47 year old Johnson George, married with two children, has been locked up in the heavily promoted investment hub of Ras al Khaimah. Detained in Dubai has warned foreigners of the history of legal abuse in the emirate and how a wrongful accusation with an ulterior motive, is sufficient to have investors and workers jailed and their assets seized.
Indian national Johnson George has been in detention in Ras Al Khaimah since the beginning of the year, apparently because the government is unable to prosecute his employer who relocated to the United States facing similar charges he denies. Mr George was held without charge for over 6 months, and though he was ultimately charged for a financial crime it would have been impossible for him to commit; he has been consistently denied bail.
Mr. George has been caught up in yet another case stemming from the purge carried out when Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qassimi ascended to power in the emirate, which saw long-time executives of the Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone Authority (RAKFTZA) and the Rask Al Khaimah Investment Authroty (RAKIA) unceremoniously sacked. These forced redundancies were couched in a number of reported fabricated cases of embezzlement and corruption, which in turn led to a multitude of legal challenges by the sacked executives. Unfortunately for Mr. George, his employer was one of those executives who fought back against the Sheikh, and he is currently embroiled in legal proceedings in the United States. It appears that Mr. George has been targeted by the government to bear responsibility for the fabricated case against his former boss, and, one suspects, in retaliation for the American lawsuit against Sheikh Saud.
Mr. George’s former employer, the ex-CEO of RAKFTZA is accused of embezzling around 5 million dirhams, and now that case seems to have been redirected against Mr. George. However, Mr. George merely worked in the legal department of RAKFTZA, drafting contracts and agreements, and had no access to the company’s accounts at any time.
In 2012 Mr. George left his work at RAKFTZA, and subsequently became general manager for Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone Authority, where he remains employed today, even after his sudden detention over this case coinciding with the legal proceedings against Sheikh Saud by his former boss in the US.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, comments, “this case is very similar to others we have seen in Ras Al Khaimah, including the unjustified detention without charge of Nico Consari and Richard Lau; as well as ongoing cases connected to Sheikh Saud’s purge of executives appointed by RAK’s former ruler. Mr. George had no access to commit the alleged crime, and indeed, there are court proceedings taking place in the US at this moment to determine if the alleged crime even took place at all. Evidence suggests that the charges against Mr. George’s employer are fabricated and politically motivated. Ras Al Khaimah authorities are unjustly targeting Johnson George for an alleged crime he not only did not commit, but to which he does not even have a connection, simply because of who his boss used to be.
“Mr. George has already been detained for 8 months, he has been either denied bail, or has been offered bail in exchange for an exorbitant bond far exceeding even the amount the case claims was embezzled. The charges are not violent in nature, nor does Mr. George pose a flight risk; he should be bailed immediately and allowed to return to his family and business.”
Detained in Dubai has long warned Indian businessmen and investors of the serious risks of investing in the UAE.