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Sanjay Shah pleads for review of $1.3bn tax fraud case

Sanjay Shah Creative Commons/Wikimedia
Shah denies running a scheme allowing foreign investors to claim double dividend tax refunds for which they were not eligible
  • Dubai’s Court of Cassation rejected appeal by tax fraud suspect 
  • Shah suspected of running sham trading scheme for global investors 
  • British citizen now faces extradition to Denmark to face prosecution

Sanjay Shah, a UK citizen accused of defrauding Danish tax authorities, is appealing to Dubai’s Court of Cassation to review its decision this week to make him repay AED4.64 billion ($1.26 billion), plus 5 percent interest.

The Court of Cassation – the emirate’s highest court – refused an appeal by Sanjay Shah in a judgment on Tuesday and said he must repay the funds in question. 

Shah, who lives on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah island, is accused of running a scheme by which foreign investors were able to claim double dividend tax refunds for which they were not eligible. 

The scheme allegedly involved submitting applications to the Danish Treasury on behalf of foreign businesses for dividend tax refunds worth more than 9 billion Danish crowns ($1.32 billion). 

Known as “cum-ex”, the alleged crime typically involves moving stock to someone in another country to avoid paying dividend tax. 

Shah denies any wrongdoing. His UK lawyer, Chris Waters, managing partner at Meaby & Co in London, said in a statement to AGBI on Friday: “Our clients are obviously very disappointed with the judgment handed down by the Court of Cassation in Dubai. 

“Our clients have now instructed their local lawyers (Mr Tareq Al Shamsi of Sat & Co) to immediately issue an application to the head of the Court of Cassation for the judgment to be reviewed.”

AGBI understands an application is being prepared at the moment for the judgment to be reviewed by an independent panel of judges who were not involved in the original decision making. 

Shah’s media and political adviser, Jack Irvine, told AGBI on Thursday he had not spoken to his client since the latest ruling. 

The Danish tax authority, Skat, was quoted by Reuters as saying it was satisfied with the decision this week. It reportedly added: “The Supreme Court in Dubai on Tuesday rejected an appeal from Sanjay Shah, and thus the case against Sanjay Shah in Dubai has now reached its conclusion.” 

Hedge fund manager Shah now faces extradition to Denmark to face prosecution over the charges. His case has been heard several times since he was arrested in Dubai last June as part of a civil case filed by Skat five years ago. 

An initial ruling by Dubai’s Court of First Instance dismissed the claim in August 2020, after which the case was taken to the Court of Appeal.

In September 2022, Dubai’s Court of Appeal ruled that Shah and several others who were not identified had unlawfully obtained tax refunds from Skat between 2012 and 2015. Shah then appealed the ruling, leading to the final judgment made by Dubai’s Court of Cassation earlier this week. 

Meanwhile in April, the Court of Cassation ruled that Shah would be extradited to Denmark to face prosecution over the allegations. The UAE was reported to have said the extradition process had begun. 

At the time, Irvine told AGBI: “We do not believe [Shah] can receive a fair trial in Denmark. Too many Danish politicians and civil servants need to protect their reputations.”

Waters added in April that Shah had instructed his extradition lawyer in Dubai.