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Escape from Dubai

Updated on: 23 August,2009 07:32 AM IST  | 
Hemal Ashar |

Former French spy Herve Jaubert Pierre writes a shocking book on how he fled the UAE on a sailboat to Mumbai, without his passport. He says he was falsely accused of embezzlement, fraud and sexual harassment by his company. Sunday MiD DAY gets an exclusive interview with Pierre, who says, "Dubai messed with the wrong man"

Escape from Dubai

Former French spy Herve Jaubert Pierre writes a shocking book on how he fled the UAE on a sailboat to Mumbai, without his passport. He says he was falsely accused of embezzlement, fraud and sexual harassment by his company. Sunday MiD DAY gets an exclusive interview with Pierre, who says, "Dubai messed with the wrong man"

This is a story which will make fiction thrillers pale in comparison an escape from Dubai by a former French intelligence officer, Herve Jaubert Pierre, who claims he was wrongly indicted for embezzlement, fraud and sexual harassment there. But a report in Dubai states that Herve Jaubert Pierre is on the run and the police are trying to track him.


Ugly underbelly

Now, a little over a year after a sensational escape from Dubai to Mumbai, Herve is ready with his book titled Escape From Dubai. Herve refuses to reveal the name of the publisher saying only, "The book will be available worldwide, through mail order, Internet, and directly from the publisher, releasing in October." The book will feature India prominently. "I hope to be in Mumbai to promote the book," says Herve in an email interview from his current West Palm Beach residence in Florida, adding cheekily, "I hope I do not have too much trouble with immigration."

Submarine status
Reveals Herve, "I was a navy officer at the French secret service. After 15 years, I resigned to set up a private enterprise in the US. In November 2004, after two visits to Florida, Sultan Bin Sulayem offered to set up a submarine factory in Dubai. I moved there with my family. I created Exomos, a Dubai World subsidiary and was appointed CEO." Herve says he was designing and building submarines for the leisure market and building custom boats, high speedboats and airboats.

Weapons smuggler
By 2006, the Dubai downturn had begun and dreams crumbled as the dirhams dried up. Says Herve, "Dubai World was running out of cash in mid-2006." By 2007, Herve says, "Dubai World started accusing me of being a weapons smuggler, of sexual harassment, being a mercenary and a hitman. They called the police and asked them to arrest me for weapons smuggling. I did not confess to anything." Herve says his passport too was confiscated.

No help
As shades of a Dubai prison house began to close in on him, Herve says that he knew he had to escape. Asked why he did not go to the French consulate for help, Herve says, "The consulate in Dubai couldn't help me because once my name was in the police system, I couldn't leave the country. I would have been stopped at the airport, even if the consulate had given me a new passport."

To India
Herve then says he planned his escape. "In May 2008, on the eve of my escape, I was disguised in an abaya (the black burqa worn by Muslim women). I escaped from a beach off Fujeirha, on a dinghy. I sailed for six hours. I met a friend at a rendezvous point, who had taken my sailboat out of Fujeirha. Once on the sailboat, I sailed to India." Herve says, "I ate fruits, nuts and canned food, I did not sleep too much. I am a navy officer, so I knew what I was doing, and was never in trouble at sea."

(Top) disguised in an abaya, Herve Jaubert Pierre escaped from a beach off Fujeirha, on a dinghy; (Above) The route the Frenchman took to enter Indian shores

And Mumbai

Herve says he chose India and Mumbai in particular because, "India was the first country on my route out of the Arab sphere. I chose Mumbai because the French consulate is in Mumbai."

Herve says he landed at the Gateway of India at 2 am, on May 28, 2008, after approximately a week. "I considered myself a refugee and I want to apologise to the Indian authorities for entering the country without a passport. I walked the streets of Mumbai with nobody checking. When I spoke to immigration officers, they were angry with the police, coast guards and navy because nobody checked on me. Their problem was that if I could do it, then terrorists could do it too with bombs and guns. This is exactly what happened with the attacks at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi, the same hotels I stayed in while
in Mumbai."

Salvation in India
The Frenchman, though, adds as a footnote that he would add details in his book. "I will be glad to give copies to Indian authorities so they can learn through my experience. I did not want to take advantage of Indians. I was a refugee seeking salvation and I found it in India." Herve says the French Consulate in Mumbai helped him with a new passport, though the French Consulate says, "We do not have any details about this man."u00a0u00a0u00a0

Thanks, Mumbai
Now, Herve says, ending on a triumphant note, "Dubai does not understand yet, that they messed with the wrong guy. I will dedicate the years to come to denounce this state, which I consider corrupt and criminal. I will speak for those who cannot, because they are trapped like I was or locked up. Like I read somewhere on a blog, the Dubai government overlooked my resume. Well, it is too late now. And once again, thank you India and Mumbai."

The Other Side
'Herve is a fraud and a wanted man': Dubai World responds
In response to Herve's allegations, Yasir Saeed Zubairi, deputy manager of Media World View Communications at Dubai World, sent an internet link to underline that Herve Jaubert Pierre (his full name) but called HJP in the report, is a complete fraud. In the Emirates Business report dated June 29, 2009 and headlined: 'Submarine fraudster gets five-year term, goes under the radar', it is stated that, "The former head of Dubai World's submarine unit was sentenced to five years in jail and fined dirhams (Dh) 14 million for embezzlement. In his absence, HJP, from France, is on the run outside the UAE. He was convicted at the Dubai criminal court of exploiting his position as manager of the Exomos division to embezzle Dh 14m. But he then fled abroad. Emirates Business has learned that Dubai police plan to take action through Interpol to track him down."

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