Canadian whistleblower, Andre Gauthier, who was instrumental in exposing one of Dubai’s biggest investment frauds, only to find himself wrongfully prosecuted for it; may soon be exonerated in an upcoming December 24th hearing.
It has been a long and difficult road for the Quebecer since he first brought his suspicions of financial impropriety to the owners of Gold AE in 2014.
Once the scandal came to light, the entire executive management of the company fled the UAE, and Andre was appointed to audit the accounts and try to recover the losses suffered by investors; but he was soon targeted as a scapegoat by the now overseas perpetrators who sought to evade prosecution.
Investors were incited to pin the blame on Andre, and multiple criminal and civil cases were taken out against him for fraud; the very fraud he had himself exposed.
“My father stayed in Dubai to try to repair the damage done to Gold AE investors,” says Gauthier’s son Alexis, “But they ended up trying to hold him responsible. It is so unfair, and he has lost five years now battling to clear his name.”
Earlier this year Alexis sought the help of Detained in Dubai, a group renowned for fighting wrongful convictions and detentions in the UAE.
“We opened a dialogue with the Canadian government,” explains CEO Radha Stirling, “Andre’s MP, Richard Martel, was very vocal, and we had constructive discussions with Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland.
“The Canadian consular staff has been attentive to Andre’s case, and there have been high level talks between the Trudeau government and the UAE to resolve the issue.
“Throughout, we have emphasized that targeting André, who has been cleared by two independent expert reports, is potentially damaging to foreign investor confidence in the Emirates.
“If someone is punished for exposing a fraud, while the real perpetrators are allowed to go free; how can businesspeople feel secure that their investments are safe in the UAE?
“It is in no one’s interest to prosecute André; not Dubai’s, and not the defrauded Gold AE investors. No one is served by this case, except the fraudsters themselves”, she said.
Canadian governmental engagement intensified after the October election, with senior staff of the Foreign Ministry visiting Gauthier this month, and reportedly, discussions have been ongoing between the two countries.
“We are very hopeful about the hearing on Christmas Eve,” said Stirling.
“André is in good spirits and we are confident that his innocence has been thoroughly proven to UAE authorities.
“Not only is André not guilty, he actually prevented Gold AE investors from being bilked of possibly millions of dollars more than they had already lost. He deserves to be commended, not convicted.
“Dismissing these cases is the only way victims can ever hope to be compensated by pursuing justice against the actual perpetrators and beneficiaries of the Gold AE fraud; at least one of whom is already under investigation by the RCMP’s financial crimes unit”, Stirling added.
“I just want my father to come home,” says a frustrated Alexis.
“It has been half a decade of our lives, and everyone knows he is innocent.
“I am sincerely grateful that our government has gone the extra mile to bring my Dad back.
“I know diplomacy can move slowly, and I am glad they never turned their back on us. I just hope we get good news this Christmas, and I can see my father again soon”, Alexis said.