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      Criminal Complaint filed in Germany against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum CEO of Dubai Developer Al Fajer Properties The Dubai Sheikh who mislead and extort a German Couple  Germany – Dubai 2011 A German elderly couple , today 80 + 50 years old who have been Dubai Tourists since a decade, bought in 2005 an apartment at Nakheel´s Dubai Residen […]
    • UAE: Human Rights Blogger, Sorbonne Lecturer Charged With ‘Humiliating' Officials
      source Human Rights Watch www.hrw.org (Beirut) - The United Arab Emirates attorney general should immediately drop all charges against five pro-democracy activists to halt their trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The charges of "humiliating" top officials relate solely to the defendants' peaceful use of speech to criticize the UAE governmen […]
    • Nakheel Dubai Sunland Case
      June 5, 2011After 21 hearings, Chris O'Donnell, the Australian chief executive of Dubai's major developer, Nakheel, came to the defence of his former colleagues Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee. Mr Joyce and Mr Lee are accused of profiting from the sale of land that had been earmarked for a colossal high-rise development, which was to include the futur […]
    • Dubai Nakheel CEO decided to leave the company
      Dubai June 7, 2011 Nakheel said on Wednesday that its CEO Chris O'Donnell had left the company "after completing his contract terms". O'Donnell, an Australian who joined the developer in 2006, said he had decided to leave Nakheel following five years spent with the company, the statement added. O'Donnell has overseen a traumatic time […]
    • Owner of Dubai Developer Damac Hussain Sajwani files case against Egypt corruption ruling
      Dubai property developer Damac said on Tuesday it had filed an international arbitration case against Egypt over a land dispute and the conviction of its chairman and owner, Hussain Sajwani.A Cairo court last week sentenced Sajwani in his absence to jail and ordered him to pay a $40.5 million fine in connection with his 2006 purchase of land at Egypt's […]
    • Dubai Palm Jumeriah - Investors plan to take legal action
      Investors in Dubai Palm Jumeirah’s Golden Mile complex will this week serve the developer behind the project with a legal ultimatum to hand over their units or issue them with a refund.Up to ten investors in the luxury complex plan to issue Souq Residences with legal notice in a bid to force a resolution to a dispute that has been ongoing for more than a yea […]
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Archive for May, 2008

Dubai – A new court set up to deal with property cases

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 30, 2008

original published EmiratesBusiness 24-7
By Muna Ahmad on Thursday, May 29, 2008


Muna Ahmad on Thursday, May 29, 2008 will sit for the first time next Monday, a senior official has revealed.

The Property Court will operate under new regulations that differ from those that apply to the existing civil courts, Ahmad bin Hazim, Director-General of Dubai Courts, told Emirates Business.

The court has been established in response to the rapid growth and development that Dubai is experiencing.
It will handle all types of property cases and is one of six specialist courts being set up following an order earlier this month by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Once the court starts functioning it will develop in stages,” said Bin Hazim.

It will start with all the traditional property cases, which are currently being handled by Dubai Courts.

The court president is going to define new procedures and laws that relate to property cases.

Two sets of laws will be followed.
The first, the Substantive Laws, regulate the sector and are defined by the Land Department. The second, the Procedures Laws, will be drawn up by the court. For example, currently the time between hearings is about one month.

We are going to reduce this gap to about a week.

The Property Court will have its own premises and budget. We have three possible locations but the final site has not yet been decided.

Posted in Dubai, Vereinigte Arabische Emirate | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Dubai – A new court set up to deal with property cases

Dubai – The purchase of a freehold property does not qualify for a resident visa

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 27, 2008

original published GulfNews

Buyers of freehold properties in Dubai are accusing developers of depriving them of ‘promised’ residence visas – a tool some developers still use to lure investors.

Developers are passing the buck to master developers Nakheel, Emaar and Dubai Properties.
Residents of International City’s Riviera District are worried that there is a breach of contract since the residency visas have not been issued as contractually promised over a year ago.

One resident said, “We feel there has been a breach of contract somewhere as we have not been sold what we were told at the outset.”

According to residents, the developer of the Riviera Lakeview Apartments, B&M, has been involved in a dispute with master developer Nakheel over registration, and this has delayed visa proceedings.

However, an official at B&M said that residents must understand that they cannot have residency visas until their units have been officially registered with the Land Department and the title deeds produced.

We have approached the Land Department for the registration. Nakheel says the units have to be registered first and then they will provide the residency visas,” Abdul Samad, deputy general manager of B&M, said.

Another source said that there had been internal confusion in the Land Department regarding the wording of the registration, which has delayed the entire process.

There was an internal dispute within the Land Department over whether the units should be registered as net area or gross area,” he said.

The source said the Land Department finally chose to use the net area, meaning all investors had to be notified again and measurements redone.

There are 221 units in the Riviera Lakeview Apartments, all pending registration. “Upon the purchase of a Nakheel property, we will provide customers the basis for sponsorship, although the grant of a residency visa is still subject to the rules, requirements and procedures of the Immigration and Naturalisation Department,” a Nakheel spokesperson said.

Samad said the whole registration process should be resolved in “a matter of months”.
A resident of Central Business District 21, also located in International City, is also still waiting for his title deeds and residency visa.

He said, “I don’t think they [master developers] had any idea what they were getting themselves into.

A statement from Emaar said, Emaar Properties provides residency visas for Emaar homeowners in line with the rules and regulations of the Dubai Department of Naturalisation and Residency Department.”

Officials of the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department – the visa issuing authority – were unavailable for comment.

Rules How it worksFreehold ownership in selected areas of Dubai was first introduced in May 2002, sparking the real estate boom.


The law states,
“If the homeowner has no alternative means of sponsorship for a residence visa, the first owner may be sponsored by your master developer [Nakheel, Dubai Properties or Emaar] for residency in Dubai, UAE, subject to the applicable immigration laws of the country.”

The purchase of a freehold property apparently does not automatically qualify for a resident visa, officials say.

Mohammad Bin Braik, chief operating of Dubai Properties Group, said, “Resident visas for freehold buyers are subject to conditions which include that you cannot seek employment or run a business and one would assume the buyer has sufficient funds to support himself.”

Blair Hagkull, managing director for the Middle East at Jones Lang LaSalle, said people should not rely on the master developer for their residency visas. ”
Most people in Dubai are active in the workplace and so have a residency visa through their employer. But there is a select group which is not active.

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Dubai residents get time to prepare for VAT

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 27, 2008

original published GulfNews 27, May 2008


The introduction of the value added tax (VAT), expected early next year, will depend on the government’s preparedness as well as the “taxpayers’ readiness”, a senior government official said.

We are working on it and will soon be ready for implementation.

The entire country will have to be ready for this,Abdul Rahman Al Saleh, executive director of Dubai Customs, told Gulf News on Monday evening.

It will depend on the government’s readiness as well as the taxpayers’ readiness.

Al Saleh told Reuters on Monday that the government has postponed the introduction of VAT from late 2008 to early 2009. “We were planning for the last quarter of 2008 but we have put it back to the first quarter of 2009,” he was quoted as saying.

The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) states entered into a common customs union in 2003, after standardising the import duties largely at five per cent. Initially, VAT is expected to replace the customs duty and start at a very low tax level.

The introduction of the VAT is a federal government decision. We will, of course, give the people enough time for this after we get ready for it administratively,” Al Saleh added.

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Dubai – Property Law isn`t well-developed in UAE

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 26, 2008

original published The National

The booming UAE property market looks like a can’t-lose investment. Should you bite?

If you’ve seen the eye-popping figures for property prices in the UAE in recent years, and have salivated over the seemingly endless stream of mega-projects planned for Abu Dhabi and Dubai, you’ve probably thought about getting in on the action ­yourself.
And who could blame you?

Estimates for the market in 2008 project an overall price increase of between 10 and 20 per cent.

Tales abound of investors who have flipped properties for a much bigger profit, in some cases doubling their money within months.

And analysts expect demand for housing to outstrip supply for at least a few more years as construction delays continue and new housing projects slowly come on-line.
An excess of demand and a shortage of supply generally means prices go up.

That recipe has investors licking their chops, buying up flats and villas in hopes of cashing in quickly on the boom.

At Cityscape Abu Dhabi, a massive property showcase held recently, the excitement was palpable.

The thing that excites us is that the need is there,” one Austrian couple told me, looking over an enormous model of developments on Reem Island, where they had bought two properties.

The population is growing rapidly, so there is a real need for housing.

That may be so. Yet with the glitz and uniqueness of these projects, not to mention their unprecedented scale, it’s easy to get lost in all the hype.
It’s also tempting to accept the argument that you could easily double or triple your money in a couple of years.

But while buying may turn out to be a smart move, there’s also good reason not to follow the UAE’s property-mad herd.

The first is that the property market looks and acts like a bubble.

Prices have been surging at a clip of 20 per cent a year over the past five years.

At the same time, investors and speculators make up a large share of buyers, which calls into question whether there is enough fundamental demand to justify current prices. As growth in supply eats away at excess demand in the next five or 10 years, the speculators could flee the market, driving prices down ­signficantly.

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Planning and Economy recently warned of just such a boom-and-bust scenario, calling property speculation a “risky business” that “may result in a sharp drop in the value of new units.”

Buying property is an especially risky proposition for expatriates because property rights law isn’t well-developed in the UAE.

If you are arrested and deported after having been found at fault in, say, a traffic accident, there is a chance you could lose your property.

Property investment also involves tremendous political risk. The Government could decide unilaterally to change laws or steer development in a way that negatively affects the value of your investment.

It’s like buying penny stocks in China,” one financial advisor told me. “Go ahead and do it, but be prepared to lose every last cent.”

All this talk about housing is fun, but it ignores one condition under which none of it matters: if you plan to settle down permanently – or at least for the next five years.
That gives you enough time to build up equity to offset the costs of taking on a mortgage and absorb any market swings.

The bigger your down payment, the more insurance you have; 15 to 20 per cent of the purchase price is a solid start.

Of course, you want to be confident that the value of the flat you’re about to shell out millions of dirhams for isn’t going to lose all its value tomorrow.

If you’re just looking for a good place to live, however, most of the predictions are just noise.

Until recent years, nobody aside from a few specialists viewed residential property as an asset to invest in. Houses were places to live and mortgages were forced savings plans that built up equity in a physical asset over decades.

The real estate craze in the US changed all that, as single-family home prices nearly tripled between 1990 and the height of the boom in the summer of 2006, according to the leading US home price index.

It wasn’t until 2000 that the Yale economics professor Robert Shiller put it all into sobering context, showing in his book Irrational Exuberance – which predicted the end of the tech-stock bubble in the US – that home prices had risen at just above the pace of inflation for the prior 100 years. He showed that the US market looked like a bubble and was due for a reversion to its historical mean, but few people believed him until things went south.

Which goes to show that it’s not necessarily smart to think about the house you plan to live in as an investment.
Nobody knows which way the prices are going to go, and most of us need a roof over our heads more than a ticket to vast wealth.

If you can afford to speculate in the UAE’s property boom, do it by all means, but don’t expect to double your money.

One thing I kept hearing from investors at Cityscape recently was that the Abu Dhabi property boom was different, unprecedented, and a unique investment opportunity. It happened in the US stock market in the 1990s. It happened again in the 1990s and 2000s in the US property market. Every bubble is different, but bubbles do have at least one thing in common: they burst.

@Email:Have your own tale of property success or woe? Share it at afitch@thenational.ae

Posted in Dubai, Vereinigte Arabische Emirate | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Dubai – Property Law isn`t well-developed in UAE

DUBAI – Delays hit building projects

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 26, 2008

original published The National

Last Updated: May 24. 2008 10:51PM UAE / May 24. 2008 6:51PM GMT

DUBAI // Only one in five construction projects is likely to finish on time, as shortages of materials and skilled workers – and an overabundance of red tape – take their toll.

Industry experts said few of the 4,000 or so projects currently under way would be handed over to clients on the scheduled date. The emirate is currently undergoing a construction frenzy and as the pace of building quickens, so do the risks of delays.

Residential and commercial developments along with road, bridge and utilities projects are all competing for the same resources, compounding the problem.

The same issues could crop up in Abu Dhabi and the northern emirates of Ras al Khaimah and Ajman, as they launch their own large-scale development plans.

The problem is also beginning to manifest in other Gulf states.Qatar, for example, has had to introduce price escalation clauses into contracts to stem the impact of higher building materials prices.

As a result of the delays, the relationship between builders and clients is starting to sour.

In Dubai, only a handful of projects are being completed to the satisfaction of all parties involved, said Kez Taylor, the managing director of Alec, a local building firm.“Only one in five are being completed on time,” said Mr Taylor. We should be hitting the success factor at a much greater rate than we currently are.”

He said the tensions which this led to had threatened to ripple into delays on other projects.
Successful projects … are not the norm in this part of the world.

From this, a blame culture develops, relationships break down, people become despondent and don’t want to do repeat business.”

A major factor in delays and its impact on the relationship between builders and developers was the reluctance of clients to make difficult decisions quickly, Mr Taylor said.
Because of bureaucracy, nobody wants to stick their head out and make a decision, he said.

But it is vital that the client takes the lead – it’s their project.

Emil Rademeyer of Proleads, a research firm, said more than 90 per cent of projects in Dubai were on average two months late.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a project being handed over early – that’s probably the question … and I’m pretty certain the response would be very few.

Mr Rademeyer said that late changes in design were a common problem among projects in the region, which led to a complete project overhaul in some cases. The situation was also compounded by a severe shortage in good quality contractors, which impacted on the standard of construction.

While there are the challenges of materials and resources shortages, much of the problem lies with changes to design – I’ve heard of cases when a project has almost been completed but then the owner decides they don’t like it and so they start over,” he said.

And because of the shortage of materials and contractors, clients are sometimes just taking what’s available, which might not be the best quality and is a big threat to the final product.”Developments in Dubai also face severe delays in connecting power, water supplies and telecommunications, with many forced to rely on temporary backups.“

There are internal risks when dealing with partners, but there are also external risks that affect a project,” said Ali Hamdan, the corporate finance manager at Sama Dubai, the developer behind The Lagoons project.

“When it comes to a large-scale project such as The Lagoons, success is dependent on dealing with organisations like the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority), Dewa (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) and Etisalat – if you don’t connect with the infrastructure on time, you get delayed.

Jubeir Shamte, the executive director of the commercial and contracts department at Dubai Properties, which is developing Business Bay, said that clashes in culture and business practices between foreign and local firms also caused problems.

A lot of foreign companies do not understand the culture here, and when you try and bring in culture from other places such as the UK or America, a lot of problems come with it,” he said.“

For example, the concept of partnering is being treated as a new phenomenon, when it is something that we’ve been doing here for many years.”


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Dubai Good Business shouldn`t tolerate missed deadlines

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 25, 2008

original published EmirtesBusiness 24-7
May 25, 2008

It is telling that the ‘revelation’ only one in five construction projects is likely to finish on time does not come as a shock.

Shortages of materials and skilled workers (plus reams of red tape) are the official excuse, but the public has long since abandoned belief in deadlines being met.
As we’ve mentioned here before, as long as property prices continue to rise, investors are not too fazed by these delays. An investment that has doubled in value tends to soften the blow. But what damage does this do to Dubai’s reputation as a can-do business center?

There is a danger that missed deadlines breeds an acceptance of tardy work. Who cares if you’re going to deliver late, everyone’s still making money, right? This applies to pizza deliveries to magazine publishing dates to nail appointments to real estate handovers. In boom times, even bad business can make money.

Dubai’s reputation, in part, has been built on being the best place to do business for a thousand miles in any direction. Delivering on time is a big part of that boast.

It would be great to think those that deliver on time are remembered when the boom times flatten out.

Posted in Dubai, Vereinigte Arabische Emirate | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Dubai Good Business shouldn`t tolerate missed deadlines

Interpol – UAE ADCB Banker Wanted

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 24, 2008

original published 7days.ae

An Interpol arrest warrant has been issued for the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. “This is a personal matter linked to his personal divorce case and is not linked in any way to the bank’s activities,” the bank said in a statement. The capital’s third-largest bank said it supported Eirvin Knox, a 59-year-old American, who has headed ADCB since 2003.

The warrant was issued in the Philippines, where Knox once worked as the head of a major bank, and relates to “a violation of an early 2004 (Philippine) act pertaining to violence against women and their children,” Interpol sources said. The Interpol warrant is classified as a “red notice” which seeks the arrest of a wanted person with a view to extradition, they said.“He was married to a Filipina and she is a very well connected person,” a senior official at ADCB said. ADCB said Abu Dhabi courts had already ruled in favour of Knox and the “current matter is linked to the implementation of a sentence between him and his divorcee”.Knox did not respond immediately to calls for comment. The UAE Interior Ministry and police officials declined to comment. Knox joined ADCB having come from Ahli Bank of Kuwait, according to a biography on the Global Real Estate web site. He was a country chief executive for 24 years with Standard Chartered Bank and Continental Bank of Chicago, having started his career in the United States with earlier assignments including Wells Fargo Bank and Continental Bank, the web site said.According to World Trade Markets country guide, which contains information provided by the US Department of Commerce, Knox was previously the chief executive of Standard Chartered in the Philippines. Since joining the bank in 2003, Knox has overseen a near 400 per cent growth in net profit to dhs1.98 billion ($539 million) last year from 405 million in 2003.
ADCB stands by chief as Interpol issues warrant
The warrant, which was issued by Interpol’s Manila branch in the Philippines, accuses Knox of committing “crimes against life and health.”
The warrant was followed immediately by an official statement by ADCB, which denied that the offences are related to any banking activities, and emphasising its support for the chief executive.
Personal matter
“This is a personal issue not related to the bank’s business. The bank and its executive management confirm their full support and ratification of all the CEO’s actions,” the bank’s statement said.
“The issuance of an Interpol Red Notice against the CEO is just a personal issue regarding a matrimonial matter and has nothing to do with the bank’s business,” the statement further explained.
It also said the marital proceedings filed and examined before the UAE courts of law were resolved in favour of Knox and that the court decision is pending execution.
“Everything is possible in the Philippines, especially if you are well connected, and it seems that the financial settlement for the divorce set by the UAE courts did not appeal to the lady who seeks to pressure Knox for getting more out of him,” a top ADCB executive said.
“Interpol’s branch in the UAE respects the court’s decisions in this respect, and accordingly it did not contact the chief executive,” another ADCB official told Gulf News.
original punlished GulfNews.com
By Ahmed A. Elewa
© Gulf News 2008

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Launched 2005 – Now on Hold – Tameer Al Salam City Umm Al Quwain

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 24, 2008

original source EmiratesBusiness 24-7

22 May 2008

Investors in Tameer’s Al Salam City are being informed the project is on hold and allowed to withdraw their money or roll it over into another project, according to a company official.

“To our knowledge the project is not cancelled.”
We are experiencing delays because of lack of water and power supplies.
We are suggesting options only to those who are impatient and want their money back,” said Khurram Rahman, who heads the customer care section at Tameer.
The Al Salam City project has not been cancelled.
The first cluster was expected to be ready in 2009 followed by others in the coming years.
But because of lack of water and power there is a major delay.”And a Tameer sales agent said uncertainty surrounds the development in Umm Al Quwain, which had been designed to house up to half a million residents.”
About 70 per cent of the project has been sold.
Some customers who have already bought are willing to wait to see what happens, but the government is not giving us any answers.
Meanwhile, Tameer is offering one of three options to dissatisfied customers who invested in Al Salam City.
– They can get a full refund,
– roll over their investment into Al Arjan, a residential project in Dubai, with a 20 per cent discount,
– or roll over their investment into any other project with a three per cent discount.
However, one investor in Al Salam City, who did not want to reveal his identity, said prices have gone up so much that he can no longer afford a comparable two-bedroom townhouse in another Tameer project.
He said two years ago he paid Dh550 per square foot for a townhouse in Al Salam City, but if he took his money out he would be asked to pay Dh1,200 to Dh1,500 per sq ft for a townhouse in Al Arjan.
In January, the Middle East Economic Digest (Meed) reported a long-awaited agreement had been signed to hand responsibility for power generation in the Northern Emirates to Abu Dhabi. Under the deal, the five northern emirates will depend on the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) for power. In future, the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa) could provide Adwea with land to develop new plants in the north.The memorandum of understanding between Adwea and Fewa would be followed by a power purchasing agreement under which Adwea will supply the northern emirates with 2,500MW of power up to 2015, Meed said.Water supply for new developments in UAQ has also been set back as a $545 million (Dh2 billion) desalination project, which was expected to become operational by the first quarter of 2008, has yet to break ground and no contractor has been selected for the project. In 2006, Imdad – a joint venture between Saudi-based Al Rajhi Investment Group and the Government of Umm Al Quwain – first announced the desalination project to produce and distribute water to the emirate, including upcoming developments, and to export water to other countries.
Eight companies submitted tenders for the contract to build the plant, but so far no tenders have been issued. Meed quoted a source close to the project as saying:
“The Imdad project has been cancelled… I understand it is because of problems between the two parties [Al Rajhi and the Umm Al Quwain Government] within the client. As a result, there has been little activity since bids were submitted by contractors in 2007.”
Umm Al Quwain property law
Law No3 of 2006 provides that freehold title may only be granted to UAE and Gulf Co-operation Council nationals and public joint stock companies in Umm Al Quwain.
The law further provides that non-UAE nationals may own floors (excluding the land) of buildings situated in any of the investment zones. The law also permits non-UAE nationals a right to a 99-year usufruct (similar to a lease) or a 50-year right of musataha (right to build) in respect of land situated within the investments zones.
Given increasing overseas interest in investment in the UAE, it is expected the laws that regulate real estate will continue to be refined in the future, Clyde & Company, an international law firm, said recently.
It is not simply the opportunities for investment return that has made freehold property ownership a sought after commodity, but also a general willingness of those non-UAE nationals living and working in the UAE to obtain the same type of property ownership rights that they would perhaps major projectsexpect to be available in their home countries. There are also the obvious inheritance advantages that come with a freehold title, the firm said.

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Why Hotel Staff need a few tips

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 24, 2008

original published 7 days.ae

If you’ve ever had a bad experience at a hotel, you may well have grabbed the survey form carefully placed between a postcard and an envelope that wouldn’t stick if Lassie licked it for a week. You’ll show them for not putting a chocolate on your pillow, as with pen in hand you viciously scribble sarcastic remarks in the margin.

Don’t be surprised if you still feel uptight once you’ve filled in the form – because the questions are so benign:
Do you like our hotel a little or a lot?
Do you like your tea in a cup or in your lap?

What about how I hate this hotel for not putting a chocolate on my pillow? I’ve been travelling forever, I haven’t slept properly for days and I’ve had enough with hotels not getting it right.
It is time those ridiculous hotel survey forms became more realistic – now!

1) Would you like a free glass of cheap orange juice and a 30-minute wait because the 42 emails sent months in advance were ignored OR a quick stress-free check-in that got you to your room with a minimum of fuss?

2) Would you like a buffet breakfast that partially caters to your taste, where all the food is old and tired because it’s been kept hot for hours on end OR would you like your hot breakfast food cooked to order, sizzling, fresh and the way you like it?

3) Would you like tea or coffee from a server whose idea of fresh would make an embalmer blush OR would you like genuinely fresh beverages made the old-fashioned way and delivered to your table with flair?

4) Do you want internet or telephone services harder to fathom than the layout of a QWERTY keyboard and more expensive than marrying Heather Mills OR cost-efficient systems designed for a fair price and ease of use?

5) Would you like your cutlery, crockery and unfinished food cleared away because you paused a second too long while eating, even though you are not finished, OR would you like your table cleared once everyone has finished or when you request it as is standard in all good establishments (regardless of any amount of uneducated customers’ requests in the past)?

6) Around the pool, would you like there to be a realistic ratio of sunbeds to guests OR would you rather spend 45 minutes of the hour you were going to spend around the pool searching for the one rickety sun bed in the whole area for your family of four to share?

7) Would you rather have staff who chant simple mantras like ‘Good morning’ or ‘Hello’ every few minutes without any thought because they’d been told to do so OR have well-trained staff who anticipate your needs and have the ability to problem solve effectively with a minimum of fuss?

8) Would you like staff to ignore your ‘Do not disturb’ sign OR would you rather have staff respect your privacy?

9) Would you like staff who ‘yes’ you to death OR staff who listen attentively and ask you to explain if they don’t understand something?

10) Would you unequivocally recommend such a hotel to all your friends and praise it to everyone you meet OR realise that you were simply having a dream, that you are laying on the chocolate meant for your pillow and you are just having a bad day?

Greg Hunt is an author, journalist and occasional insomniac. Email him at: lockmanhunt@gmail.com

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Dubai JBR Investors: We Want answers ! – Broken promises

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 23, 2008

original published 7days-ae

People living in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), who are furious that certain facilities are being scaled back, are sending a letter of complaint to the developer of the resort demanding immediate action. Yesterday, 7DAYS revealed how some homeowners had been angered by what they called “broken promises” made by Dubai Properties

The developer is planning on building just two gyms instead of the proposed seven at JBR, and will be laying a car park over part of what was supposed to be an exclusive beach park. The residents say this is not what was originally promised to them in the handover literature and now Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) has stepped in and confirmed it will be looking into their complaints.A residents’ association is being formed by the disgruntled homeowners, who have been posting their thoughts on an online forum; http://www.jbrcommunity.com/.

In their latest bid to have their questions answered by Dubai Properties, they have penned a letter of complaint to the company’s chief executive officer.One resident, Hamid Hamri, is helping to spearhead the campaign.

“We are writing this letter because we do not think the CEO has given us answers,” he said. “We are being charged but not given the service we paid for. This letter is to encourage Dubai Properties in a positive way to address these issues.

We will gather signatures from the residents and send them together with the letter to the CEO of Dubai Properties and also a copy to RERA.

”Following yesterday’s reports, Dubai Properties received a flurry of emails and phone calls from some residents who were unaware of the changes to the development’s masterplan. 7DAYS has also learned that the company called an internal meeting yesterday afternoon in response to residents’ concerns.

Dubai Properties denies any wrongdoing, insisting the car parking is needed to ease traffic woes and that the number of gyms is being reduced due to health and safety reasons and because of an increase in retail space.


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Sorouh MD warns developers to deliver on promises

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 23, 2008

The managing director of Abu Dhabi’s largest publicly listed real estate company has rounded on rogue developers that risk undermining confidence in the city’s property market.Sorouh Real Estate’s Abubaker Al Khouri said that if customers’ expectations of quality are not met, it will have negative impacts on the market as a whole.”We are still in a relatively immature market, in the sense that many purchasers are yet to actually see what their money has bought. Most ‘homeowners’ in the UAE actually only own a promise. So what they are buying is actually the reputation of the firm,” said Al Khouri at this week’s Cityscape exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

“There are real estate companies in the UAE that have yet to deliver a single property,” he continued.”The ones that deliver high quality products will prosper; those that don’t will damage not only themselves, but the market as a whole.”Developers must deliver exactly what they have promised when they sell off-plan, says Al Khouri or confidence could evaporate. “Consumers need to trust the development, the developer and the overall market,” he said.He identified the need for high quality management as critical to ensure confidence remains high, and revealed that it is becoming harder and harder to hire the right people.”What makes a company qualified is professional management and resources, which is increasingly difficult to find at a high calibre, despite the generous packages offered, due to competition in the market and the global real estate boom,” he said.”There has been tremendous growth in the number of developers and that means tremendous growth in the number of professionals needed to make these businesses flourish.”But it is not just today we should be worrying about, it is the future too. That is why developers should invest in the very best calibre of professionals, at every level of the business, including strong investment in training and development of the next generation of managers.”

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Dubai Luxury Jumeirah Beach project disappoints

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 21, 2008

oroginal published: 7days

A Dubai-based property watchdog has promised to look into complaints made by people living in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), who are furious that some of the facilities they were promised will not be built as advertised.
The residents told 7DAYS they had been assured of seven gyms, a large beach park and four exclusive beach clubs.

But now they have been left reeling after it was revealed Dubai Properties, the developer of JBR, has amended its original proposals. One fuming homeowner, Briton Nicholas Rogers, described the situation as “a scandal”. “

The residents are up in arms because many of the promises Dubai Properties gave us when we bought the place are being broken and scrapped,” said Rogers, 29.

“We were promised four or five beach clubs for residents only but it turns out they will be for the paying public as well as us – and we would have to pay membership.

“We were promised a beach park between the Hilton and Sheraton hotels with pools and grassed areas but now they’ve just levelled it and half will be a public car park.

It was stated we would have seven gyms between the 36 towers but now they’ve confirmed we will have just two gyms for the 30,000 residents.”Rogers said the original proposals, such as the seven gyms, were listed in the ‘handover pack’.

When he asked about the changes of facility in the new proposals, he says he was simply told the “plans had changed”.

Another resident, Hamid Hamri, added: “I’m upset with the changes to the plan as there was no communication.“There has been no consultation nor compensation.”

A spokeswoman for Dubai Properties said: “There will be four beach clubs managed by a certain company – it will be for members only. The beach park will be restricted to JBR residents.
It will not be half the size – in fact the car park will take up 18 per cent of that area with 500 spaces. There will now be two gyms and this has changed because of the retail area which is getting bigger. It is being used for shopping facilities and common facilities on the mezzanine level.

”Marwan bin Ghalita, CEO of Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority, has offered to look into the situation and believes Dubai Properties may have acted illegally.
“If they are changing things without putting it in the contract – that is illegal,” he told 7DAYS.
“They [Dubai Properties] cannot show people things and then change their minds. They should be committed to what they are saying. We have been approached by these residents and we will see how we can assist them.

”On Monday, JBR residents held a meeting to decide on a plan of action. It was agreed they would form a residents’ association and hold further meetings on a regular basis.

more about JBR Dubai

original published:
MalysiaSun http://www.dubaicity.com/news/Luxury-Jumeirah-Beach-project-in-Dubai-disappoints-2-05-08.htm

Long after owners and tenants have moved in to the much-acclaimed Jumeirah Beach Residence apartments in Dubai, work is yet to commence on the project’s recreational facilities.

Touted as a luxury development, JBR has disappointed owners with serial delays, a scrambled handover process, poor finishes to the exterior of the buildings, and the non-completion of recreational and retail facilities.

The forty tower, 7,000 apartments on the 1.7 kilometre long, 2.2 million square metres of beachfront, adjacent to Dubai Marina, was handed over to owners over several months commencing early last year, approximately 18 months behind schedule.

The project was launched in August 2002.

Despite owners being handed possession of their properties, the several beach clubs, which are to house recreational facilities, including gymnasiums, swimming pools, spas, sports centres, and beach access pathways, have not been completed. I

n fact construction on them has yet to commence.
A previously built building which was to house a beach club has been occupied by the JBR sales centre.
It was recently vacated for refurbishment, but the occupants have been moved to on-site portocabins, suggesting the sales staff will move back into the building when the refurbishment is completed.

Compounding the lifestyle of the project’s newly-arrived 25,000 residents is the continual delay in completion of The Walk, a cavalcade of restaurants, cafes, retail shops, and supermarkets, that are being developed around the perimeter of the property. Very few of the outlets are operational, despite

The Walk’s scheduled delayed opening having been promised for late 2007.

Added to that, four of JBR’s forty towers, which will house 5 star international hotels, are still under construction.

The developer of JBR, Dubai Properties, has a real estate portfolio valued at 350 billion dirhams ($95.6 billion), and according to CEO Mohammad Bin Braik, this will double in the next few years.
‘What is important to us is that we are creating value for Dubai, not just building towers and projects,’ he said this week.
On JBR he said, ‘It is one of the largest single complexes with so many apartments. From day one it was not an easy task.
However, we have still managed to deliver, with a slight delay due to factors that were not in our hand.

Owners of Jumeirah Beach residence apartments have received no advice, newsletters, or any communication as to the status of the project’s recreational facilities, or The Walk, since they handed over the final instalment of their purchase price, when taking possession of their apartments last year.

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German Dubai Property Investment Disaster

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 18, 2008

German Version original published manager-magazin.de

A Financial Fraud ? – Who or What is LOSNA ?

A dream hotel in Dubai and high returns for investors – what a fund initiator from Germany once promised seems now to be a financial fraud.

The Initiator of this fraud could be an unknown investor from a caribean off shore company named “LOSNA”

It is a closed-end real estate fund, which funds promised develop the largest four-star hotel in the Arab world ,operated by the Maritime Group.

The fund initiator of the Dubai 1000 Investment Fund,Mr. Recker from Germany Hamm in Westphalia, promised investors a profit 9 to 12 percent per year .

Above all, however, it exist a mysterious Off-shore company in the Caribbean,called LOSNA, which paid suspect 107 million euros – money, but so far it seems hardly anyone of this company got to face.

Months before Manager-Magazin.de ( Germany) reported that in the Dubai Desert may be a new investor disaster .

The object of the Hotel Fund “Dubai 1000”, a luxury hotel, equipped with 1,000 rooms and 50 suites would have already opened in July 2007.

In fact, but on the alleged plot to that date only a huge construction pit, surrounded by several hundred-meter-long fence.

Even if under high pressure would continue, experts had estimated, was an opening of the Nobel hostel sooner than two years later to be expected.

What little remained even then, nor now appears unlikely.

And that is not only that the construction since the autumn of 2007 barely discernible progress has been made.

The investigation now is about suspect money laundering , suspect advertisement from a bank,” said the German Public procecuter Ina Holznagel. “The suspect in the specific case has now disbanded.” According Holznagel the investigation now is whether the money of investors generally in accordance with its purpose is used, whether in Dubai actually a hotel is built. Investment volume of the “Dubai 1000 Fund” is around 145 MillionEURO.

At least half of the invest hold the initiatior Recker as equity investors in place

According to manager-magazin.de only 1000 investors hold shares in volume of around 24.8million euro.

read more:




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German fund faces probe into Dubai hotel

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 18, 2008

original published GulfNews:

German real estate fund ‘Dubai-1000-Hotel-Fonds’ may cause severe losses to investors, according to lawyer Jens-Peter Gieschen of German solicitor’s office KWAG, which specialises in capital law and investor protection.

The fund was started in 2005 on the German grey capital market to finance a 1,000-room luxury hotel project in Dubai. The project, which should have been completed in July 2007, hangs in the balance.

The fund was scheduled to collect some 142 million euros from investors. Initiated by German investment broker Georg Recker, the fund promised annual returns between nine and 12 per cent.

“The yield prognosis of the fund has been entirely unrealistic,” Gieschen said. He visited the construction site of the luxury hotel in February and found nothing but a fence surrounding an excavation.

The site did not have a plot number or signs of contract companies, which is mandatory for building projects in Dubai, he said.

Public prosecutor Ina Holznagel from Dortmund, Germany, has ordered a probe as the fund is presumably still collecting money from investors.
Twelve investors have now launched an official complaint against Recker and his investment company Dubai 1000 Verwaltung.

German magazine Cash Online reported Recker as saying that the fund has been closed after collecting the targeted 142 million euros from investors, and the hotel project is developing according to plan.

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Dubai Damac Haz Tower scandal – Business Bay 

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 16, 2008

Confusion over the Haz Tower project in Business Bay may be nearing an end as both Damac and Hilal Al Zarooni will have to sign an agreement by next week, according to Land Department officials, Gulf News reported.

Emad Eldin Farouq, legal counsel for Dubai Land department, said, “There is a settlement agreement that both parties have to sign. They have no choice.”

The signing has so far been delayed due to a possible second option.

The Haz towers project was launched July 8, 2007, after Damac bought it from Dubai Properties before selling it on to Hilal Al Zarooni. The cause for the delay is unclear but Eldin Farouq says it is due to the reservation agreement. “Damac blames Zarooni for breaking the reservation agreement. Zarooni was meant to sell the building after approval.”

However, Damac had received no authority for the floor plans or marketing of Haz Tower, according to official documents received by Gulf News. “Damac didn’t have approval from Zoning Authority for the floor plan and elevations for Plot BB.B.01.040 [Haz tower plot].

“Damac has not taken any approval for marketing any tower on the above plot. Damac, owner of plot BB.B.01.040, has not got any approval to start selling the tower or units in the plot which need bank guarantee first to be provided to Dubai Properties.”
Last week, a Damac employee said that the Haz towers project is “on hold, according to a statement by the chairman”.
However, Niall McLoughlin, senior vice-president of corporate communications at Damac, denied this. “Haz towers is going ahead. It would be inappropriate for me to further comment on Haz towers. As you know, it is sub-judice,” McLoughlin said in an email to Gulf News. Another Damac employee said any queries should be directed to Hilal Al Zarooni.
Investors are becoming increasingly frustrated as there appears to be no reason why the project shouldn’t go ahead.

Hilal Al Zarooni told Gulf News, “We’re waiting for the Land department to give their answer. They said it would be next week.”

However, investors are losing confidence in the Land Department as they have now had the complaint for over six months.

Eldin Farouq said yesterday that “the chapter will be closed next week.”

gulfnews – Haz Tower impasse set to end as Damac and Al Zarooni near pact

Posted in Damac Dubai, Dubai, Dynasty Zarooni, Hilal Zarooni, Vereinigte Arabische Emirate | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Damac Palm Spring Scandal – Investors are still uniformed about Details

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 14, 2008

May, 12. 2008

Damac recently wrote to investors to confirm the construction of Palm Springs on the new plot allocated by Nakheel. Without doubt, RERA has rightfully flexed its muscles to ensure that the Palm Springs development has become re-instated. The Palm Springs Group sees the re-instatement as an opportunity for all involved to promote a healthy, transparent, and collaborative environment in the Dubai real estate industry.

“We are delighted that RERA, Nakheel, and Damac are now unanimous in their support of the development and we look forward to working collaboratively with Damac in the successful execution of the project.”

Furthermore, the letter to Damac has asked for details of the re-instated project, including apartment plans and construction timelines, as well as monthly updates through to project completion.

It is heartening to hear the CEO of RERA, Marwan bin Ghalita recently state that “we cannot let people promise and not deliver in Dubai” – this sends out the right signal to investors and developers alike and bodes well for the continued the growth of Dubai real estate industry.

Damac have finally sent written confirmation of the re-instatement of Palm Springs to investors. Whilst the Palm Springs Group is pleased with this development, the communication merely rubber stamps what has already been issued to the press.

The main concern now for investors is that Damac confirm in writing details of the project, such as the plan specification, build quality, start and handover dates, and whether it is in keeping with the original contract.

April 14, 2008
One investor commented, “we will be writing to Nakheel and Damac requesting them to disclose the new plot handover date and details of any planned changes as a matter of urgency” She went on to say that the Group intend to monitor developments to ensure that any changes are compliant with the contract provisions. It is possible that investors may request a meeting with Damac to get clarification of the details and to iron out any concerns.

Barring any nasty surprises contained in the ‘detail’ of the re-location of Palm Springs, it would seem that both investors and Damac will soon be able put their differences behind them and look forward to the dream that was, and hopefully is, Palm Springs. Let’s hope Nakheels’s and RERA’s role in helping to resolve the crisis serves to strengthen the reputation of Dubai real estate.

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Dubai property market beset by fraud claims

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 10, 2008

Malaysia Sun

Claims of scams, fraud, and embezzlement are hitting the real estate market in Dubai.

The multi-billion dollar construction craze which has attracted investors from all over the world, has seemingly brought in unsavoury types who have been preying on the never-ending appetites of locals and foreigners lining up to invest in the market.A UK company which claimed to have acquired a 900-apartment plot in the proposed Jumeriah Village project, has reportedly sold off apartments in the plot, with no prospect of them ever being built.
The company, Strategic Property Investment, and its associates, William Cowe and Mark Emlick, are being investigated by Dubai and UK authorities.

Dubai authorities are also investigating the mysterious Al Areifi Tower being constructed at Dubai Marina. As we reported several weeks ago, Khalid Saud Al-Areifi & Partner Co., of Riyadh Saudi Arabia, sold several hundred apartments in the project off-the-plan some years ago, taking full payment upfront.In recent weeks the owners of the apartments have been receiving telephone calls and faxes from Al Areifi representatives in Saudi Arabia advising them construction on the project had stopped and would not be resumed.

Investors say they have been offered their original cost, plus interest, back. We have sighted one of the letters sent which verifies the investors’ claims.When we visited the site two weeks ago we found construction in full swing. We contacted the builder on site who confirmed there had been no disruption to the construction and it was proceeding at ‘full steam.’Reports are now circulating that Al Areifi sold the site to the newly-formed, Abu Dhabi-based, Eskan Properties.

A report in Gulf News , however quotes a company spokesman as saying, ‘We sold the tower on again a week back.’
Having bought their apartments and paid for them in full, well before construction started, investors are now wondering how ‘their’ apartments could be on-sold, on two separate occasions since.

Several calls to Emaar Properties, the master developer of Dubai Marina, where the project is sited, have not been returned.

Meantime the investigation into the conduct of the former CEO of Dubai’s second largest property developer, Deyaar, has been widened.
According to Dubai’s Attorney General, Essam al-Humaidan, a second person, Ganesan Krishna Kumar, 49, has been arrested in connection with the investigation. Kumar, originally from India, was a co-founder, and is managing director, of the Dubai-based advertizing agency, Masterbrand (ME) Ltd.,Two other men have also been detained and questioned, but have since been released. Zack Shahin, Deyaar’s ex-CEO is being probed in relation to claims of possible embezzlement. Deyaar has more than 1,600 apartments, as well as retail, and office complexes, under construction in Dubai.

The glitz and glamour of Dubai’s red-hot property market must be feeling the heat of the latest troubles, coming on top of the debacle surrounding the Damac project on the Palm Jebel Ali.
Damac, which claims to be the largest private property developer in the Middle East, sold apartments off-the-plan in what it called the Palm Springs project, a luxury apartments and resort project on the Palm at Jebel Ali.

Four years after launching the project, Damac wrote to investors saying it had been abandoned as the master developer of the Palm had changed the plans and the project could not now fit the site.Within days the master developer, Nakheel, announced it was unaware of Damac’s claims, and that the changes which Damac referred to had been made ten months earlier, and Damac was happy with them.

A hastily convened meeting by the authorities, involving Damac and Nakheel, resolved the matter, with Damac agreeing to proceed with the project. That action averted a class-action lawsuit against Damac by at least sixty angry investors, most of whom were from the UK


Comments on this story

By adel, 04-26-08, 02:31 AM
An advice on Duabai real estate marketI want to give a little advice to prospective investors in Dubai. Ignore those fantastic property offerings, with incredibly low prices and very long-term and low-cost finance. Believe me guys, the price of cunstruction material and labour, rents, oil…etc have made such projects unviable. Such projects are not economically viable anymore and the little investor will, at the end, lose his or her investment. Watch out !

By Anonymous, 04-24-08, 10:03 PM

Dubai property market beset by fraud claimsI have an apartment in this project which I bought off the plan and paid for in full. As far as I am concerned I am the owner and here I read my apartment has been sold to somebody else, twice! What is going on here? And what about the mighty Emaar. They are overall responsible. Surely they can’t sell these plots off to fraudsters like this and not even answer the phone???? Investors like me just sit out here and get these scraps of information from the news media (thanks! I’m not having a go at you, without you I wouldn’t even know I was being pick-pocketed). Where are the authorities? They shouldn’t just be investigating Deyaar they should be investigating Al Areifi.

By Anonymous, 04-25-08, 05:07 PM

Dubai should act against scamsWhere there is a lot of money the smarties arrive to scam the punters. This al areifi crowd have really done a number on people. The Dubai government shouldn’t stand back and let them get away with it. Selling all the apartments to individuals and then selling the whole building to somebody else is just straight forward theft and fraud. The Saudi Arabian authorities should act as well because this is a Saudi company. What confidence can people have in these gulf markets when this sort of nonsense goes on?

By Anonymous, 04-25-08, 08:09 PM

Few bad apples doesn’t mean you throw out the whole caseYes there are scams and frauds in Dubai, just as there are everywhere. Mostly though I think investment in theis place is safe. The government needs to stamp out the bad guys because it affects how people perceive the market.

By Anonymous, 04-28-08, 01:50 PM

These thugs have to be stopped. Whilst these guys are living the lavish lifestyle, we are repaying our loans to pay for them to do so. I am still pursuing these people and find it a huge disappointment that UAE have no laws against this or protection for people who invest from abroad. It was particualrly enlightening that these guys are residing at one of the sheikhs hotels.. Does that mean he thinks all of this is ok?????

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RERA – Dubai master developer Nakheel will take legal action against any sub developer that fails to deliver

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 8, 2008

original published

Dubai master developer Nakheel will take legal action against any sub developer that fails to deliver projects on time, the company’s CEO told ArabianBusiness.com on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai, Chris O’Donnell said Nakheel has introduced a clause into all its sales contracts to stamp out late delivery of projects.

“Nakheel sales contracts will now include definite timeframes on the development of the land we sell, if projects aren’t commenced within that certain time frame, we take action against that developer. That’s something we have been focused on that for the last 18 months,” he said in an interview.

O’Donnell’s remarks follow news that Dubai’s real estate watchdog is investigating four developers for what appears to be the non-delivery of projects.

RELATED: Four developers under investigation

Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) CEO Marwan bin Ghalita said on Monday the firms were being subjected to an “internal audit of transactions”, stating that “we cannot let people promise and not deliver in Dubai”.

He did not reveal which companies were being investigated.

O’Donnell said praised Rera’s efforts and encouraged the watchdog to ramp up its probe to sure up investor confidence in the market, which has been shaken in the last few months with the Damac Properties saga and ongoing investigation of Deyaar’s former CEO.

RELATED: Deyaar CEO detained, faces investigation

“I think that’s great, I think they [Rera] should investigate more. It’s very important international and local investors have confidence there is a local government body with teeth and who will take action,” he said.

“It’s important for them [Rera] to take action, and been seen to take action.”

Nakheel was involved in resolving the depute between Damac and investors after the developer in April cancelled its Palm Springs project on the Palm Jebel Ali five years after launch. Infuriated investors were threatening legal action until Damac reversed its decision.

RELATED: Damac will continue Palm Springs project, says chairman

“We were involved with the Damac resolution, it was an unfortunate turn of events but I think it was a right outcome. The customers are getting what promised, Rera intervened and that’s very positive,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell said he was not worried there were more Dubai non-delivery scenarios in the future because the government had proved it would take a stand against such action.

“I think it’s sent a very strong message to anyone who is thinking of taking that path, don’t do it because you won’t get away with it.”

O’Donnell would not be drawn on the height of its ‘Tall Tower’ project, which could eclipse Emaar Properties’ Burj Dubai.

A source at Australian architects Woods Bagot told ArabianBusiness.com last month the project, also known as Al Burj, would be 1,200 metres high and located on the Arabian Canal, a $61 billion project being developed by Limitless.


buyers should have the opportunity to take action over any projects delays
Posted by hella.g, dubai, uae on 7 May 2008 at 12:52 UAE time

we should have the opportunity to take also action against any developer who did not deliver any project on time
I have bought an apartment in Dubai Sport city, and I have just been advised that it has been delayed to MID 2009 instead october 2008
such a shame

Nakheel to take legal action
Posted by Wilhelm Niederhauser, Sharjah, UAE on 7 May 2008 at 10:18 UAE time

It seems that Nakheel looks only at delays of sub developers. How about cleaning up their own doorstep ? I am a buyer of an apartment in International City – France. Nakheel delayed the hand over by 14 months ? Would they take legal action against themselves ?

Posted in Dubai, Vereinigte Arabische Emirate | 1 Comment »

RERA :1560 Dubai Projects – only 476 of them have a Escrow account

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 6, 2008

Dubai Developers deposit Dh4b in escrow accounts
DUBAI — A total of Dh4 billion has been deposited by developers in escrow accounts with 33 banks approved by the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), said Marwan bin Ghulaita, the agency’s CEO.

Speaking at the regular monthly meeting of the Dubai Property Group (DPG), Bin Ghulaita announced that the number of projects registered with RERA amounted to 1,560 projects, 476 of them have a so called Escrow  account.

He noted that by the end of April, RERA had registered 710 developers, 1,487 brokers’ offices and 2,909 agents.

RERA and Dubai Land Department representatives presented the latest procedures and regulations for registering and transferring freehold properties in Dubai to over 300 DPG members. In addition to Bin Ghulaita, Mohammed Sultan Al Thani, Assistant Director General of the Dubai Land Department and Khalifa Al Suwaidi, IT Director at the Dubai Land Department were present.

Al Thani announced that electronic forms for real estate agents are ready and can be easily accessed through the Department’s Web site, noting that by November 1, the Land Department will not clear any property transactions without these new official forms which are only accessible to RERA accredited real estate agents.

He added that the Land Department will be introducing two registration systems: one for completed property (the register) and the other for ‘off plan’ sales (the pre-register) in the coming two weeks.

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RERA Dubai – Four Dubai Developer under investigation

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 5, 2008

Four Dubai development companies are being subjected to an “internal audit of transactions”, Marwan bin Ghalita, the CEO of Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) told a Dubai Property Group meeting on Sunday.

“We cannot let people promise and not deliver in Dubai,” he said.
“We want a transparent relationship between parties and have rules and regulations that will be strictly implemented.”
He declined to name the four Dubai developers under investigation.
Last month Damac Properties was involved in a controversy over an attempt to cancel its project Palm Springs on The Palm, Jebel Ali, which has since been reinstated.
Rera has a tough job regulating Dubai realty since its creation last July. Now 2,909 real estate agencies are registered and an estimated 4,000 more illegals in the marketplace have until the end of July to register or face fines.
“From November 1 only licenced agents can advertise property by law,” said Bin Ghalita. “We will not tolerate freelance agents.”
Rera has also licensed 710 development companies, 1,560 projects and 1,487 brokers since its formation, and opened 476 trust accounts worth more than $1.2 billion (Dh4.4bn) with 33 registered banks. “We also want to correct some misleading claims made by developers,” said Bin Ghalita.
“If developers say they sold out in half an hour, how is that possible? If this is advertised they must show data, and not keep us waiting for a month for it.”
In addition, Bin Ghalita said there must be no payment of percentage transfer fees to developers, who are only entitled to claim administration fees for handling such transactions. “Why should developers benefit like this?
It is not their business, we do the transfers.
“He said buyers and sellers should “refuse to pay extra transfer fees”. Bin Ghalita said the proper registration fee is a total of two per cent: one per cent for the buyer and one per cent for the seller.
“Nobody has the right to charge anything else, and please tell me if they do,” he added.

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Wall Street Journal – Scandals in Dubai Cast a Cloud

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 1, 2008

original published Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120941603017750659.html

Some Problem Deals In Real Estate May Dent Trust
By MARGARET COKERApril 29, 2008; Page C2

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — This city-state’s real-estate market is booming. Massive building projects scrape the sky. Sales and rental prices appear buoyant as investments flow in from other oil-rich Persian Gulf states, the former Soviet Union, India and Iran.

But a series of legal tussles and property-related scandals could dent foreign-investor confidence and tarnish the business-friendly reputation the government has tried so hard to burnish.
Earlier this month, the chief executive of one of Dubai’s largest publicly traded developers was jailed. And two disputes involving European and U.S. investors have raised concerns about Dubai’s regulatory and legal safeguards.

The U.A.E., a collection of seven, semiautonomous emirates, was the first of the Arab Gulf states to allow foreign-property ownership. The country, a major oil producer, remains at the center of the Gulf region’s construction surge. More than a third of the estimated $1.2 trillion in projects under way in the region are in the oil-rich U.A.E., according to a report by the London-based Middle East Economic Digest, which tracks building projects.

While Dubai lacks the big oil reserves of its neighbor Abu Dhabi, it has diversified away from petroleum, building a reputation as a hub for tourism, business and transportation. Crucial to that strategy are its development projects.
Dubai has regaled tourists and investors alike with megaprojects such as the construction of Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building, and the planned Palm developments, three separate man-made island clusters in the shape of palm trees.

“The perception of Dubai is based on the Burj, the Palm trilogy and sunshine 365 days a year. So far, you could call it a successful marketing campaign,” said Martin Kohlhase, a senior analyst in Dubai for Moody’s Investors Service, the credit-rating company. “There is so much at stake.”
Marwan bin Ghalita, chief executive of Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency, said he has worked hard over the past few months to improve rule making and enforcement among Dubai’s 742 licensed developers. “We are doing a very good job, but there are still lots of things to do to achieve awareness about the rules and procedures here,” said Mr. bin Ghalita.

Deyaar Development PJSC said earlier this month that its former chief executive, Zack Shahin, had left the company and was being held by Dubai police. The company, listed on the local stock exchange, disclosed the moves after the Zawya Dow Jones wire service reported the arrest.
Mr. Shahin, a U.S. citizen, is being held as part of an investigation into alleged financial wrongdoing at the company. In a jail-house interview, he told the wire service he was innocent.

Mystery has shrouded the case, raising concerns about the extent of its repercussions on the company, one of Dubai’s biggest developers. A Deyaar spokeswoman declined to comment.
Another project — on the Palm Jebel Ali archipelago, one of the three clusters — also recently became a battleground between a Dubai developer and disgruntled investors.
In 2003, Damac Properties, one of Dubai’s largest private developers, sold apartments in a 25-story building, known as Palm Springs. The company targeted British investors, eager to snap up retirement or rental properties.

Last month, Damac sent letters to those investors, saying the project had been canceled, giving few details. When investors pressed, they were told Palm Jebel Ali’s government-controlled master developer, Nakheel PJSC, hadn’t given Damac suitable land on which to build.
‘Out of the Blue’

Damac promised to return investors’ money, plus 6% interest, or give discounts on another Damac property. The Palm Springs apartments were sold for about $220 a square foot, according to investors. Current market prices in the same area are as much as $890 a square foot.
“It came out of the blue,” said Colin Murray, who lives southwest of London and bought two Palm Springs apartments.

Mr. Murray helped band together 80 investors in the United Kingdom. They filed a formal complaint with Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency. Nakheel denied it had caused the project cancellation, and regulatory officials launched talks between Nakheel and Damac. Damac then told investors that the project was back on.

The agency’s Mr. bin Ghalita said Dubai law gives Damac six months to start construction. He said he “would be keeping my eye” on the situation.

The controversy over Palm Springs was just the most prominent in a series of property-investor complaints. The local English-language press has reported stories of middle-class families being bilked by unlicensed brokers or unscrupulous developers who have taken large deposits and failed to deliver. And then there are delays in finishing construction. Damac has completed only 18% of its $30 billion real-estate portfolio.
Financiers in Tussle

It isn’t only small investors getting ensnared. U.S. private-equity firm Capital Partners, a real-estate-development arm of McKinley Reserve, of Wisconsin, is in a $1 billion legal dispute with Tecom Investments, a subsidiary of Dubai Holding, which is owned by Dubai’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

In 2005, Capital Partners and Tecom signed a contract allowing the Americans to develop a 15-hectare site called Riverwalk. Months later, however, the deal had turned sour. Capital Partners accused Tecom of selling it land that it didn’t own, specifically, almost a hectare that was a designated archaeological site.

With $10 million already sunk into the project, Capital Partners refused to make a scheduled second payment to Tecom until the ownership issues had been worked out. Tecom said that missed payment was grounds to terminate the contract. The case is before the Dubai International Arbitration Center, an independent tribunal.

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Fourth arrest confirmed in Deyaar probe

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 1, 2008

original published
Arabian Business

Four people have now been detained over alleged financial irregularities at Dubai developer Deyaar, although formal charges have yet to brought in the case, a Public Prosecution source confirmed on Tuesday.The source told ArabianBusiness.com a fourth person was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the investigation, but could not confirm earlier media reports the person is also a company employee. The Public Prosecution has also extended former Deyaar CEO Zack Shanin’s detention period by one month, the source said.More arrests could follow, the source said.

“Investigations are still underway, but we expect to lay charges later. It takes time. We are investigating reports one by one and Deyaar is also investigating,” the source said.The other arrests in the case are a Lebanese sales manager who was detained on Monday, and an Indian national who was detained on Wednesday.RELATED: Third arrest in Deyaar probeRELATED: Deyaar scandal escalates with second arrest Public information is scarce on the high-profile case, which broke on April 17 when Deyaar informed Dubai Financial Market (DFM) that Shahin had been detained for three weeks and had subsequently resigned his position.RELATED: Deyaar CEO detained, faces investigationDeyaar has refused to comment on Shanin’s arrest or the investigation.According to media reports, the Public Prosecution is investigating company fraud valued at 120 million dirhams ($33 million), but this is unconfirmed by both the Public Prosecution and Deyaar.At a meeting of Deyaar’s board of directors on April 20, members Hussein Hassan Mirza Mohammed Al-Sayegh and Sultan Ahmad Khalfan Al-Ghaith also resigned, the company said in a statement without saying why. Abdullah Ali Al-Hamli and Butti Abdulla Al-Jumairi replaced the two directors, Deyaar said.RELATED: Deyaar confirms two directors resign Deyaar, an affiliate of Dubai Islamic Bank, develops, rents and manages properties and operates according to Islamic law, or sharia, which bans borrowing or lending on interest.The firm reported a first-quarter profit of 202 million dirhams ($55.01 million) with revenue in the quarter hitting 460 million dirhams.

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