Twenty years ago, Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates, decided to reinvent itself as the financial and business hub of the Middle East — a latter day Hong Kong and Singapore rolled into one.
The leaders planned a frenzy of building activity, but lacked skilled managers to oversee the projects. They found expatriates to do the job, Americans and other Westerners. Zack Shahin of Ohio was one of them. He joined Deyaar, a developer formed by local investors. He became its CEO and oversaw several major projects. The board was so pleased it awarded him a $100,000 performance bonus.
Then, on March 23, 2008, undercover agents walked into a meeting and took him away without explanation. He was kept in solitary confinement for days and finally ordered to sign a document in Arabic (which he could not read) confessing to misappropriating company money.