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  • Detained in Dubai

BREAKING: Canadian whistleblower faces extradition for exposing UAE financial scandal


André Gauthier before and after his detention in Dubai

A little over a month ago, in the middle of the night, Alexis Gauthier received a message from his father:

“Tell your mother and your sister that I love them. Thank you very much for your help. This is where it ends for me. I do not have the strength to fight anymore…I'd rather die than go back to jail in Dubai.”

André Gauthier, a 65 year old Canadian citizen from Quebec, has indeed been fighting for a long time. He had been one of the first shareholders of UAE gold brokerage firm, Gold AE, to suspect financial foul play by the management, and had eventually been tasked with investigating what emerged as one of the biggest scams in UAE history. Now, André was despondently messaging his son from a Muscat prison, facing extradition to the UAE, wrongfully charged for the very fraud he had been instrumental in exposing.

André had been in the gold business for decades, primarily in South America, Asia and Africa; evaluating mines and advising mining companies on development strategies. Through long time contacts in Peru, Andre had become involved with Gold AE in 2013. It was an exciting and promising project back then, with royal backing and a license to operate within the Dubai International Financial Centre; Andre saw great potential for expansion and became a minority shareholder. He all but ceased his other professional endeavours to focus on the burgeoning new company. With his sterling reputation and vast international connections, Andre brought investors from around the world to Gold AE, believing that there were great opportunities for lucrative returns. It was a dream project.

It was not long, however, before Andre began to notice telltale signs of managerial impropriety. The majority shareholder refused to let Andre review the company accounts, and would always become evasive when Andre asked pointed questions about finances. He became suspicious, and undertook his own investigation into the company’s books. In appearance, everything seemed normal, but digging a little deeper, he realised that his doubts were justified. At first glance, Gold AE seemed prosperous because management used very complicated techniques to distort real accounting data. But, in reality, the cash outflows were significantly larger than the money invested by the clients. Nearly $30,000,000 was missing, and the company had been in a state of insolvency for quite some time.