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  • Writer's pictureDetained in Dubai

Dubai bank raises Interpol Red Notice for bounced cheque leading to arrest of expat customer

- leading to arrest of expat customer now facing extradition proceedings in Europe.

UAE banks. Illegally using Interpol for debt collection, despite being in active negotiations with the customer

Dubai bank, during customer lead active negotiations, secretly raised an #INTERPOL Red Notice against him for a bounced cheque, resulting in his subsequent arrest in Europe.

Now fighting an extradition request from the United Arab Emirates, the customer’s position to negotiate is prejudiced, after having to divert his available funds to his legal defence team in what is a very serious trial.

Once the customer secures his freedom, he will then need to appeal for his name to be removed from the Interpol database before returning to the table to negotiate with the bank. This process is also expensive, again drawing from the funds the customer had available to pay the debt owed to the UAE bank.

When the customer returns to the negotiation, after the expensive distractions of defeating the extradition request and then having his name removed from the Interpol database, he will have substantially less funds to offer the bank for his debt repayments. He has been left with no choice but to use his limited funds to defend himself from these frivolous Interpol actions by the bank, or he would not be able to travel safely internationally.

From the bank’s view, the actions have not improved their position and in fact, they are in a weakened position to recover any monies they deem owed.

In other cases of Interpol reports for bank debt or bounced cheques, clients have lost their employment, businesses and reputation but in no cases, has such action lead to the banks recovering more than the client was originally able to pay. In fact in most cases, the client has been rendered entirely incapable of satisfying any repayment requests as a direct result of the bank’s recovery actions.

For UAE banks, the hope is that the threat of Interpol public knowledge of this possibility, is frightening enough that clients (who can pay) will be more likely to repay their loans to avoid extradition to the UAE, and the country’s prison system. Overall therefore, the bank may be able to recover more debts than they would if they did not hold that card. This is detrimental though, to customers who are acting in good faith and doing their best to cooperate, following usually unexpected changes in circumstances.

Radha Stirling. Detained In Dubai's CEO, lobbying for Interpol reform

Last year, Radha Stirling, a specialist in Interpol Red Notice removal & extradition, dealt with Interpol arrests for debt in Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and Greece. "In all cases, I was able to ultimately secure the release of these bank customers but, the cost to each customer, meant the banks were not able to recover the claimed debts” said Stirling.

UAE banks are notorious for wrongfully using Interpol as debt collectors, and the UAE remains Interpol’s largest voluntary financial contributor. UAE banks routinely report debt cases to Interpol simply reclassifying the debt as ‘fraud’. Debt is not a criminal matter as far as Interpol is concerned. This kind of abuse of Interpol creates extensive extra workload for the international organisation and diverts their focus from serious crime. Such abuse is a breach of the UAE’s membership with the body, though Interpol have made no apparent steps to stop the practice.

Frivolous Red Notices cost taxpayers millions per year in law enforcement and court costs for extradition requests; Interpol currently offer no compensation to victims of the practice, who have been wrongfully reported and suffered huge financial losses as a result. Interpol admit no duty of care to the public to analyse the merits of the reports that they publish and share and no longer publish UAE reports on their website, perhaps because the UAE has more active red notices than any other country, per head of population.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, has been defending clients in extradition proceedings for ten years and removing clients from Interpol’s databases. Stirling has pressured Interpol’s headquarters in Lyon to update its procedures and prevent this kind of abuse in the future. Stirling said “Interpol owe a duty of care to the public to ensure that its member countries are adhering to Interpol’s charter when reporting a ‘fugitive’. A number of victims of Interpol abuse are seeking to make the organisation accountable for their lack of checks and balances, that have resulted in wrongful detention and substantial yet preventable, financial loss."


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