Bounced cheques, a civil matter?

Our lawyers receive questions regarding red notices related to bounced cheques on a regular basis. The majority of these red notices are published on the request of a state in the Middle East. Due to Sharia-compliant finance rules, it is common practice for financial institutions or other money lenders in the Middle East to require borrowers to write a cheque as security for a loan.

Bounced cheques, a criminal offence in several countries

If repayments on the loan are not met, the lender will try to cash the cheque. Often the cheque will be bounced because there are no sufficient funds available. The penal codes of several states criminalise the issuing of cheques without sufficient funds available in the borrowers account. However, in many cases there are no signs of dishonest intent, fraud or other criminal activity.

Bounced cheques, in many cases just a civil matter 

Companies and individuals may have an obvious legal argument regarding a civil or business deal. For example:

  • an individual may lose his job
  • a commercial project may have to deal with delay or setback due to legal or technical problems

Due to unforeseen circumstances individuals or companies may (temporarily) not be able to meet their financial obligations. This means that there is a need for negotiation. In a straightforward financial case a civil lawsuit may follow. However, in some states you may be confronted with prosecution, a criminal conviction (in absentia) and a request for extradition.  

Bounced cheques, a red notice is common practice

As a result many individuals are confronted with a red notice related to the non-payment of a civil and commercial debt.
Some states use an Interpol (red) notice for debt collection in a civil case on the request of (local) companies or individuals instead of contributing effectively to the prevention and suppression ordinary law crimes. It’s simply not allowed to use Interpol in order to enforce clear civil and commercial debts. The Interpol notice system may not be abused.
If you expect that an Interpol notice will be issued in the near future and there are serious reasons to believe that the Interpol alert will not be compliant to the rules and regulations of Interpol, we may submit a preventive request at the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files (CCF). Preventive requests aimed at blocking any processing in Interpol's files of data sent by national authorities which are likely to send requests for cooperation through Interpol channels. Interpol regulations require that data processed in the Interpol information system must be accurate, relevant, up to date and not excessive in relation to their purpose.

Bounced cheques, no Interpol notice in a civil matter

Interpol's legal framework explains. Interpol's Rules on the Processing of Data (RPD) contain specific conditions for publication of red notices. 

Offences for which a red notice may not be published:  

  • Red notices may not be published for offences relating to private matters and for offences originating from a violation of laws or regulations of an administrative nature, unless the criminal activity is aimed at facilitating a serious crime or is suspected of being connected to organized crime.

Effective participation of an individual in the acts he/she is accused of must be explained:

  • Red notices may be published only when sufficient judicial data has been provided. Sufficient judicial data will be considered to include at least summary of facts of the case, which shall provide a succinct and clear description of the criminal activities of the wanted person, including the time and location of the alleged criminal activity.

Bounced cheques, worldwide assistance Kaarls Strafrechtadvocaten

The attorneys of Kaarls Strafrechtadvocaten have successfully challenged Interpol red notices and diffusions based on the fact that the underlying dispute was of a civil nature. Our lawyers know what information must be provided. We also know what information is not significant. If necessary, we cooperate with our worldwide legal network. We may instruct local lawyers based in the state issuing the request for the red notice, for example to obtain information which can assist us in seeking the removal of the red notice. Our law firm can provide you with legal assistance in matters regarding criminal law and extradition law worldwide.

Read: Bounced cheques developments 2020-2022 decriminalization ''uttering an unfunded cheque'' in the United Arab Emirates
Read: Outbreak of the Coronavirus and INTERPOL Red Notices
Read: Qatar: Bank loan payment problems often lead to an INTERPOL Red Notice – A blatant violation of INTERPOL's Regulations


More information? Contact Bob Kaarls (Tel. mobile / WhatsApp: +31653399102 or email).