Dubai: Two British nationals, who have been unable to leave the UAE for the past six years due to a pending international investigation, have asked authorities to either charge them and bring them to court, extradite them, or release them to their families.
Naveed Amir Ahmad, 39, a businessman, told Gulf News he was arrested by Dubai authorities in April 2010 after he complained that his bank account in the UAE had been frozen. A day before his flight back to the UK that month, he was arrested allegedly based on an Interpol warrant issued by Germany for a suspected tax evasion case in carbon credit trading.
The fraud case in Germany involved billions of dollars of carbon credits allowances that were illegally traded by an organised crime group operating in at least 11 countries in the European Union.
Ahmad, who had an offshore business of import and export of electronic goods in Ras Al Khaimah and in Germany, said he had nothing to do with the case in Germany.
“We have not done anything wrong,” Ahmad told Gulf News. “Nothing at all, it’s just speculation.”
Robert (not his real name), another British national included in the case, said he was in Dubai with his family on a holiday when he was stopped at the airport and then detained.
“They had names of about 10 to 15 people who they wanted to question. I was one of them and it had something to do with Germany. I had never been to Germany. I have never worked in Germany. Nothing, I told them that,” Robert told Gulf News.
Ahmad was in jail for about a month while Robert was imprisoned for more than two months before they both got bail. Six years later, their case is still under investigation as confirmed by the Dubai Public Prosecution.
“After six years, at least charge us with something; at least take us to court. If this is a case in Germany, why don’t you send us back to Germany and we’ll deal with it over there? We’re willing to go to Germany but they’re not letting us go. It’s been six years and we’re just sitting here doing nothing. We’re not allowed to work, all our money is seized, we can’t do anything,” Ahmad said.
Both men alleged that no help has been extended to them by the British Embassy.
When contacted by Gulf News, a spokesperson from the British Embassy said: “We are aware of Mr Ahmad’s case. Since his arrest in 2010 we have regularly provided assistance, including raising the case with the appropriate authorities at a senior level.”
A senior prosecution source confirmed to Gulf News that 10 British suspects have been facing a pending probe over an alleged money laundering crime that happened in Germany since 2010.
“The most recent decision in the investigation was taken on July 25 when the interrogating prosecutor adjourned the investigation until the case file is sent from the legal authorities in Germany. No charges have been pressed against those suspects, who remain on bail. Dubai prosecutors will take the required legal action [pertaining to the extradition request] based on the findings of the case file after receiving it from the German authorities,” explained the source.
“It is all based on the outcome of the interrogations. We cannot give further comments at the current stage pending further interrogations,” the prosecution source added.
The six-year wait for the case file has brought the men’s life to a halt. Both men said they have lost everything. They have since been living on the charity of friends, moving from one accommodation to another in order to survive.
“Literally, this is costing me my life. I have a house in the UK which got repossessed because I couldn’t pay the mortgage; I’m not able to work,” Ahmad said.
Robert, who has three children, said: “My wife had cancer. She just got cured in 2012. She had a heart problem. I showed them [authorities] all the paperwork. I said, ‘I need to go and see my family.’ They didn’t let me go.”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with this case. There’s no future. Even my family now, my mum and dad obviously they’re getting old, six years later, they have stopped asking, “Are you coming home or not?”
— With additional inputs from Bassam Za’za’, Legal and Court Correspondent