UK Court to Hear Global Asset Freezing Application against Franco-Djiboutian Businessman


Republic of Djibouti seeking to freeze at least $77 million in assets from former advisor named in offshore leaks scAbdouraham Borehandal during 5th-6th June hearing

Somalilandsun – On 5th and 6th June the UK High Court in London will hear the Government of Djibouti’s application for a worldwide freezing injunction over Franco-Djiboutian millionaire businessman Abdourahman Boreh’s assets.

The case stems from Boreh’s activities while Chairman of the Djibouti Port and Free Zone Authority (the DPFZA) between 2003 and 2008. During this time, the application states that Boreh wrongful misused his public position to obtain commissions, contracts, and significant shareholdings for himself and his companies. He was subsequently convicted in Djibouti of tax evasion, fraudulent insolvency, and related criminal offenses.

In October 2012, through its lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Djibouti filed a lawsuit in the London Commercial Court against Boreh, now a resident of London’s Belgravia district. The Government of Djibouti subsequently discovered Boreh moving assets out of the jurisdiction, to avoid them being subject to court judgment. An urgent application was made in late April for the injunction, seeking to freeze assets belonging to Boreh with a value of at least $77 million; roughly 5% of the country’s estimated 2013 GDP.

In retaliation to the Government’s freezing order application, Boreh filed a strike out application based on a loophole in an attempt to ensure his claim cannot be heard in any court. During the proceedings on 5th and 6th June, the High Court will hear and decide on both applications with a decision expected on 6th June or immediately thereafter.

“The hearing in London is a critical step in our long process of seeking justice for the far-reaching crimes committed by Mr. Boreh. At a time when governments around the world have placed the issue of tax avoidance and offshore accounts at the top of the political agenda, his illicit activities serve as a timely reminder of corruption’s global impact,” said Djibouti’s Inspector General Hassan Issa Sultan. “We are of course hopeful for a positive ruling based on decisions in similar cases. Such a ruling would be a watershed moment for Djibouti and our fight against corruption.”

The hearing in the High Court in London follows similar proceedings in France where decisions from judges in the high courts of Paris and Grasse authorised the Government of Djibouti to freeze assets totalling €23 million held by Boreh on French territory.

Boreh’s business career has been marked by several controversies. He has been publicly named in a UN Report[1] as a business partner and sponsor of a Somali warlord and a financier of the radical “Islamic Courts” movement. In addition, a 2008 US diplomatic cable[2] linked Boreh to accusations of siphoning “millions of dollars of unmonitored humanitarian aid” and “funnelling support to extremists” in Somalia.

Boreh’s extensive assets are believed to be held through a web of companies stretching from the Bahamas to Singapore, held through nominee shareholders and trusts. Indeed, he was cited in the recent Offshore Leaks scandal. According to recent revelations of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Boreh is the true owner of two offshore companies: Support Net Holdings Ltd in the British Virgin Islands and Value Additions Ltd (2007) in Samoa.

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