Portsmouth FC’s former Emirati owner sentenced to five years in jail for theft

Sulaiman Al Fahim

The man who owned Portsmouth Football Club for a period of six weeks in 2009 has been sentenced to five years in prison in the United Arab Emirates for stealing £5m from his wife to fund the purchase.

Sulaiman Al Fahim, who also represented the Abu Dhabi United Group’s deal to buy Manchester City in 2008, was found guilty of using forged documents, forgery and aiding and abetting.

He and an accomplice were found to have stolen the money used to buy Portsmouth FC from Sacha Gaydamak, with Al Fahim soon selling the club to Ali Al Faraj.

Al Fahim, 42, did not attend the hearing and was sentenced in absentia.

Prosecutors said that Al Fahim’s wife discovered the money was missing after the returns she had expected from a high interest rate account she opened in 2009 did not come in.

She said she contacted the bank’s accounts manager, but he “kept stalling” despite her asking him to move the account in September 2011.

When she decided to visit the bank in person, she was told there was no money in the account.

She then went to the bank’s legal department, and when they failed to take action she reported the incident to the police.

Dubai Criminal Court also convicted the bank manager of theft and forgery of official documents and use of forged official documents.

He was also sentenced to five years in prison.

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