Flemish businessman Johan Daumerie allowed to leave Dubai after two years

Johan Daumerie, the 49-year-old Belgian businessman from the Flemish town of Dilbeek (Flemish Brabant province) who got stuck in Dubai after a breach of trust with a local business partner in 2020, can finally leave the country. The man booked a flight to land at Brussels Airport early Friday evening. Daumerie, who always maintained his innocence, has been detained in the emirate for almost two years but was acquitted by a local court in May.

Daumerie was not allowed to leave Dubai after the relationship with his local business partner, member of a prominent family in the emirate, collapsed. The Al Owais family accused the Belgian of 'abuse of trust'. In first instance, he was sentenced to a fine of 150.600 euros, in what he himself describes as "a mock trial without the right to a defence".

The Belgian businessman started an IT company in the United Arab Emirates in July 2020, but the business venture soon ran into problems. His investor ended the cooperation and emptied the company accounts. Daumerie had to report to a police station, his passport was taken away and he was banned from travelling. The Belgian businessman was forced to live in hotel rooms and had to rely on financial support from friends and family.

In first instance, he was sentenced to a fine of 150.600 euros, in what he himself describes as "a mock trial without the right to a defence".

His shelter became a costly affair when hotel chains raised their prices in the run-up to the World Expo that started last October - an opportunity which the country seized to attract tourism and investments. Daumerie asked for diplomatic help and Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès expressed her concern about the matter several times in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the federal parliament. She spoke to her Emirates counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan about the matter, but diplomatic efforts to have the Belgian released were difficult.

The fact that entrepreneurship was encouraged in the region in the meantime, did not go down well with the man. He is not the only Western businessman to come into contact with the local legal system after a dispute with confidants of the regime.





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