Chipping away at the personal debt problem

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By Gillian Duncan

At the time of David Oliver’s arrest for unpaid debt in the UAE, he had no idea he was in trouble. In fact, he says he did not even realise his payments had stopped.

Sleeping on a plane during a stop off in Dubai from Bahrain to Kathmandu last October, the 62-year-old was woken by an announcement to identify himself. He quickly realised why. Once he was escorted off the plane he was arrested by the police. He is now being treated in a Dubai hospital because of a mental illness and cannot return home because of his outstanding debt of Dh335,000.

Mr Oliver, who is from the United States, is one of an unknown number of people who have fallen foul of the law in the UAE for failing to pay back money they borrowed from a bank or financial institution. His sister, Beverly Thornton, was so desperate for help to resolve his case, that she wrote to The National’s The Debt Panel column seeking advice.

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