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  • Detained in Dubai

UAE Bank's misuse of Interpol as debt collectors scares debtors around the world

The arrest of a British Woman in Italy over an Interpol Red Notice for debt has caused concern amongst the international business community.

The outcome of the woman’s case, for a debt of approx. €15,000 relating to a security cheque is of interest to anyone with investments or loans in the UAE. Dubai banks are using Interpol Red Notices to suit their own interests, while individuals suffer disproportionately.

The UAE has decriminalised security cheque bouncing for its nationals who have agreed to participate in loan forgiveness/repayment programmes. However, foreign nationals still face criminal charges for bounced security cheques regardless of the reason for the insufficient funds. In turn, foreign nationals can become victims of international blacklisting via Interpol Red Notices.

This practice has become widespread in recent times. Another British woman, who declined to be identified, lost her job working as cabin crew for an airline after her US visa was withdrawn when it was found she had a red notice against her name. Other Britons have been detained over small car loan security cheques.

Interpol Notices can lead to loss of employment and visa status, resulting in restricted travel and business activities across the globe even though the notice has been submitted against Interpol’s own rules.

In 2014 Interpol stated that, “A dedicated working group has also been established to review [Interpol's] rules and their implementation… The question of under what circumstances red notices should be issued for unfunded cheques wi