A former French spy has told how, after being accused of a multimillion-dollar fraud in Dubai, he disguised himself as an Arab woman and fled to international waters in a rubber dingy.
Herve Jaubert, who served in the French intelligence service until March 1993, said that he drew on his experience to escape after a joint business venture turned sour.
He said that he had been running a business in the United States building submarines when he was approached by Dubai World, a state-owned conglomerate, to form a joint venture making submarines, and he moved to Dubai in 2004.
In 2007, Dubai World began to claim that expensive equipment was missing. Jaubert claims that the accusations were a pretext for the company to get rid of him and that he provided receipts proving that nothing was missing. He claims that Dubai World then falsely accused him of smuggling weapons and called the police. He said that officers interviewed him three times, threatening to torture him.
“I knew then that I had to escape,” he said. “When I was a secret agent I was a ghost, but here it was different: I was not a ghost any more; these people had my picture. I decided to disguise myself as a woman and then I became a ghost. ... I was trying to protect myself against people who threatened to torture me.”
Jaubert said that he used a fake name to buy a boat to avoid suspicion that he was about to leave the country. After six hours in the boat, he was picked up by a friend on a sailing boat and taken to Mumbai.
In June of this year, Jaubert was convicted of embezzling money from Dubai World through his company Exomos by overcharging for equipment. Prosecutors said that two submarines Jaubert had been contracted to build were faulty and lacked essential parts.