A former director of Dundee FC who left the country after going bankrupt has been forced to return home after his Middle Eastern dream went “bust”.
Calum Melville moved to Dubai to rebuild his empire, leaving a string of debts in his wake, but he was forced to leave his home and office space in the UAE for unpaid bills.
He said he “refused to give up”, despite having racked up more than £750,000 in debts and losses.
He claimed he planned to raise the cash to try to restart the business – OIM Energy Group DMCC – in Dubai to pay people back and insisted he was “absolutely, unequivocally not crooked”.
The extent of Mr Melville’s money troubles came to light in March 2014 when he was evicted from his multi-million-pound home beside Gleneagles. A sheriff gave him 14 days to pack his bags for failing to pay back the Clydesdale Bank.
Two years ago he was declared bankrupt when he failed to pay back the £450,000 he owed.
Despite previously claiming he was “perfectly comfortable in Dubai” in his £3 million home and driving a 2015 Bentley Continental GT Speed he now admits he and his wife Susan Melville, who is the company’s main director, were “stuffed” and said the business was “bust”.
He said: “We ran out of cash. We’re stuffed. Everything is bust. We just need to start again from scratch.
“Nobody likes me because people think I owe them money, but Susan and I ploughed an absolute fortune into that business — probably £350,000 of our own money. Susan has sold her Hermes handbags to pay people and her jewellery to pay people.
“I was supposed to be getting $400,000 in December from a guy in the Far East. He sent us all the emails and purchase orders only to find out that the people that the purchase orders had come from didn’t exist at all so we paid him and then he disappeared to Vietnam.”
Mr Melville said he believed people had a vendetta against him and said they had colluded to make up lies about his business deals.
He said: “Money is emotive. If you don’t pay somebody they are not going to be happy.”
Those who are owed money from the Melvilles claimed he had “fled” back to Aberdeen in the middle of the night to avoid paying unpaid bills.
Staff at OIM Energy Group claimed they were told to sell all the office furniture and computer equipment and take whatever cash they could.
Mr Melville accepted he had not paid his employees in the last few months before he left but his goal is to raise the finance to try to start the business again in Dubai to pay people back.
Rise and fall of an oil and gas entrepreneur
Oil and gas entrepreneur Calum Melville rose to prominence after taking over the family business, GTC Group, at the age of 21.
By the time he sold his firm to Grimsby-based Cosalt in 2007, he and his family were estimated to have amassed a £100 million fortune.
In 2009, he joined the board of Dundee FC, with his rumoured £1.6m investment propelling the Dens Park side to the top of the table.
His seemingly unstoppable success led to him being named Grampian Industrialist of the Year in February 2010.
However, by September 2010, he was suspended from his position at Cosalt as the firm mounted an investigation into the Aberdeen arm.
In 2013, police launched a criminal investigation into allegations the firm was the victim of fraud.
Mr Melville and other directors had been sued by Cosalt over claims equipment had not been delivered.
Mr Melville moved his family to Dubai in 2014.
But last year he was declared bankrupt in the UK after failing to pay back hundreds of thousands of pounds to creditors.