Bailed U.S. businessman flees UAE to Yemen, detained again: sources

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 12, 2012 6:22 AM
Bailed U.S. businessman flees UAE to Yemen, detained again: sources

By Mirna Sleiman and Raissa Kasolowsky

DUBAI/ABU DHABI (Reuters) - U.S. businessman Zack Shahin, who was freed on bail in the United Arab Emirates last month after Washington expressed concern about his health, has fled the country for Yemen, where he was detained again, sources familiar with the matter said.

The former chief executive of Dubai real estate developer Deyaar, in jail since 2008 over embezzlement charges, went on hunger strike in May and was released on $1.4 million bail.

The sources, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, told Reuters that Shahin was smuggled out of the UAE and was then arrested in Yemen. It was not clear when he left the UAE.

"Shahin is still being detained by the security apparatus," a Yemeni security source, who declined to be named, said on Sunday. "We expect that the man will be deported to the UAE before the end of the week."

The office of Dubai public prosecutions declined to comment. Neither Shahin's U.S.-based lawyer nor officials at the U.S. embassy in Abu Dhabi were immediately available for comment.

The former executive's flight may embarrass U.S. authorities who had exerted pressure on the UAE to resolve Shahin's case, especially after he went on hunger strike. There have been hearings on his case in Dubai, but no judgment.

In May, four other expatriates jailed in Dubai said they were among a group of prisoners who had gone on hunger strike to protest against lengthy prison sentences handed down to most of them for financial crimes.

The men, most of them real estate developers and other businessmen who worked in Dubai during its economic boom, fell into debt when the emirate's property bubble burst after the 2008 global credit crisis.

(Additional reporting by Mohammed Ghobari in Sanaa; Editing by Amran Abocar and Andrew Torchia)