Former Leeds United managing director David Haigh has been handed a two-year jail sentence after being convicted of “breach of trust” by a court in Dubai.
The British executive has been in custody since being arrested and jailed in Dubai in May 2014 on suspicion of fraud, embezzlement and money-laundering.
Mr Haigh, the former deputy CEO of Dubai-based investment firm GFH Capital, was sentenced by the Dubai Criminal Court on Tuesday but intends to appeal the decision.
A spokesman for Mr Haigh said: “The ruling by the judge in the Dubai Criminal Court is already under appeal.
“David maintains his absolute innocence and looks forward to being released soon.”
A spokesman for GFH declined to comment on the ruling.
GFH alleges that Mr Haigh, 38, who protests his innocence and claims he was lured to Dubai under false pretences, defrauded it of £3 million by falsifying invoices and diverted money into accounts controlled by him.
His case suffered a blow earlier this summer when the Dubai courts refused to release funds from his frozen bank account to pay his legal team, resulting in him being left without representation.
Mr Haigh has lodged a counter claim against GFH, which bought Leeds United from Ken Bates in December 2012, claiming he was lured to Dubai under false pretences and for unpaid salary and bonuses he says are owed to him.It emerged earlier this year that Mr Haigh, who claims he is the victim of human trafficking, was applying for a private criminal prosecution against two executives from the club’s former owners.
He has lodged an application for an arrest warrant to be issued for Hisham Al Rayes of Bahrain, Chief Executive Officer of GFH, and Jinesh Patel, chief executive of subsidiary GFH Capital.
The hearing where he was sentenced was held behind closed doors but it is understood Mr Haigh was charged in June this year, more than a year after being arrested.
He has already served more than 15 months in jail and it is understood he could be released as soon as November.