Man jailed over fake £20 note in Dubai '˜left broke'

A man detained in the United Arab Emirates over an alleged fake £20 note says the gulf state has broken its promise to reimburse him for legal expenses ­after family members spent their life savings negotiating his release.

Monday, 18th December 2017, 9:41 am
Updated Monday, 18th December 2017, 9:45 am
Billy Barclay says his Dubai ordeal has left him penniless. Picture: Greg Macvean

Plasterer Billy Barclay, 31, spent more than a month in limbo in Dubai after being arrested in the country’s international airport on counterfeit money charges – during which time his mother passed away at home in Edinburgh.

The father-of-two, from Fernieside, was forced to shell out thousands of pounds on living and legal expenses in the popular holiday destination of Ras Al-Khaimah after having his passport seized – however, he said Emirati officials promised compensation for his ordeal.

But Mr Barclay said it is “about more than money”, despite no payment being offered almost two months after he returned home, adding he felt that Dubai should be held “financially responsible” for the trauma he and his family suffered.

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Mr Barclay said: “The UAE is one of the richest countries in the world, this money is nothing to them but it is vital to my family. It is not as though it is to make us rich, it is only to put us back to where we were before their wrongful detention of me cost my family our life savings.”

He continued: “What the UAE owes me can never be repaid. The least they can do is to honour the promise they so publicly made to repay the financial losses they caused my family”

Mr Barclay also hit out at travel agent Thomas Cook and insurance firm Axa over claims their “goodwill gestures” failed to materialise.

He continued: “Axa originally told me they didn’t cover a situation like mine, but as a goodwill gesture they promised to cover my flight home and flight changing expenses. They did not do so. Also Thomas Cook, who opened a case when all this happened, have since refused to compensate in any way. It is clear that these companies only want to act like they are doing the right thing while the media is paying attention.”