CASE UPDATE: Appeals Court Refers Tameer Case to Dubai Ruler’s Court After AlRajhi Threatens Experts
Washington, D.C. – Dubai’s Court of Appeals referred review of the Tameer case, which media reports have called “the largest fraud case in Middle East history,” to the Expertise and Disputes Settlement Department of the Dubai Ruler’s Court on May 18th, 2021. This follows the Dubai Court of First Instance’s ruling on November 25th, 2020, that the current Saudi Minister of Labor, Ahmed AlRajhi, owed Canadian-Palestinian entrepreneur and founder of the company, Omar Ayesh, over half a billion dollars.
AlRajhi’s strategy of simultaneously threatening and suing experts as well as filing complaints against them, devising reasons to impede their efforts and ultimately having them replaced led to the court’s decision. In fact, successive court experts resigned almost as soon as the judge appointed them. According to the published Appeals Court ruling those who refused to work on the case were Muhammad Saeed Al-Shared, Salem Al-Shamsi, Ali Hassan Al-Marzouqi, and Sarah Al-Mansoori.
Expert Intimidation: An Obstruction of Justice
This development is cause for concern in a matter that has entered its thirteenth year and where over 25 court-appointed experts in seven committees have reviewed the case. Three expert committees issued reports in favor of Ayesh yet, tellingly, four were unable to submit conclusions as AlRajhi refused to comply with disclosure orders, refusing to submit documents and financial statements or provide access to company servers.
AlRajhi’s modus operandi of machinating conflicts of interest with, and suing, experts is deemed an abuse of process in the United States and qualifies as obstruction of justice (U.S.C. § 1503). Furthermore, the latest tactics reflect a previous instance when Dr. Redh al Rahma issued a report in favor of Ayesh valued at 6.8 billion dirhams ($1.8 b). He also resigned immediately thereafter, citing threats from AlRajhi and his team. Such incidents are considered federal US witness tampering violations (18 U.S.C. 1512); yet in this and similar instances AlRajhi and legal counsel were not held accountable, making it plausible that other experts would excuse themselves to avoid AlRajhi intimidation.
Confidential Documents Expose Al-Rajhi:
While Ayesh had filed a claim of 9.9 billion dirhams ($2.7 b), equivalent to the value of his shares in Tameer, three Dubai Court-appointed expert committees valued his dues at 4.257 billion dirhams ($1.2 b), 6.8 billion dirhams ($1.8 b), and the most recent at 1.6 billion dirhams ($436 million) plus 10 million dirhams ($2.7 m) in moral damages and 9% in penalties calculated from the judgement date, amounting to 2.2 billion dirhams.
The rulings were issued after Ayesh provided leaked documents and emails that exposed the AlRajhi plan to takeover Tameer and expropriate its assets; yet despite conclusive findings, loopholes in judicial proceedings present the AlRajhi teams with opportunities to pervert the course of justice.
Will the Dubai Ruler’s Court Justly Close the Case?
The Dubai Court of Appeal was unable to appoint an eighth expert committee, compelling it to implement Article 69 of the Law of Evidence (Evidence in Civil and Commercial Transactions) and referring the case to the Expertise and Disputes Settlement Department of the Dubai Ruler’s Court, which in turn appointed a tripartite committee of subject matter experts, indicating the matter may yet come to a just determination.
The Dubai Ruler’s Department of Expertise and Dispute Resolution includes a group of seasoned experts who play a significant role in adjudicating major cases and disputes in a timely manner. In fact, the Ruler’s Court prides itself on the speedy resolution of matters it considers with an average of three months per case, according to Hashem Salem Al Qiwani, Director of the Expertise and Disputes Settlement Department of the Dubai Ruler’s Court
The Tameer Scandal: A Scholarly Case Study
The Global Justice Foundation applauds His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s Eight Principles which include “no one is above the law” and that “justice delayed is justice denied.” However, the reality is that Dubai’s judicial process is open to abuse with limited mechanisms of expediency and accountability. The courts’ ability to mete out justice fairly and quickly is hampered by the scheming of those with deep pockets and influential ties who know how to leverage gaps in the system. Addressing systemic loopholes and holding the corrupt accountable are central to maintaining Dubai’s reputation as a global financial center.
The Global Justice Foundation has completed a comprehensive investigative report examining details of the Tameer case. International law and anti-corruption experts participated in the analysis which will be made available to international media and scholarly institutions that have that expressed interest in the complexity of the corruption involved in “the largest fraud case in the Middle East history.”
The GJF is a non-profit, Washington, D.C.-based organization helping nations with anti-corruption goals hold people in positions of influence accountable, particularly where leaders may be unaware of corruption within government ranks. We count among our volunteer Board eminent lawyers including Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and former Virginia Congressman Jim Moran (D).