In the United Arab Emirates, non-payment of a debt is a criminal offense and just bouncing a check could send you to jail. With no bankruptcy laws to protect those who fall into debt, many expats who get into financial trouble in the UAE, simply abandon their possessions and flee the country, escaping jail time.
When the global recession hit in 2009, many expats who had taken a large amount of debt found they were unable or were unwilling to pay it back. Fearful of facing the tough penalties of debt laws, they packed their bags and left the country. Along with the debt, they left behind their luxury cars in airport and residential parking lots, sometimes leaving their keys inside with written apology notes. Police in Dubai collects about 1,500 abandoned cars each year. Oftentimes, a car will sit in an airport parking lot for weeks before being reported to the police, because staff believe the owner will come back from a vacation. Most of the abandoned cars are impounded by the police and then sold at auctions or scrapped.
“Where the hell is the owner? Still alive?”
While the owners could sell their cars to pay their debt, it takes time and many find it
easier to simply leave before they have to face the serious consequences of defaulting.
This Ferrari Enzo was seized by the police after being abandoned by a British expat who
allegedly fled the country after failing to pay multiple traffic fines.