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  • Detained in Dubai

Foreign Investors in Ras Al Khaimah & UAE face jail, Interpol, corruption & business theft

Last month, Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum viewed a number of infrastructure projects for the emirate worth Dh6.5 billion; Dubai also recently announced plans to expand the DIFC complex; Dubai Expo 2020 is set for October this year, representing potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in contracts; and it seems that investment projects in the UAE are in a continuous state of acceleration.

Potential investors are encouraged, seduced even, by headlines like these; and that is the intention. Radha Stirling, founder and CEO of Detained in Dubai, reads such stories, however, as ‘too good to be true’ enticements that have led far too many businesspeople into personal and financial ruin.

Detained in Dubai supports expats in the UAE and Gulf region who have become wrongfully entangled in the legal system; and Stirling says approximately 80-90% of their work relates to financial and business disputes.

The UAE has created an image as a new land of extravagant opportunity; an arid desert where the rulers are willing to spend whatever it takes to turn it into an oasis. With an increasing focus on diversifying the economy beyond a dependency on oil revenues, investment projects abound in every sector; and consequently, Stirling says, “incidences of fraud, breach of trust, embezzlement, extortion, and fabricated criminal cases against foreigners have increased rapidly in recent years.”

The Emirates has taken several steps to ease the way for foreigners starting businesses in the country, and set up special economic zones that incentivise investment. These superficial criteria tend to make the UAE rank highly in surveys on investment risk and the safety of doing business, but the real dangers of working and investing in the UAE can only be learned through experience. “We are inundated with cases of foreign business people and investors who have seen their assets stolen, their careers ruined, their reputations destroyed, or who have been incarcerated on false charges; all because they ran afoul of powerful locals,” Stirling explains, “Sometimes they are literally punished for being too successful and an Emirati