Dubai: A British man of Indian origin accused by Denmark of masterminding a USD 1.7 billion tax fraud has been ordered by a Dubai court to pay Copenhagen’s tax authority USD 1.25 billion, court filings seen Friday show, just days after another Dubai court rejected an extradition order for him.
The order by the Dubai Court of Appeal against Sanjay Shah comes as part of a civil case filed four years ago by Denmark’s tax authority, who have been pursuing him as part of their investigation in one of the country’s largest-ever tax fraud case. Shah has maintained his innocence in the case while fighting extradition. A spokesman for Shah, Jack Irvine, said Shah’s lawyers planned to appeal the ruling. That appeal would be heard by Dubai’s Court of Cassation, the emirate’s highest court.
Denmark has accused Shah of masterminding an elaborate tax scheme for three years beginning in 2012 involving foreign businesses pretending to own shares in Danish companies and claiming tax refunds for which they were not eligible.
The Danish tax authority, Skattestyrelsen, filed the civil case against Shah in 2018 through a local Dubai law firm. In its decision Wednesday, the Dubai Court of Appeal said Denmark had sought USD 1.9 billion from Shah and his alleged accomplices. Shah’s lifestyle on Dubai’s luxurious palm-shaped island over the past few years had sparked outrage in Denmark. After Danish authorities signed an extradition agreement with the UAE, Dubai police arrested Shah in June. Shah is one of several suspects in the tax scheme sought by Danish authorities.
During his time in Dubai, the hedge fund manager ran a center for autistic children that shut down in 2020 as Denmark tried to extradite him. He also oversaw a British-based charity, Autism Rocks, which raised funds through concerts and performances.
On Monday, another Dubai court ruled Shah cannot be extradited to Denmark to face charges. Lawyers representing Shah in the case told The Associated Press on Thursday that prosecutors had filed an appeal seeking to overturn that decision. The extradition case targeting Shah comes as pressure grows on Dubai, the region’s financial hub, over its alleged weaknesses in combating illicit finance.
The UAE, a federation of seven emirates, has long invited the wealthy, including disgraced public figures, to invest in the country without questioning where they made their money. Scrutiny of Dubai has intensified as the flashy city-state becomes a haven for Russian money amid Moscow’s war on Ukraine.