Newspapers printed contradictory reports yesterday on whether the UAE was ending prison terms for expatriates who write bad cheques .
The UAE's tough penalties for defaulting  on cheques were relaxed for Emirati citizens in October.
In the UAE writing cheques that bounce is a criminal offense instead of a civil one. Post-dated checks are frequently used as a guarantee by businesses.
“In line with the directives of Sheikh Khalifa ... and in the spirit of fairness and equality, the courts have stopped as of last month accepting collateral cheques presented as a criminal tool against expatriate debt defaulters,” Ali Khalfan Al-Dhaheri, head of the legal affairs department at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, was quoted as saying by an Abu Dhabi-based daily.
However, a Dubai-based paper quoted deputy minister of Presidential Affairs Ahmad Jumaa Al-Zaabi as denying the report, saying: “There is no relaxation or debt waiver for expatriates.”