Monday, 24 August 2009

Spy vs Dubai

Here's an incredible story from the U.A.E. A former French covert operative working as a contractor in Dubai is accused of fraud. Fearing the worst, he leaves the country secretively with the help of a wetsuit and a burkha.

The 53-year-old explained how on the night of his escape last summer he stepped into a full-length diving suit, complete with breathing equipment, before adding padding to cover the shape of the kit.

Jaubert, who designs and builds leisure submarines, then disguised himself in a burka and walked down to the water's edge.

From there, he swam underwater to the nearby coastguard station, on a remote outpost, where he cut the fuel lines on a police patrol boat. He knew it was the only one in the area, and the coast would now be clear.

He then swam back to the beach, got into a Zodiac dinghy and headed back out to sea. Six hours later he was 25 miles off-shore and outside Dubai's territorial waters. Another former French agent met him in a yacht, he claims.

The pair then sailed to Mumbai, India, which took a week. Jaugbert told the French consul that he had lost his passport and was given a new one.

Not bad for a 53 year old. Maybe the French Secret Service should re-hire him. And what exactly prompted him to take such drastic steps?

Jaubert had been working as a contractor for ship-builder Dubai World in 2007 when he was called in for questioning by police, he told The Sunday Times. An executive at the firm had reported finding bullets in Jaugbert's office and police thought he was a mercenary or hitman. At the same time, the company accused Jaubert of billing for goods that did not arrive.

According to Jaubert, his employers had run out of money and wanted to find a way of sacking him without paying benefits that would have been due under a five-year contract.

He said that if he hadn't left, he'd be 'stuck in the same nightmare as the others', referring to the dozens of expatriate businessmen who are languishing in Dubai jails for alleged 'economic crimes'.

Of course, to the Emirati authorities and his former company, Herve Jaubert is still a fraudster, wanted fugitive and convicted felon. None of this has, however, stopped him from starting a website and writing a book based on his experiences.


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