Apprentice star faces jail in Dubai over ‘bounced cheque’ after suffering ‘breakdown’ over losing her business

10 August 2023, 21:28 | Updated: 10 August 2023, 23:38

The former 'The Apprentice' star opened up about the ordeal in a recent interview.
The former 'The Apprentice' star opened up about the ordeal in a recent interview. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The former Apprentice contestant has opened up about her recent struggles as she faces potential jail time in Dubai over a “bounced cheque”.

Selina Waterman-Smith, 39, who starred on The Apprentice in 2015 has said she could face jail after a "bounced cheque" case made against her.

The former star of the show claimed a former business associate made a financial accusation against her in Dubai with false contact details.

When the court attempted to make contact with her about it, because of the false details given she failed to show to her court date and was handed a guilty verdict.

The star said if she doesn't pay £27,750 she could be put behind bars.

Selena alleged the man responsible for the ordeal has subjected her to threats, harassment and extortion.

According to the former reality show star, the man originally offered to invest £200,000 in her self-made business and the pair then went on to sign an agreement under UK law.

But according to Selena she never saw the money he promised and he allegedly went on to demand money from her business, including a salary, dividends and money of this “own investments”.

“This man entered into an agreement with me in bad faith, bullied me into giving him money then cheated me out of my business I had spent years developing,” she told The Mirror.

“I have complained many times as I am scared about these extortionate threats to effectively ruin my life if I don’t keep handing over money to him.

“My mental health has suffered and I have not been able to escape him for 5 years. I feel it is my duty to speak out about this, and potentially protect other women,” she added.

Selina Waterman-Smith opened up about her ongoing struggle in Dubai.
Selina Waterman-Smith opened up about her ongoing struggle in Dubai. Picture: Alamy

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The star said the man's alleged demands eventually led to her having a breakdown before she ultimately decided to shut down her company and wave goodbye to her £75,000 investment in it.

“In 2020 I decided to close my beloved business to escape him. I felt this was an empowered decision to walk away from a toxic and abusive person. I felt that he wouldn’t stop harassing me while our brands were competing.

“Around six months after the business closed, I found that he had made an allegation against me - wrongly filed as a bounce cheque case - but claiming in his testimony I borrowed money. It’s bizarre how this was even entertained by the court.”

The star said she's suffered from "extreme depression" as a result of the "abuse".

Human rights organisation ‘Detained in Dubai’, which helps foreign nationals in the UAE, obtained the case file from court and said: “There is no financial proof such as a cheque, bank statement, or receipt, that a loan or financial transaction ever took place, meaning that his testimony against Selina was accepted at face value, and she was denied a chance to defend herself or share evidence."

The organisation also said: "This is an extremely common issue for for ex-pats in the UAE. The fact she had a judgement against her when she wasn’t there is extremely common and most people in that situation are arrested when they arrive back in the UAE and then they won’t have the opportunity to appeal.”