Former Drake & Scull chief executive arrested at Jordan airport

Khaldoun Tabari, a former chief executive at Dubai-based contractor Drake & Scull International (DSI), has been arrested at Queen Alia International airport in Jordan while trying to catch a plane to the UK.

According to reports in Arabian Business, and a DSI press release, Tabari had been instructed by Interpol to stay in Jordan, with authorities seizing his passport as a bail condition.

If extradited to the UAE, Tabari faces a travel ban, and if charged on one or more of 15 criminal complaints made by DSI, a possible sentence of five to 15 years in prison

A statement by Tabari, quoted by Arabian Business, said: "There had been no change in the status of my position in the UAE.

"However, without any precedent, without me being called, without my lawyer being advised and without any notice directly to me to appear in front of the district attorney or to discuss the subject with my lawyer, we were surprised that the district attorney in Abu Dhabi issued a document to the Interpol to forbid me from leaving Jordan. 

"I can assure you of one thing: I’m sitting normally in my country, there’s nowhere else I would rather be but in Jordan and I’m waiting for the next step. There is no indictment for me in the UAE." 

Jordan and the UAE are members of the Riyadh Arab Convention on Judicial Cooperation. Legal documents for Tabari’s case are expected to be sent to Jordan for review in the next 60 days.

Tabari and his daughter were originally accused by DSI in 2018 of owing the company $273m. Further charges, assumed to relate to Tabari, were filed in 2019, relating to "misconduct by previous management".

Tabari has denied accusations, and in 2019 described himself to Bloomberg as a "scapegoat" for DSI’s losses.

Tabari stepped down as DSI’s chief executive in 2016, and launched a $1m legal claim against the company in 2019.

Since Tabari’s departure, DSI has had five chief executives and four chief financial officers.

The troubled firm has had cash flow problems since 2014, when yearly profits fell to $27m, after a $45m profit in 2015.

Image: Khaldoun Tabari, Drake & Scull’s former chief executive

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