UAE clarifies on bouncing cheques

January 04, 2013 - 4:29:48 am

ABU DHABI: Foreigners still risk being imprisoned for bouncing cheques in the United Arab Emirates, as a government order which decriminalises the offence applies only to local citizens, an official statement said.

The statement was issued to clarify contradictory reports in local media, after some reports this week said foreigners no longer faced criminal penalties for writing cheques that bounced.

Post-dated cheques are frequently used in the UAE as guarantees by businesses and individuals, for everything from apartment rentals to multi-million dollar deals. Bouncing the cheques is a criminal offence rather than merely a civil one.

The UAE’s tough penalties for defaulting on cheques were relaxed for local citizens in October after a royal decree was issued, but the threat of jail remains for the country’s large expatriate population.