to fight the Dubai prosecution.

Stephenson Harwood Dubai managing partner Rovine Chandrasekera and Olswang partner Bernard O’Sullivan both came off the record for Haigh in May when the Dubai International Financial Centre refused to release funds.

Great James Street Chambers’ Alun Jones QC represented Haigh in the private prosecution application and will assist Kaim Todner in the judicial review application.

Haigh was due for release from Dubai prison in November following a trial on the allegations of financial misappropriation in the local criminal courts. One day before his release he was detained again after GFH Capital complained of remarks allegedly made by Haigh on Twitter.

Haigh is due to appear in court again on 21 January. A spokesperson said: “This latest delay will mean that David will have spent a minimum of nine weeks in jail on a complaint of ‘Twitter abuse’. No formal charges have been brought against him in this context.”

It is understood a campaign to extradite Haigh from Dubai is growing in the UK, with MPs and the Foreign Office contacted on claims he has been unlawfully detained in Dubai without trial.

The news comes just one month before ex-Gibson Dunn partner Gray will appear in the Court of Appeal to attempt to appeal a ruling handed down last year that he “deliberately misled” the High Court in the case, the Republic of Djibouti et al v Mr Abdourahman Boreh et al.

Gray, who is based in Dubai, lost his job at Gibson Dunn following the ruling.

Republic of Djibouti et al v Boreh et al

The legal line-up:

For the claimants/respondents, the Republic of Djibouti

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher partner Lord Falconer QC, Fountain Court Chambers’ Deepak Nambisan and Daniel Edmonds and Serle Court’s Jennifer Haywood

For the defendant/applicant, Abdourahman Boreh

7KBW’s Dominic Kendrick QC, Richard Waller QC, Keir Howie and Jocelyn Gale, instructed by Byrne & Partners’ Yvonne Jeffries

David Haigh v Al Rayes, Patel and Gray

The legal lineup:

For the claimant, David Haigh

Great James Street chambers’ Alun Jones QC, instructed by Stephenson Harwood Dubai managing partner Rovine Chandrasekera; Olswang partner Bernard O’Sullivan and associate Mark Davison

For the defendants, Al Rayes and Patel 

Matrix Chambers’ Andrew Bodnar, instructed by Bryan Cave partner Robert Dougans

For the defendant, Peter Gray

QEB’s Adrian Darbishire, instructed by Peters & Peters partner Michael O’Kane