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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,
In a spot of trouble and advice would be very much appreciated.

My Husband and I lived in Dubai a year and a half ago, and he worked for a major bank when we lived here.

His visa was cancelled, and we exited successfully without any issues.

He and I were planning to holiday in Malaysia, and our flights transited through abu dhabi. He had no problem entering the UAE and we spent a day visiting old friends.

We went to catch our flight this morning and the abu dhabi police detained him for a check that was written and signed for 4 months after we exited the UAE, and we think it was from his employee account, because we never held any other accounts with them, and the amount is for 50k dirhams.

The account was supposedly closed by his bank employers upon leaving the company.

We were able to keep in contact via airport wifi until 4:00 am this morning, when he stopped responding to messages.

Neither of our phones are working, because of the du system update that occurred this morning.

I was told that he would be transferred to khalifa city police station, and then to muraqqabat in dubai. I got myself from abu dhabi to a hotel near the station.

His bank employers head offices will not be open till sunday.

I don't know if he is at muraqqabat, because I tried calling from the hotel phone but I don't speak arabic, and am about to go over and see if he is there, though I know they won't allow me to see him at this point.

What steps can I take from here? What mistakes should I avoid when I go down to the police station? What can I expect? If I take food and clothing for him, can I expect it to reach him? How long should we expect to be here once the police have contacted the bank?

Alone and pretty scared right now.Any advice would be appreciated. Both Australian citizens, if it makes any difference.

Thankyou.
 

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You should be able to see him during visiting hours.

Basically, if it's a bounced cheque, he'll be detained until the money is paid.

You could get him out, if there is someone willing to put their passport in as a guarantee for him.

So basically the bank didn't close the account and someone else has written the cheque? Was someone else a cheque signatory?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You should be able to see him during visiting hours.

Basically, if it's a bounced cheque, he'll be detained until the money is paid.

You could get him out, if there is someone willing to put their passport in as a guarantee for him.

So basically the bank didn't close the account and someone else has written the cheque? Was someone else a cheque signatory?
Hi, Thanks for your reply.

I am honestly not sure. His employer could have been.

It's possible that the account wasn't closed like the employer's said it was, and there was some sort of fee associated with the account later.... but I have no idea what would be a large enough issue that they would cash a security cheque, which we assume it must have been. No, no one else was a signatory that we know of.

Would he be forced to pay the amount of the security cheque if they find out it was cashed due to a small fee?

I know it sounds crazy that we don't know what it was, but neither of us remember him signing a cheque for that amount, and it isn't in my carefully kept bank records either. The date of the cheque on the paperwork they showed us was 4 months after we left the UAE, which is one of the reasons it doesn'r make sense. We thought it was closed then, and no longer touched the account, and you can't get a work visa cancelled if you owe anything, and we knew we had no debts when we left because we checked and his visa was cancelled without issue.

Any and all advice appreciated, and thanks for your reply.
 

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Hmmm all sounds a bit like fraud really doesn't it. Who had the cheque book? Where has this cheque come from?

I had a friend who was wrongly jailed, because some jobsworth at the bank cashed his security cheque for a car loan - after he'd paid it all off! He had to get hold of and show the clearance letter to prove it was all paid off - he learned a BIG lesson in making sure to retrieve any future security cheques.

Do you have any clearance letters to prove everything was paid off? That would help.

What a nightmare for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hmmm all sounds a bit like fraud really doesn't it. Who had the cheque book? Where has this cheque come from?

I had a friend who was wrongly jailed, because some jobsworth at the bank cashed his security cheque for a car loan - after he'd paid it all off! He had to get hold of and show the clearance letter to prove it was all paid off - he learned a BIG lesson in making sure to retrieve any future security cheques.

Do you have any clearance letters to prove everything was paid off? That would help.

What a nightmare for you.
I can try and get one. Ashamedly, it wasn't something I considered at the time, because I chased all our accounts and we were told with this one that due to bank regulations, their employee department would handle closing it just the same as they handled opening it.

It feels fraudulent, but we don't know anything yet, because the Dubai police dept wouldn't talk to the abu dhabi one, they insisted he be transferred, and his old employer's head office won't be open till tomorrow.

Cooking some food to take over (he's coeliac), and going to see if I can find him/see him.

All pretty scary, because we don't have 50k to pay this even if we wanted to.

Would I be able to give them my passport as security?
Thankyou.
 

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Hi Guys,
In a spot of trouble and advice would be very much appreciated.

My Husband and I lived in Dubai a year and a half ago, and he worked for a major bank when we lived here.

His visa was cancelled, and we exited successfully without any issues.

He and I were planning to holiday in Malaysia, and our flights transited through abu dhabi. He had no problem entering the UAE and we spent a day visiting old friends.

We went to catch our flight this morning and the abu dhabi police detained him for a check that was written and signed for 4 months after we exited the UAE, and we think it was from his employee account, because we never held any other accounts with them, and the amount is for 50k dirhams.

The account was supposedly closed by his bank employers upon leaving the company.

We were able to keep in contact via airport wifi until 4:00 am this morning, when he stopped responding to messages.

Neither of our phones are working, because of the du system update that occurred this morning.

I was told that he would be transferred to khalifa city police station, and then to muraqqabat in dubai. I got myself from abu dhabi to a hotel near the station.

His bank employers head offices will not be open till sunday.

I don't know if he is at muraqqabat, because I tried calling from the hotel phone but I don't speak arabic, and am about to go over and see if he is there, though I know they won't allow me to see him at this point.

What steps can I take from here? What mistakes should I avoid when I go down to the police station? What can I expect? If I take food and clothing for him, can I expect it to reach him? How long should we expect to be here once the police have contacted the bank?

Alone and pretty scared right now.Any advice would be appreciated. Both Australian citizens, if it makes any difference.

Thankyou.
Hi Evenstar

I appreciate that you must be concerned. I have some first-hand experience of this, but I am not a lawyer.

A police case is likely to have been opened in Dubai for the dishonoured cheque. He will therefore have to go before the Dubai Court, hence the reason Abu Dhabi police have transferred him to Maraqqabat.

Note that it is the payee who will open the case, not the bank (unless the bank is itself the payee, ie for security cheques).

While he is detained, he is unlikely to have access to his mobile phone, however he might be able to negotiate an outbound call from the police station. It will not be luxury accommodation, everything will be in arabic, and it will be a shock to the system, but he will survive. The police station will likely permit visitors - I suggest you get yourself a pre-paid SIM before you go, so you can give him the number in case he needs to contact you and he can negotiate an outbound call.

The likely process is that he will go before a judge, who will ask him simply whether he signed the cheque in question. If he recognises the cheque, then he should ask for time to settle the matter with the payee, and he will likely be bailed against surrender of his passport. Bear in mind that this "hearing" will last 2/3 minutes only, be in Arabic through an interpreter (although some of the judges will understand his English), and the judge will not be interested in the whys and wherefores. His main objective should be to secure bail and get out of custody, then he can solve the problem.

If he did not sign the cheque, then this is another matter entirely, being one of potential fraud. In this case, he needs to find a lawyer, and your Embassy will hopefully assist you. He should still be able to obtain bail to solve the problem.

What do you think the cheque might be? How would someone have access to his chequebook once he had left UAE - surely he would have destroyed it and/or taken it with him? I suggest it could be a cheque given previously as security against a credit card or other financial product, which if not properly closed when you left might have led to it being presented through lack of contact or lack of payments? If the principal amount was repaid when you left, the sum owed now might be trivial - a few tens or hundreds of dirhams of bank charges/interest, but this still might have caused the bank to present the security cheque for the full amount if not paid. He can settle the debt (the amount he owes, not the cheque value), obtain clearance, and take this to the police and/or court to close the case and retrieve his passport. Hopefully this can be achieved in a matter of a few days - bear in mind that the court might be closed on Sunday due to Islamic New Year, so it could be Monday before he is heard and released - it would be worth calling Dubai Courts to find this out.

I wish you the best of luck.
 

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...

Would he be forced to pay the amount of the security cheque if they find out it was cashed due to a small fee?

...
No, he wouldn't. Don't worry.

If it was indeed a security cheque (I suggest that this is the case, maybe a credit card), then he will have written the AED50,000 value when the financial product was taken, and signed the cheque but left it undated.

Assume something is owed to the bank, such as some fees/interest. Assume also they establish that your husband is no longer employed in UAE (ie no salary receipts, maybe even they know his visa has been cancelled), and they also cannot contact him as his UAE phone has been disconnected. The only option for them is to present and bounce the security cheque.

Note, the police case is not that he owes money (a civil charge), but instead that he bounced a cheque to the face value of AED50,000 (a criminal charge, hence the arrest and detainment).

The resolution is that he pays the amount owing, receives a clearance letter or certificate from the payee (likely to be the bank), and closes the case. Note that in this eventually, the charges are in effect dropped, and he is not therefore convicted of any offence.
 

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... If I take food and clothing for him, can I expect it to reach him? ...
I expect you will not be able to give him food. He will have food to eat, typically meat/fish and rice, and tea/water. As I said, he will survive.

You might have some luck with clothes, so give it a go. Comfortable stuff - he doesn't need anything smart, even for the court.

I hope it's not an extended ordeal for you. Are you able to contact your local friends and get some support yourself from them? Don't be embarrassed, he's unlikely to have done anything wrong in most people's eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I expect you will not be able to give him food. He will have food to eat, typically meat/fish and rice, and tea/water. As I said, he will survive.

You might have some luck with clothes, so give it a go. Comfortable stuff - he doesn't need anything smart, even for the court.

I hope it's not an extended ordeal for you. Are you able to contact your local friends and get some support yourself from them? Don't be embarrassed, he's unlikely to have done anything wrong in most people's eyes.
I'm about to call one of them now.
We don't actually have that many anymore, most have moved on, in the way of Dubai. I went to speak to them at the station, and he hasn't arrived at headquarters for processing, and may not have left AD yet, though apparently this is not a cause for concern.

They say if I can chase down his clearance certificate/ bring a reciept that outstanding debts have been paid, and a new clearance cert, they'll drop the case.

I can visit, clothes are at their discretion, no phone and no food.

And he will survive, but he'll come back sick. I'm going to be honest, I'm scared.
And now I've said it, time to focus and hit the phones.
 

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So sorry to hear about your situation. Sound advice from Lamp. I don't know if the banks will be open on Sunday. Although I have never taken out a loan, I do have a credit card. When I opened the account, I had to lodge a blank signed cheque to do so and I am wondering if it's something like that, but where would the amount have come from if you cleared everything off?

Just thinking further, it may be that your husband's transfer could be delayed because of the public holiday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Guys,
I have a local friend who is talking to someone in collections at his old employers.

Also let our embassy know, the local branch will call me back Monday.

Now we wait until he gets here from Abu Dhabi, and I hear back from my friend.

Still scared witless, but that doesn't help anything.

Thank you for your kindness, and any other advice very gratefully recieved.
 

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OMG this sounds awful :( I've got no advice besides what has been said already but sending good wishes, I hope this is sorted out very soon :(
 

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... When I opened the account, I had to lodge a blank signed cheque to do so and I am wondering if it's something like that, but where would the amount have come from if you cleared everything off? ...

Not always the case. The security cheques will typically be signed and undated, but some banks fill in the amount equal to the value of the product (loan amount, credit card limit, etc). If it is an exact amount like AED50,000, this would be my assumption.

By way of example, I previously had both a loan and car finance with ADCB, and I know that the security cheques were for the principal values. I'm less sure about credit card cheques.
 

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Trust all is well, Evenstar? Did you manage to meet / call / deliver clothes / establish the cause / find out when the court's open ... and to reassure yourself? Try not to worry, and get a good night's sleep!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Trust all is well, Evenstar? Did you manage to meet / call / deliver clothes / establish the cause / find out when the court's open ... and to reassure yourself? Try not to worry, and get a good night's sleep!
Hi Guys,
Sorry for the late replies, it's been a crazy few days.
I called the Australian Embassy, and managed to get a lovely representative there to assist me- she was absolutely amazing.

She was able to negotiate with the police, who agreed to bail, with the comment that these days 50k is not a large amount (that said, not completely sure what planet they are living on that 50k is pocket change, but thankfully they thought so). I was able to get him out the same day.

Fortunately I was also able to get onto an colleague and friend of my husbands who was able to tug on the ear of someone who works in collections at Mashreq. Turns out it was a security cheque for his company issued credit card. Despite having returned it to Mashreq, and it being closed in Dec 2011, there was apparently a closing fee charged, and we had thought when we had left it had been closed down, which apparently was a crock.

So, it's been quietly sitting there at 50% interest for the last year and a half, and no contact from his old employers, no email, and our online banking was disabled when everything else was supposedly closed down, so no way to check.

If you work for a bank, do not trust their word on processes. We have a 14k AED debt to pay now. I know it could have been a lot worse but I am still pretty angry about it, we were careful to pay everything before we left, but because of process irresponsibility on their side, huge bill to pay. Gotta love pulling cash out of an african bank account and getting hit with forex too.

Still, he is at least safe, if a little fluey.

Thank you for all your kindness, you really re-assured me when I honestly didn't know what to do, and the help your provided was invaluable.

Thankyou, and if I can ever help anyone here, feel free to PM me- I would be delighted to pay it forward.
 

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Oh gosh. That's terrible. But at least he's out now and it can all be sorted. What a nightmare fo you both, but at least a solution.

Best wishes to you both.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Chocoholic, and everyone here- I could not have seen a sensible path forward without all your kindness.
 

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Thankyou, and if I can ever help anyone here, feel free to PM me- I would be delighted to pay it forward.
Hi Evenstar,

So sorry to hear that your vacation had turned into a nightmare, however, what a relief to know there is an end to this nightmare albeit at a cost to you which was not your fault to begin with. Just want to say that you have helped by posting here and remind us that we can't be too careful.

We had an account with the same bank, and it took us more than a year to cancel this account due to their incompetency!! I honestly do not remember if we had taken back the security checks for the credit cards. This will prompt me to look through my records and perhaps go to the bank to ensure that there are no fees accumulating secretly!

Again sorry that you have to go through this, thank goodness your husband is back with you to sort this mess out together. Take good care and best of luck!

Cheers,
EW
 

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I think this is a lesson to us all to make sure they get the cheques back and/or the clearance letter from the bank. It probably means shutting down things well before you go but, on the basis of what this lady and her poor hubby have been through, it's seemingly justified. What a bloomin' cheek to put the entire cheque in for AED 50K when it was only AED 14K too! How can they justify that? Evenstar, make sure you get something in writing - letterhead, stamped, etc. that clearly states you are free and clear. Good luck and glad that everyone worked out (although you are now AED 14K poorer, but better that than your poor husband in prison).
 

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I am glad it all worked out. It's a good reminder for me to keep track of all checks that's given out for security deposit.
 
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