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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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British financier ordered by UAE high court to pay back $1.7bn in tax fraud

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The Supreme Court of the United Arab Emirates has ordered a British hedge fund trader found guilty of orchestrating a $1.7 billion tax fraud to pay the Danish tax authority

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The United Arab Emirates Supreme Court on Tuesday found a British hedge fund trader guilty of orchestrating a $1.7 billion tax fraud and making payments to Danish tax authorities.

Financier Sanjay Shah was convicted in a lower court for masterminding the scheme from 2012 to 2015. Under the scheme, foreign businesses pretend to own shares in Danish companies and claim tax refunds for which they are not eligible. He was arrested in Dubai last year.

Shah and his lawyer declined to comment on Tuesday’s ruling.

The Supreme Court also ordered Shah and several foreign businesses involved in the scheme to pay 5% interest on the $1.7 billion accumulated when the case was first filed in August 2018.

“After nearly five years of judicial pursuit, this final ruling underscores the serious and uncompromising stance taken by the UAE authorities on financial misconduct,” Dubai-based OGH Legal, acting on behalf of the Danish authorities, said in a statement.

Last September, the Dubai Court of Appeal found Shah and his associates guilty of illegally extracting funds from the Danish tax authorities. His lawyers appealed the verdict to the Supreme Court, which on Tuesday upheld an earlier ruling and ordered Shah to pay $1.7 billion.

In a separate ruling, Shah was ordered to be extradited to Denmark after a Dubai court rejected his appeal against deportation in April. He is expected to face prosecution in Denmark on tax fraud charges. It was not immediately clear when he was extradited.

The 52-year-old financier has maintained his innocence in interviews with reporters but has never appeared in Denmark to respond to the allegations. His defense argued in closed hearings that Denmark had failed to follow the procedures set out in international extradition treaties.

Shah’s arrest comes as the region’s financial hub, Dubai, comes under mounting pressure over alleged weaknesses in its fight against financial misconduct. The UAE has long invited wealthy individuals, including disreputable public figures, to invest in the country without asking where they made their money.

Recently, however, the UAE has arrested several suspects wanted for major crimes, including two brothers from South Africa who are accused of aiding massive public corruption and draining state resources alongside former President Jacob Zuma.

An Emirati official also recently became the chairman of the international police agency Interpol.

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