Foreign Office battered by fish and chips tycoon’s Saudi dispute

The Government will face calls to intervene in the arrest of an entrepreneur in Dubai over unpaid debts

THE Foreign Office faces questions in Parliament after refusing to intervene to free a British fish and chip entrepreneur arrested over unpaid debts following a dispute with Saudi royals.

Labour MP Justin Madders said he will raise the case of his constituent Gary Arnold in the Commons after Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told him the Government would take no action, despite evidence that the Saudi royals have reneged on a legally-binding deal.

Mr Arnold, 50, who successfully introduced fish and chips to the Middle East, was arrested in Dubai last week over unpaid debts. He blames this on the failure of the Saudi royals to keep their part of a deal to buy out his business.

A court in Saudi subsequently found in Mr Arnold’s favour and ordered the Saudi royals’ company to pay him 5,087,500 riyals (£1,032,435) under the terms of the original deal. However, they have still not done so. Mr Madders said: “The Government can choose to get involved in this if it wants to. Washing its hands of a UK citizen in this way is an appalling way to go about business. I would urge them to try to use their influence to get him released as soon as possible.”

It comes after the MP was sent a letter from Mr Cleverly which said: “As I am sure you can appreciate, we cannot intervene in the legal processes of another country just as we would not allow such intervention in the UK. In addition we are unable to get involved in private disputes between individuals.”

Mr Cleverly added that he appreciates it was a “distressing time” for Mr Arnold and his family but assured the MP that “our embassy in Dubai is aware of Mr Arnold’s situation and providing consular assistance.” It is understood Mr Arnold is being held in Bur Dubai police station over eight charges of unpaid debts, including one with a maximum two-year jail sentence.

His lawyer, Toby Cadman, said: “Where there is a risk of an abuse of process and/or a flagrant denial of justice there is not only a basis for intervention, there is an obligation to intervene.”