September 2, 2012 / 4:17 PM / 6 years ago

Fugitive U.S. businessman deported to UAE from Yemen

SANAA (Reuters) - Yemen has deported an American businessman back to the United Arab Emirates from where he fled last month after being freed on bail while facing embezzlement charges, his spokesman and a Yemeni security official said on Sunday.

Zack Shahin, former chief executive of Deyaar one of Dubai’s biggest property developers, was detained in 2008 over embezzlement charges which he denied.

Shahin went on a hunger strike in jail in May this year and was then released on $1.4 million bail in July after Washington expressed concern about his health. But he then jumped bail and fled to Yemen, where he was arrested last month.

“Zack Shahin has been deported to the UAE at the request of the UAE government,” said the Yemeni security official in Sanaa, who asked not to be named under briefing rules.

The U.S. embassy in Abu Dhabi declined to comment, citing privacy considerations, and UAE government officials were not available for comment.

A spokesman for Shahin’s U.S. legal counsel said Yemen had originally agreed to deport Shahin to the United States, an emergency passport was obtained from there and travel arrangements were finalized for a flight on August 18 to Istanbul.

“With less than 90 minutes until his flight departed from Sanaa, Zack was notified (by Yemeni authorities) ... he would continue to be detained,” spokesman Darren Spinck said in an emailed statement.

“The U.S. Embassy and U.S. consular officials in Yemen had failed the most basic role of the overseas diplomatic corps - protect the life and interests of U.S. citizens abroad.”

Shahin was deported to the UAE on September 1 and is now believed to be held at the public prosecutor’s office, though there is no official confirmation of his location, Spinck added.

Shahin’s flight to Yemen and deportation may embarrass U.S. authorities, who have pressured the UAE to resolve his case. There have been hearings on his case in Dubai, but no judgment.

Reporting by Mohamad Ghobari, Mirna Seliman and; Raissa Kasolowsky; Writing by Mirna Sleiman; Editing by Jon Hemming

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