In Dubai, $1.7 billion Danish fraud suspect challenges extradition
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The lawyer for a Briton arrested in Dubai for allegedly orchestrating a $1.7 billion tax scheme in Denmark asked judges on Monday not to extradite him.
Denmark wants hedge fund trader Sanjay Shah extradited from the UAE, but Shah’s lawyer Ali al-Zarooni argued in court that there were breaches of the extradition treaty signed between the two. two countries.
Speaking before three judges in a closed session, al-Zarooni asked the court to reject the extradition request. Al-Zarooni told The Associated Press after the hearing that the treaty violations came from the Danish side. Prosecutors did not immediately comment on Monday’s hearing, although police previously said Shah could be extradited.
Danish officials in March signed an agreement allowing extradition between the United Arab Emirates and Denmark. Shah has maintained his innocence in interviews with reporters while living in Dubai for the past few years.
The hedge fund manager had run a center for autistic children in Dubai which closed in 2020 amid attempts by Denmark to extradite him. He also ran the British charity Autism Rocks, which organized shows by major artists to raise funds.
At the time of his arrest, Dubai police said the emirate had received an international arrest warrant from Denmark for Shah. The statement added that Shah was accused of a fraud which saw foreign companies pretending to own shares in Danish companies and claiming tax refunds for which they were not eligible. Danish authorities say the program ran for about three years from 2012.
Shah was not in court on Monday. Instead, the judge spoke to all defendants digitally.
A court decision on the extradition is expected on September 12.
Shah is one of several suspects in the tax scheme sought by Danish authorities.
Shah’s arrest comes as an Emirati now heads Interpol, the international police agency, as president. The United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven emirates, has long invited the wealthy to invest in the country, largely without questioning where they made their money.
However, in recent months the UAE has arrested several suspects wanted for major crimes, including two of the Gupta brothers from South Africa, wanted for allegedly looting state money with former President Jacob Zuma . However, questions over the flow of money to the UAE have risen as Russian wealth flows into the Arabian Peninsula nation amid Moscow’s war on Ukraine.
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Malak Harb, Associated Press