Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed orders release of Canadian André Gauthier, following campaign
While Canadian citizen Andre Gauthier sits in a Dubai jail, inexplicably charged with the fraud he was instrumental in uncovering at Gold AE, once the UAE’s most prominent gold investment company; the alleged architect of the scam, Mohammed Abu Alhaj, has been allowed to replicate a similar investment scheme in Canada with a new business, and using a new name; potentially defrauding yet more unsuspecting investors, including the Canadian government.
Now going by the name Mohammed Abdel Mohammed, the former director of Gold AE escaped prosecution in the UAE when he fled to Canada as soon as the scam was discovered by Andre Gauthier back in 2014.
He was provided a letter by former Canadian PM Jean Chrétien vouching for his character, and subsequently co-founded silver blockchain company Canndollar. A number of Canndollar investors and employees have recently filed criminal complaints against Mr. Mohammed, AKA Abu Alhaj, with the Financial Crimes section of the RCMP for alleged fraudulent activities.
It appears that Gold AE was not the first dubious investment scheme Alhaj was involved in, having headed a company in Dubai called Orion Overseas Holding between 2004-2009 which also fell into scandal and insolvency with millions of investors’ dollars lost.
“We are seeing what appears to be a clear and consistent pattern of suspected serial fraud on the part of Mr. Alhaj, going back 15 years,” said Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, who represents Andre Gauthier. “It is time for law enforcement to review the evidence against this individual, and for the growing list of fraud victims to stop. The wrongful prosecution of Andre Gauthier, who was not even an employee of Gold AE when the scam was perpetrated, who was responsible for discovering it, and who was tasked with recovering investor losses, needs to be dismissed immediately. Gold AE investors were deliberately misdirected by an associate of Mohammed Alhaj to file complaints against Andre precisely to indemnify Alhaj from culpability. That associate isnow serving time in Switzerland.
“Alhaj received the support of a former Canadian prime minister, and his new company Canndollar has reportedly received significant investment from the Canadian government; and now Alhaj, under the alias Mohammed Abdel Mohammed, has been reported to the police for alleged fraudulent activity in Canada. Meanwhile, an innocent man, Andre Gauthier is languishing in a UAE prison with no palpable support, no intervention, and very little interest from the Canadian authorities.”
Stirling said that her organisation is preparing to launch a class action suit against Alhaj on behalf of both Gold AE and Canndollar investors. “These people deserve restitution, they deserve justice, and prosecuting Andre will never achieve that for them. The case against Andre does nothing but hinder the effort to recover the losses suffered by Gold AE investors, and it has potentially provided Alhaj with a cover for continuing a career as an alleged fraudster,” Stirling explained.
Andre’s son Alexis expressed his frustration with the Canadian government, “My father has been battling against these false charges for years now. He knows he will not be given a fair hearing in the UAE, and the Canadian government knows it too; but until now they have made no genuine effort to intervene. It looks like Mohammed Alhaj has been running scams ever since his days at Orion Overseas Holding, while my father is the one who uncovered what was happening at Gold AE, but Alhaj has been allowed to resume his activities, possibly even defrauding the government of Canada at this point. What is it going to take for this administration to finally step in and bring my father home?”
Fraud victims are urged to contact Detained in Dubai, please click here for the contact form.
Radha Stirling founded Detained in Dubai in 2008 and has since helped and advised more than 15,000 foreign nationals facing trouble in the UAE. Stirling is an expert witness, civil and criminal justice specialist, legislative, investment risk, business and policy advisor to the public and private sectors, founder of IPEX Reform speaker and host of the Gulf in Justice Podcast, covering the region in depth.