In late 2017 we were contacted by a UK national who had found his life turned upside down as the result of being placed on INTERPOL’s red notice list.
He was detained whilst travelling with his family in Ukraine and spent several weeks in prison having been stopped on a red notice, which had been published at the request of the UAE. The UAE authorities alleged that he had issued a series of cheques to several individuals, which subsequently bounced and requested his extradition from Ukraine to the UAE.
Our client had lived and worked in the UAE for a period of time several years ago. He was not aware of any allegations against him in the UAE at the time or after he left. He travels extensively for his work and had made dozens of international trips since leaving the UAE without incident.
It was naturally an extremely traumatic experience to find himself detained abroad – unable to speak the language and unable to comprehend what exactly he was accused of in the UAE.
Thankfully, through the assistance of his family and a local lawyer he managed to secure his release from jail eventually and the extradition proceedings were subsequently terminated due to technical failings in the extradition request. Our client swiftly returned to the UK and sought legal advice.
We were instructed to make an application to INTERPOL on his behalf to try to resolve the situation. We obtained paperwork from the UAE, which demonstrated that there were in fact three separate cases against him – two of which had led to custodial sentences being imposed and a third was awaiting trial. A close examination of these papers revealed several bizarre and troubling facts. Firstly our client had been prosecuted twice and sentenced twice in respect of a single cheque which was apparently (and inexplicably) given to two different people. Secondly the alleged offences were all committed after our client had left the country (and there was clear documentary evidence to prove this). Finally, it was abundantly clear that the allegations against him were (at their highest) civil in nature rather than criminal. Nevertheless there were two convictions in force and a third case pending. Given what had happened in Ukraine our client needed to urgently deal with the matter.
We worked with our client to prepare an urgent application to the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files and applied for the deletion of any and all red notices that had been issued in respect of these allegations in the UAE. In view of our client’s need to travel for work we were able to secure an interim block on the red notices whilst the application was considered.
Applications to the Commission can often take a long time to resolve but given our client’s personal circumstances we argued that they should make a decision urgently outside their scheduled meetings which only take place 3 or 4 times a year.
We were naturally delighted for our client when – at the end of January 2018 (less than 3 months from our first application) the Commission confirmed that they had deleted all the red notices from their system.
Gherson have extensive experience in handling applications to INTERPOL and anyone who fears they may be subject to a red notice and who wishes to make an application should not hesitate to contact us for a confidential discussion about how we can assist. There are never any guarantees when making an application but as this case demonstrates it is sometimes possible to resolve even very complicated situations relatively swiftly.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.