September 13, 2009
Dubai and Criminals, Bouncing a check
Not particularly news, but the mediaeval character of Dubai / Emirates legal system is rising in profile. Doubtless the impact on the non-Arab Expat community is the main driver. For a Bounced Check in Dubai, the Penalty Can Be Years in Jail - NYTimes.com
I rather take with a grain of salt the corruption crack down.
By ROBERT F. WORTH
Published: September 11, 2009
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — For more than a year, prosecutors have been cracking down on the corruption and kickbacks that thrived during the boom years in this Persian Gulf city-state. Dozens of executives have been arrested and charged in a high-profile effort to show that fraud will no longer be tolerated. Investigators say their cases have uncovered $3.58 billion that was stolen or used as bribe money.
But alongside the con artists and crooks, a rising number of businesspeople have been sent to jail for going into debt. Bouncing a check is a criminal offense here. That fact has begun raising questions about the fairness of Dubai’s laws, especially among the foreigners who make up about 90 percent of the population.
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Without disagreeing with the cynicism about the corruption crackdown or the set-up framing alleged, there is nothing inherently exotic, as the NYT writer seems to think, about criminal prosecution for a bad/bounced check.
It's a common criminal charge in the USA. And conceivably could be years in jail (rarely) depending on the size of the check and/or the value of the product or service purchased.
The issue is fraud not debt. Defaulting on debt is not criminal, but writing a check in full exchange for a service or product, when one is presumed to know funds were insufficient, is deemed a fraud, and therefore criminal.
A check that is part of an installment payment for debt would not be, though perhaps a collateral or downpayment might be.
Posted by: matthew hogan at September 16, 2009 05:56 PM
Quite, however I believe a bit of context is needed. The bad cheque laws in MENA do not differentiate or even foresee a differentiation between an honest error (e.g. momentary insufficiency in funds due to payments timing) and deliberately writing bad cheques. The intent and reasonableness analysis is entirely absent. Actual fraudulent intent is not distinguished then, which in my view is a serious lack.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at September 16, 2009 06:21 PM