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  • Detained in Dubai

UK citizen victim of identity theft held in UAE - family pleads for his release


Atif, wife Claire and 2 year old daughter Arianna

London-born Atif Khalique used to work as a taxi driver in the UK back in 2016 when he came across an advert online for a job in Dubai. Always on the lookout for new opportunities, Atif contacted the recruiter and before he knew it, he was on his way to the UAE for a job interview. The 36 year old Atif was planning to marry in the coming months, and he was feeling hopeful about a future in Dubai with his new family and a new career.

The interview went well, and he was told the job was his; he just had to fill out some paperwork and provide extensive personal details to allow the company to run a background check. He returned to the UK to await further arrangements from his new employers. Weeks passed, then months; Atif assumed he had failed the background check for some reason and didn’t get the job. In March, however, the company contacted him again, and again he flew to the UAE to fill out more paperwork, “They told me that the original documents had been misplaced,” Atif explains, “I had no idea what they were really doing with my personal information.”

Once he returned to the UK, he never heard from the company again, but he soon discovered that the whole hiring process had been a charade. “They took my personal details in order to steal my identity and obtain bank loans and credit cards in my name,” he relates, “I started getting contacted by debt collectors about defaults on loans in Dubai that I had never taken!”

A bank in Dubai hired Coyle White Devine to seize Atif’s assets through a court in the UK to pay back one of the fraudulent loans. He was preparing to fight this claim and clear his name once the case was scheduled to be heard next year. Amidst the stress, Atif decided to take a brief holiday from the telecom company where he then worked, so he travelled to the UAE on September 3rd to watch the UFC fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Poirier in Abu Dhabi. What he didn’t know was that several cases had already been taken out against him by defrauded creditors, and he had already been tried in absentia, with at least one case carrying a sentence of 2 months. Atif was immediately arrested upon arrival, taken into custody, and only released on bail after two days, with police keeping his passport.<