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      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
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    • Dubai Nakheel CEO decided to leave the company
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Archive for June, 2008

Dubai – Simply no rights for investors ‘Unclear law is threat to realty’ – The 100 % investor risk Dubai property market

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 29, 2008

‘Unclear law is threat to realty’: Al Mulla

original published Emirates Business 24/7

Hamed Al Sewerky on Thursday, June 19, 2008

Legal expert Dr Habib Al Mulla says Dubai’s real estate market could suffer because of what he describes as “judicial vacuum”.

He believes there is conflict between the roles of a number of organisations responsible for the sector.

And he says many aspects of the real estate law are unclear and out of step with developments in the sector in Dubai.

In an exclusive interview with Emirates Business, Dr Al Mulla – founder and Managing Partner of a Dubai-based law firm that bears his name – calls on those responsible for the sector to end the confusion.

—How would you describe the legislation that applies to Dubai’s real estate sector?

—The problem with legislation in the real estate market is similar to the problem with legislation in the UAE in general. Legislation is enacted after a period of economic activity or growth and is designed to rectify the situation that has developed.

Dubai experienced a real estate boom without full legislation being in place leaving a judicial vacuum in place. Although the period passed off peacefully there was a risk of disasters in the absence of adequate legal procedures and regulations. But now we are entering a stage where there is more organisation and we have seen the introduction of escrow accounts.

I wish such accounts had existed at the beginning of the period of real estate growth because they are the only guarantee for investors in the sector.

—What do you mean by judicial vacuum?

—Development of projects starts with construction. During this phase, disagreements between developers and contractors arise and are referred to the courts. Then comes the completion phase of the project – this is when the property is delivered to the secondary developer and client. Disagreements can arise even at this stage between the developer and the first or second beneficiary.

Recently a proposal to set up a committee to settle real estate disputes was put forward and it was followed by the idea of setting up a property court. The first idea is good, but the responsibilities of the committee are still unclear plus the committee has not yet been established even though its launch was announced in December. What is surprising is that after the decision to set up the committee was issued the courts refused to hear real estate cases, even though the committee had not yet been formed. Courts should not refuse cases before the committee is set up.

—But the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) deals with these kinds of complaints and disagreements.

—Yes, Rera was dealing with these disputes. Then the property court was established. But there is a question mark here, because a specialised court means federal legislation. Legislation in the real estate field should be federal according to the constitution. The civil procedures law is applied in all kinds of courts, and the real estate court would not be allowed to introduce special measures.

—Are we heading for a legislation or a litigation crisis?

—The legislative reality of the property sector is like a fireball thrown by one responsible body to another without taking into consideration the requirements of justice. The setting up of the property court ignores the rights of people to resort to [general] courts to settle disputes as it gave the property court the right to look into arbitration decisions.

—How is Rera’s complaints procedure working out?

—Complaints are registered at Rera only on certain days and this is not practical.

In addition not all complaints are accepted and receipts indicating that the complaints have been received are not given to clients.

—How would you resolve this crisis?

—If we are not able to set up specialised courts without federal legislation then let us leave it to the normal courts. General law is enough and we can add to it and develop it instead of robbing the legal system of the ability to handle issues in a comprehensive and thorough manner.

—What can investors in real estate sector, especially small ones, do?

I have not found a solution and have failed to resolve some clients’ cases because I do not know where to go. I went to the executive council, as it is the party that will form the committee, without success. As for normal courts, they rejected the cases. So I went to Rera, where I was told that such disputes were not their area of responsibility. In fact there is no solution. All means have been blocked and what is left is resorting to the media to raise this issue.

—Why are all deals in the real estate sector contracts of submission?

Legally speaking, contracts in the real estate sector, especially those between developers and buyers, are not contracts of submission. But realistically speaking they are since the buyer has no right to negotiate and has no other option but to accept the conditions as they are. And I see this as a real crisis that requires urgent intervention by officials as this could negatively affect Dubai’s real estate growth.
In more developed countries there are laws to protect the consumer. Legislators here should intervene in the real estate sector to set general rules protecting consumer rights.

—But does repeated intervention by legislators not conflict with the principles of a free economy?

—A free economy does not mean non-intervention by legislators. It means parties having the freedom to enter into contracts in a way that does not harm their interests. And what is happening now is that there is a large group of consumers who are suffering injustice at the hands of developers because of the absence of a legislative tool.

—Do some of these practices amount to criminal acts?

—These practices are not criminal as crimes have to be defined in law, and as long as there is no legal text defining certain acts in this way they are not crimes. But they can be called negative practices or violations.

—What are the most significant negative practices that your firm comes across?

—Some developers are not sticking to contracts in terms of finishings, space and the positions of properties – and the buyer can do nothing. Suing can cost the buyer more than the return on the investment. Some developers annul their contracts with buyers and issue new contracts at higher prices – this happens with both small and large developers.

—Where can real estate legislative reform start?

—Clarity is the best solution. Vagueness threatens the sector, whether it is related to laws, procedures or the acceptance or rejection of complaints. All this cannot be left to personal opinions.

—Do you prefer local or federal legislation?

—The constitution stipulates that legislation on real estate ownership should be federal. But federal legislation can be flexible by giving freedom to the emirates to establish procedures and execute the law in accordance with their own special circumstances.

PROFILE: Dr Habib Al Mulla, Founder and Managing Partner of Habib Al Mulla and Company

Dr Habib Al Mulla has a PhD from Cambridge in the United Kingdom, an LLM from Harvard and a BA in Shariah, civil and criminal law from the UAE University.

He is licensed to appear in all courts in the UAE and specialises in commercial and corporate transactions, internet technology, intellectual property rights and banking.

Al Mulla is a member of the Federal National Council and former Chairman of the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

He founded Habib Al Mulla and Company in 1984 and the firm has become one of the largest of its kind in Dubai.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Dubai – Simply no rights for investors ‘Unclear law is threat to realty’ – The 100 % investor risk Dubai property market

Property Scandal – Investors Dubai Lagoon absolute frustrated – Schon Propteries the next case ?

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 29, 2008

Discussion : SkyscraperCity


Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Property Scandal – Investors Dubai Lagoon absolute frustrated – Schon Propteries the next case ?

Property Scandal UAE Al Salam City – Stressed Investors of AL SALAM CITY setup Website

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 29, 2008

AL SALAM CITY – The developer of Al Salam City have put the project on hold. This happened in March 2008 but was not communicated to the buyers

Wecome to http://www.alsalamcity.biz/ this site has been created by a group of extremely unhappy investors and is for anyone who has purchased a property in Al Salam City and is wondering what happens next.

The developer of Al Salam City have put the project “on hold”. This happened in March 2008 but was not communicated to the buyers, it was only the people who contacted Tameer who were told of the options. Now as time is ticking by, we need to know what exactly is happening to our investments.

We are looking for people to unite as one big entity to make our opinions and losses understood and compensated.

Please feel free to register as a user and use the blog site, its totally free and we are looking for like minded people who have suffered.

The blog site is an excellent medium for any news, sharing stories and also for us to agree on what our action plan will be.

Who am I? Well I am an investor in Al Salam City who has come to the end of a very long road of bad customer service. Someone who has been ignored, not called back, not replied to and basically lied to throughout the whole process. I feel the need to take action, for myself and my family. What has happened is not acceptable and now is the time to do something about it.

If you would like to contact me or my team click the ‘contact us’ link

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Property Scandal UAE Al Salam City – Stressed Investors of AL SALAM CITY setup Website

RERA Dubai Property Law – Strata Law unclear about rights of building owners

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 28, 2008

Strata Law unclear about rights of building owners

originial published Emirates Business 24/7

Anjana Kumar on Sunday, June 29, 2008

The new Strata Law is unclear about the rights of building owners and communities, according to a legal expert.

“The law was drawn up to establish the ownership of individual apartments and office spaces in a development and give legal status to homeowners’ associations. But it does not cover the election of association office bearers and how resolutions are adopted and implemented,” said Ali Al Haddad, owner and Senior Lawyer at Al Haddad & Associates.

“Also there is no mention about the accounts and balance sheet of the homeowners’ associations,” he added.

The Strata Law came into effect through Law No27 of 2007, which contains 33 Articles with no mention of any penalty clauses. Also, Law No7 of 2006 concerning property registration in Dubai also does not contain any penalty clauses.

“Considerable rights were given to the master developers regarding the constitutions of homeowners’ associations, but they should be given powers to amend their constitutions.

According to the law, master developers make the constitution, rules and regulations for the homeowners’ association. If the master developer prepares the initial constitution, the association must have powers to amend it when it is fully set up.

A senior official of another Dubai-based law firm says the rights of buyers and sellers will remain in a state of transition until the Strata Law is finalised by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency.

“One cannot really decide what rights people have or don’t have without the regulations of the Strata Law being finalised,” said DLA Piper Middle East’s Real Estate Practice chief Tom O’Grady.

The Strata Law is very dependent on the regulations, which are still at the draft phase. Hence, the law will not have much of an effect on the market, he added.

“However, there will certainly be more sense of an involvement by the community in decision making in terms of how budgets are struck for developments. More involvement by owners will imply empowerment of people who will feel more involved in their development.”

O’Grady suggested the legislation should not be viewed in terms of owners versus buyers, or developers versus buyers but as a partnership between residents and developers.

“The law is not about control. You can’t really have a system of freehold ownership of horizontal property without creating a strata law. In most common-law jurisdictions, you either have a landlord and tenant relationship or you create some sort of a condominium and strata law ownership.

“Any mature jurisdiction has seen hundreds of years of an active property market, but for a nascent property market such as the UAE to come up with rules and regulations is going to be a little complicated affair. I think if you looked at the building level the strata law could work but at the community level it could get more difficult.

“In more mature jurisdictions such as Australia and the US which have had condominium laws for years you tend to have different layers of control.

“So if you take somewhere in Dubai like the Meadows or the Greens you have a management company managing the community and all basic infrastructure such as the roads and district cooling.

“Right now, the owners’ associations are concentrating on individual blocks rather than the larger community level.

“Thus, the complexity of the strata law is heightened because of competing interests in communities in the UAE.”

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on RERA Dubai Property Law – Strata Law unclear about rights of building owners

Gulfnews: Five minutes that changed an elderly UAE citizen’s life

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 28, 2008

Gulfnews: Five minutes that changed an elderly UAE citizen’s life

By Nasouh Nazzal, Staff ReporterPublished: June 28, 2008, 00:04
Ras Al Khaimah: The elderly handicapped man at first did not recognise the person who greeted him and sat beside him in front of his home in the remote area of Wadi Al Qoor.
“Do you know me, I am Mohammad Bin Rashid,” said the visitor and as the elderly man looked closely at his face, he realised the visitor was special.
“You are most welcome Abu Rashid,” said Mohammad Salem Khamis Al Ka’abi, who said he is 100 years old. “It is an honour to have you,” said the Emirati.

The special visitor that day was His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
A five-minute conversation that day changed the life of the centenarian.

Shaikh Mohammad presented Al Ka’abi with a new villa and ordered complete maintenance of the old man’s house and the home of his orphaned grandsons.
“It was an unforgettable moment,” said Al Ka’abi, who has three sons and a daughter. Four other sons have died, three if them in road accidents.

“Give me an order father, whatever you want, just name it, said Shaikh Mohammad,” said Al Ka’abi. “I just hope for a long and happy life,” replied Al Ka’abi.
Shaikh Mohammad looked around and saw the old man’s house had cracks on the walls. “Here we will build for you a very comfortable home,” Shaikh Mohammad reportedly told him.
Al Ka’abi told Shaikh Mohammad that his house was given to him by Shaikh Rashid and he decided never to leave it even though the house deteriorated due to lack of maintenance over the years.

“We owe the Al Maktoum family many favours as they provided me and my family with housing all our lives,” said Al Ka’abi.
Shaikh Mohammad also ordered that the house be fully furnished.
When Shaikh Mohammad learnt that five grandsons of Al Ka’abi who lived in a similar dilapidated house nearby, he ordered that it also be renovated, furnished and equipped. Their father had died in a road accident.

“The contractors worked day and night. They never stopped, never took a rest, till the entire work was completed,” said Al Ka’abi. “The contractors repeatedly invited me to have a look at their work, but I refused and never entered the new house till they handed me the keys,” he said.

Al Ka’abi’s wife Aliba said Shaikh Mohammad greeted her, calling her his aunt. “God has created this man to look after his people. We never imagined we would see him in this remote area,” she said. “This man has honoured us in a way real fathers and mothers would be honoured.”
Neither Al Ka’abi nor Aliba know the number of bedrooms they have in their new home, but they think it has six or seven bedrooms. “The house was prepared, furnished and equipped in a way which makes our life comfortable,” said Al Ka’abi. “Foodstuff, vegetables, fruits, and even tissue boxes were in the house, as if Shaikh Mohammad was telling us to just live a comfortable life.”

Each room has two split air-conditioning unit and has spacious majlis, an independent huge water tanker with a large pump, he said. “Words fail to express our thanks and gratitude to the generosity of Shaikh Mohammad,” said Al Ka’abi.

“Shaikh Mohammad can fulfil anyone’s dreams. It just requires only meeting him once, and he looks you in the eye and then looks around you. He can easily find out what you wanted without your asking for it,” he said.

One of Al Ka’abi’s sons, Saeed, said he was in Abu Dhabi when he got a call that Shaikh Mohammad was visiting his father. “I never expected that it was him, even after I was informed. It was a dream visit,” he said.

Al Ka’abi said his homes will never be sold. “Not even for billions of dirhams,” he said. “My children after me know this that the houses granted to us by the Al Maktoum family will never be for sale.”

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Gulfnews: Five minutes that changed an elderly UAE citizen’s life

Dubai – Just 28% of real estate agencies are registered

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 27, 2008

Just 28% of real estate agencies are registered

original published Emirates Business 24/7

By Anjana Kumar on Thursday, June 26, 2008

Only 28 per cent of the 6,000 real estate agencies registered with the Dubai Economic Department have so far registered with Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera), Emirates Business has learnt.

According to Rera statistics, 1,670 brokerage companies have registered. In addition to this, 3,403 individual agents have registered since the agency was formed last year in July.

Those who have not registered however, still have time.

The Rera official confirmed that the regulator will not be setting an immediate deadline to register all the companies until it expands its working team.

Currently there is a team of seven people working on completing the registration process of brokerage companies. The agency plans to expand the team in August.

“We are giving existing firms time to adjust to the new regulation and by introducing the second step, of using electronic forums, all non-compliance agents (freelancers) will not be able to operate in this market.”

Rera has given a pre-approval for 150 companies who are waiting to be registered.

“Their license will be processed once they finish their training requirement,” the official said.

As regards penalties for errant brokers, he said: “It is not about making money through penalties. We are market regulators and would like to help everybody do their job in a professional way.”

Law No 85 of 2006, regarding the regulation of real estate brokers, has provisions included as regards “settlement of disputes” and “disciplinary penalties” and “cancellation of brokerage.”

“In time we will evaluate all of these new companies to ensure they are complying with the new practices,” the official said.

The minimum educational qualification requirement for owners of real estate brokerage firms will be a diploma certificate, while for managers the minimum educational qualification requirement is a bachelor’s degree.

“No minimum educational qualification is required for real estate agents in Dubai,” he added.

Rera has so far conducted 13 training sessions for 650 estate agents in Dubai since May. Dubai Real Estate Institute has trained 500 estate agents so far with another 1,500 waiting to be enrolled.

Michael Grant, Partner, Cluttons, said, “Any training will be a huge step in the right direction. In the UK, agents can undergo training with the National Association of Estate Agents or Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, who have a branch in UAE. We have in-house training and have enrolled our team for the Rera training.”

These measures have been introduced by Dubai authorities to regulate and ensure that the property sector – what many experts consider the backbone of the economic boom the emirate is seeing – is in line with international best practices and that developer and customer are ensured quality service.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Dubai – Just 28% of real estate agencies are registered

Gulfnews: Ajman cancels PKN Princess Resort project

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 24, 2008

Gulfnews: Ajman cancels PKN Princess Resort project

original published Gulfnews

By Bassma Al Jandaly Staff Reporter
Published: June 22, 2008, 23:54

Dubai: The Ajman Government has cancelled the Dh2.3 billion PKN Princess Resort project and on Sunday urged investors to make their claims directly to the developer.

According to an official statement from the Ajman Government those who have purchased properties must make their claims before noon on June 30.

The project’s trade licence, commercial registration and membership with Ajman Chamber of Commerce and Industry have been cancelled.

The statement said that PKN will be solely liable for any claims from property buyers.

According to the statement from the Ajman government, the project located in Al Manama area was cancelled on June 15.

The Government of Ajman and PKN Procurement jointly decided to end their relationship in the project.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Gulfnews: Ajman cancels PKN Princess Resort project

Worker suicide shock

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 21, 2008

original published
7DAYS Worker suicide shock

At least 29 illegal workers who returned to India during the amnesty last year have committed suicide, an Indian minister has confirmed. Most of them ended their lives after failing to handle the pressure exerted by private money lenders demanding repayment of cash for their loans that originally paid for them to come to the UAE.
Mohammed Ali Shabbir, a minority welfare minister in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, said that thousands of workers returned with large debts. “They borrowed huge sums of money – in excess of dhs10,000 to go to the UAE, but had to return back within months after the amnesty for illegal labourers was announced. They came back with huge debts and were not able to pay back the money lenders,” he said.
Shabbir said that the state government has announced a compensation package of nearly dhs10,000 for the families of the suicide victims. “We also formed a high level committee to look into these cases and prevent such kind of incidents taking place in the future,” he said. The Indian government, Shabbir said, is cracking down on bogus recruitment agents cheating workers by pretending they have work visas and jobs on arrival in the UAE.
“Because of the new measures, the numbers of people going to the UAE on visit visas has come down. Some of the agents involved in the trade were arrested a few months back and sent to jail,” he said. “There is also a rehabilitation package for the workers who returned during the amnesty. They are being provided jobs in the private sector and are being provided loans to set up their own businesses. We are expecting that our measures will yield positive results.
“There are plenty of jobs for the workers in the construction sector which is booming at the moment. Skilled labourers can earn at least dhs800 per month if they opted to stay in India and work,” he added. The UAE declared an amnesty in June last year for the repatriation of illegal migrants and extended it until November 2.
According to figures from the Indian Consulate, 95,000 Indians left the country during the amnesty and 45,000 workers regularised their status.
Out of fear of being chased by money lenders, a number of Indian workers continued to stay illegally in the UAE. One illegal worker who is based in Sharjah, recently told 7DAYS: “I owe more than dhs10,000 to the money-lenders. If I go back home, I won’t have any option except ending my life.”

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Inflation in Gulf ‘will rise further

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 20, 2008

Gulfnews: Inflation in Gulf ‘will rise further’

Published: June 20, 2008, 00:08

Dubai: New signs surfaced yesterday that inflation in the Gulf region will continue to rise from record levels, raising pressure on governments to rein in money supply growth and shield people from price pressures.

Inflation in Kuwait, the only Gulf oil producer without a dollar-pegged currency, remained around a record 10 per cent in March, while UAE money supply, an indicator of future inflation, surged at the fastest pace in five years.

The situation prompted Kuwait’s central bank to tell Reuters in an exclusive interview that it would renew “intensive efforts” using all monetary tools available to tackle red hot inflation.

Price rises are soaring across the world’s biggest oil-exporting region, touching a more than 30-year peak in top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, at least a 20-year high in the UAE and record and near-record levels in Oman and Qatar.

Social impact

“The new record figures come on top of an already elevated base in 2007, which is very worrying,” said Ala’a Al Yousuf, chief economist at Gulf Finance House.

Inflation in Oman soared to a record 12.4 per cent in April and UAE inflation touched 11.1 per cent last year, data showed this week.

“The social impact is going to be the biggest worry given the inflexibility of wage-setting in the region,” Yousuf said.

Almost two-thirds of employees in the Middle East think their salaries are not rising fast enough to keep up pace with inflation, a survey by Middle East employment portal Bayt.com showed this week.

In the UAE, where some federal government employees got 70 per cent wage hikes this year, 61 per cent of respondents in the survey were dissatisfied with their wages.

Like some of its neighbours, the UAE, a Gulf trade hub, relies on low-wage Asian labourers to support its oil-fuelled development. But foreign workers are increasingly disgruntled by salaries pegged to the ailing dollar and the rate of inflation.

But further salary increases only threaten to fuel money supply growth already ballooning across Gulf economies, which are surging on a near seven-fold rise in oil prices since 2002.

Central bankers, constrained by dollar pegs that have forced them to track seven US interest rate cuts since September, have ramped up calls on their governments to clamp down on fiscal spending to curb inflation.

“Fiscal policy can play a significant role in reducing inflationary pressures,” Kuwaiti Central Bank Governor Shaikh Salem Al Sabah told Reuters late on Wednesday.

“The Central Bank of Kuwait will continue its intensive efforts by employing all monetary policy tools … to deal with this challenge,” he said.

Kuwait broke ranks with Saudi Arabia and four other Gulf oil producers preparing for monetary union when it severed its link to the US dollar in May 2007 partly to fight imported inflation.

While it has allowed its dinar to rise almost 9 per cent since then, prices have continued to gain momentum because of rising housing costs.

Raising alarm: Curbing consumer lending

– Inflation in Kuwait, the only Gulf oil producer without a dollar-pegged currency, remained around a record 10 per cent in March while UAE money supply, an indicator of future inflation, surged at the fastest pace in five years.- Inflation in Oman soared to a record 12.4 per cent in April and UAE inflation touched 11.1 per cent last year, data showed this week.Money supply in the UAE, the second-largest Arab economy and world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, jumped almost 40 per cent in the year to March, central bank data showed yesterday, signalling inflation will continue to rise.- Kuwait’s central bank has also tightened curbs in consumer lending this year, while other Gulf central banks have raised bank reserve requirements and issued certificates of deposit to mop up liquidity.

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UK Warns Of Higher Threat Of Terror Attack In UAE – Middle East News

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 18, 2008

UK Warns Of Higher Threat Of Terror Attack In UAE – Middle East News

Monday, Jun 16, 2008

(Adds comments from HSBC, BA and Control Risks.)

By Andrew Critchlow and Oliver Klaus


DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)–The U.K. government has raised its assessment of a terrorist attack in the United Arab Emirates where about 120,000 British expats reside, to high, from general.

“There is a high threat from terrorism,” according to an e-mailed note from the British Embassy sent late Sunday. “Terrorists may be planning to carry out attacks in the U.A.E.”

The notice sent to registered U.K. expatriates in the emirates says that “terrorist attacks could be indiscriminate and could happen at any time, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers such as residential compounds, military, oil, transport and aviation interests.”

Simon Goldsmith, a political affairs officer at the British embassy in Dubai declined to comment Monday on what information has triggered the significant increase in threat alert for the U.A.E.

“This is under constant review and can go up, or down,” he told Zawya Dow Jones. British citizens account for the largest group of Western expatriate workers in the emirates, among the most moderate of Gulf Arab states.

The U.A.E. is now ranked at the highest level of threat for a terrorist attack on a level with Saudi Arabia and Yemen, according to Goldsmith. The British government has four security advisory levels: low, underlying, general and high.

The alert could spark panic among the thousands of expatriates living in emirates such as Dubai, which is booming from an influx of foreign white collar workers to its banking and finance district.

Dubai, which has little oil, could be the hardest hit of the seven sheikdoms in the emirates by any loss in confidence over the country’s security against terrorism. Goldsmith told Zawya Dow Jones that about 1 million British tourists visit the emirates every year.

Political Shock

“Non-nationals account for over 80% of the population, so yes, it could potentially be hit by a political shock that slowed the inflow of expatriate labor or, in a more extreme scenario, caused resident expatriates to leave the country,” said Tristan Cooper, senior Middle East sovereign analyst at Moody’s Investor Services.

The embassy hasn’t changed its advisory for travelers to the U.A.E. and is not telling tourists to cancel their holiday plans in the emirates as a result of the heightened threat of a terrorist attack, Goldsmith said.

The British embassy is so far the only major foreign diplomatic mission in the U.A.E. to warn of an increased threat of terrorist attack.

The U.S. State Department hasn’t issued any new warning Monday. A spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Abu Dhabi said only that the embassy was aware of the U.K. warning and is “constantly monitoring” the security situation and constantly communicates with the American community in the U.A.E.

Business executives in Dubai were largely dismissive of the U.K. embassy’s warning saying that the sheikdom’s relentless economic boom will march on regardless.

Tim Harrison, a Dubai-based spokesperson for HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC), said the bank wasn’t planning any action, or giving any additional advice to its U.A.E.-based employees.

British Airways PLC’s (BAY.LN) London-based spokesperson Eun Fordyce said the carrier was aware of the new security warning but declined to comment on whether the company planned to increase security for its employees in the U.A.E.

The Dubai Financial Market shrugged off any concerns over the U.K. government’s statement closing Monday up 0.5% to 5660.94 points in the morning session. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange was up narrowly 0.7% to 5144.88.

U.S. Allies

The U.A.E., historically a key U.S. and U.K. ally in the Persian Gulf, has so far escaped attacks from Al Qaeda Islamic militants who have targeted neighboring states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Terrorists bombed a theater in Qatar, killing a U.K. expatriate and injuring 12 others, in 2005. Saudi Arabia, which maintains a more conservative Muslim society than the emirates, has repeatedly faced attacks from Islamic extremists against expatriate workers and its oil facilities since 2003.

The emirates openness to Western culture such as allowing the consumption of alcohol in public places and its open door policy to foreigners may make it a target for Islamic groups such as Al Qaeda.

Jebel Ali port, located about 40 kilometers southwest of central Dubai, is the only harbor facility in the Gulf where U.S. nuclear-class aircraft carriers can dock to allow sailors onshore.

To be sure, the federation has tightened up on money laundering and its internal security in an effort to ensure militants don’t gain a foothold. Two of the 19 terrorists involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S. were U.A.E. nationals.

The government said last month it planned to spend 3 billion U.A.E. dirhams ($821 million) boosting security in an effort to safeguard its oil facilities, which pump about 2.6 million barrels a day of crude.

Neil Quilliam, an analyst at Control Risks Group, a security advisory company, said that Al Qaeda was unlikely to target the U.A.E., which is relatively easy to access when compared to neighboring Gulf states.

“We are led to believe that Al Qaeda does operate in some form in the U.A.E. so by targeting the U.A.E. it will be diminishing its own access,” he said.

-By Andrew Critchlow, Dow Jones Newswires; +9714 364 4960; andrew.critchlow@dowjones.com (with reporting by Tahani Karrar, Maria Abi-Habib and Chip Cummins in Dubai.)

Copyright (c) 2007, Dow Jones & Co., Inc.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

16-06-08 1218GMT

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Relax – Workout Lesson

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 16, 2008

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UAE residents "happiest and safest throughout Middle East"

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 12, 2008

original published: Gulf News

Dubai leads Middle East countries in quality of living for residents, according to latest survey.

By Nina Muslim, Staff Reporter
Published: June 10, 2008, 18:27

Dubai: UAE residents are the happiest and safest among all cities in the Middle East, according to a quality of living survey of 215 cities, with Dubai coming tops, followed by Abu Dhabi.

Mercer, an international consulting firm, announced the results of its annual survey on Tuesday, ranking Dubai at 83 and Abu Dhabi at 87 in terms of quality of living, and Abu Dhabi 33 and Dubai 47 for personal safety.

The best city to live in is Zurich while the safest is Luxembourg. Baghdad placed last in both aspects, coming in at 215 out of 215.

The survey was conducted “to help governments and major companies place employees on international assignments”.



“Several regions of the Middle East have benefited enormously from government investment in infrastructure, health and sanitation and are rising up the rankings,” said Slagin Parakatil, senior researcher at Mercer, in a statement.

“However, personal safety and political tensions remain stumbling blocks and account for the low ranking of many of the region’s cities. Multinationals often compensate for this by increasing compensation levels and other benefits for their employees,” he said.

The key indicators included medical supplies and services, traffic congestion, censorship, personal freedom, recreation, schools and education, political and social environment and economic environment.

Nada Al Qassimi, spokesperson for Dubai Health Authority, told Gulf News that Dubai has always tried to lead the way in terms of health.

“What we’re doing is good but we want the best. We are benchmarking our health system against the best in the world,” she said.

Last year, Dubai came in at 80 and Abu Dhabi at 88 in the quality of living survey.

Bassam Ghazal, head of public information product solutions at Mercer in Dubai, said the lower ranking does not mean Dubai has lost its strength.

“Dubai’s ranking has not gone down. It has actually gone up. It is now ranking 83 because other cities have also improved,” he said.

The Dubai government has acknowledged the population growth and adjusted its future plans accordingly, announcing a new system of health funding that will allow all residents equal access to healthcare.

Dubai is also undertaking various ambitious infrastructure projects to accommodate the growing population, including building an extensive network of roads and a light-rail transport system.

Abu Dhabi is involved in several projects to improve the quality of life for its residents, including ones that will place it as the cultural centre of the UAE.

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Detained banker ‘tortured’ in Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 11, 2008

Detained banker ‘tortured’ in Dubai
original published
By Simeon Kerr in Dubai/ Financial Times
Montag Jun 9 2008 13:20

A Pakistani banker detained by the Dubai authorities as part of a corruption investigation at the Dubai Islamic Bank is suing the bank in the US, alleging that he has been tortured and held in the United Arab Emirates without credible evidence against him.

The case offers a rare glimpse into the sometimes murky world of Dubai’s justice system, where rumours of disappearances and mani-pulation of evidence abound.

The bank’s investigation is one of a spate of financial and real-estate scandals that could affect the UAE’s quest to become a business centre adhering to international standards.

Dubai has turned itself into a magnet for international businesses seeking to serve the oil-rich Middle East, but its rudimentary legal system is regarded as a weakness of the emirate’s regulatory landscape.

Rafatul Islam Usmani, who was working in structured finance for the bank, is pressing for unspecified damages against his former employer, the Dubai Islamic Bank, the Middle East’s third-largest Islamic bank by assets, as well as one of the bank’s former employees and a government auditor.

Mr Usmani says Dubai’s security forces abused him during an investigation into alleged misuse of the bank’s funds in Turkey.

In a complaint filed on June 2, he claims the authorities tortured him to the point that he “confessed to unknown criminal acts”, and that they assaulted members of his family and kept hold of his passport.

He has filed the case in Miami under the Alien Tort Claims Act, arguing that the Dubai judiciary is prone to political interference.

Michael Diaz, his lawyer in Florida, says that when he gets more access to his client and receives more information, he may issue an updated complaint broadening the scope of the damages claim to other individuals. They could include the security forces and other government members.

Mr Usmani, who has had only limited access to his lawyers and family since he was detained in late May, denies all allegations of bribery put forward by the authorities, says Mr Diaz.

The Dubai Islamic Bank declined to comment.

A government representative said the bank was currently handling the case itself. Dubai would continue to focus on judicial reform as a central part of the emirate’s overall strategy, the official added.

The detention of Mr Usmani comes amid another investigation into alleged financial irregularities at Deyaar, a Dubai developer that is 41 per cent owned by the Dubai Islamic Bank. The bank says it is not involved in any wrongdoing.

Zack Shahin, a US citizen and former chief executive of Deyaar, is one of four people detained in that case over the past few weeks. He denies any wrongdoing.

Mr Usmani, who had been the DIB’s vice-president of structured finance, says the current investigation started in early 2007, when the bank received an anonymous e-mail.

This alleged that one of the DIB’s business partners, CCH International, might have been violating Turkish law “by paying irregular commissions and obtaining credit facilities through DIB and then lending those same facilities to entities and individuals at very high rates”.

Mr Usmani claims that the bank forced him to resign last year, but then rejected his resignation, keeping him as an unpaid employee while the investigation continued.

He says that, in December, he was stopped at the airport from travelling to Pakistan for his daughter’s wedding, and then had his passport confiscated by the two individual defendants in the case, Obaid al-Shamsi, a former DIB legal officer, and Mohammed al-Marzouki, a government auditor.

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British millionaire detained in Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 11, 2008

Monday, Jun 09, 2008

original published Zawya

(Adds share price and background)

DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)–British banker Charles Ridley, is being held by Dubai Police as part of a bribery investigation involving a former Dubai Islamic Bank

vice president, an official said Monday.

Ridley has been detained as part of a probe, which has seen former DIB vice president Rifat Al Islam Usmani being detained, a police official, who declined to be identified, told Zawya Dow Jones.

More than four people are being held so far in connection with the investigation at the largest Islamic lender in the United Arab Emirates, the police official said without giving further details about the identity of the detainees.

A spokesperson and officials from Dubai Islamic Bank weren’t immediately available for comment when called Monday.

It remains unclear on what grounds Ridley was detained and what’s his relation to the Dubai-based lender.

Dubai Islamic Bank shares closed down 0.5% to AED9.09 on the Dubai Financial Market.

Ridley’s detention is the latest in a series of financial scandals unfolding in Dubai following the arrest of Zack Shahin, the former chief executive of Deyaar the emirate’s third largest real estate company, on fraud allegations.

Deyaar is 41% owned by Dubai Islamic Bank

, according to Zawya.com data.

Dubai Islamic Bank Chart Data ‘s rating was cut last month to “neutral” from “buy” at Merrill Lynch & Co., which cited the Deyaar corruption probe and concern over bad loans at the bank.

The lender is 34% owned by U.A.E. and Dubai government entities, according to Zawya.com data

-By Mirna Sleiman, Dow Jones Newswires, +9714 364 4966, mirna.sleiman@dowjones.com

Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

09-06-08 1030GMT

original published Arabian Business 05 June 2008


Bahrain-based British banker Charles Ridley has been detained by police in Dubai for almost a week, it has been revealed.

The British multi-millionaire met with British Consulate officials on Tuesday. An official later confirmed that Ridley was facing questions, but did not disclose the charges he was facing, Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News reported on Thursday.

Ridley’s arrest was believed to be related to investment funds which had put money into petro-chemical developments in Pakistan, the newspaper said, citing an unnamed source. It is believed a Dubai Islamic bank had also invested in the funds.

The newspaper also contacted Ridley’s wife who confirmed that British Consulate officials were granted access to her husband. However Ridley is yet to receive access to his legal advisers.

It is believed Ridley’s Bahrain-based business associate Rayan Cornelius has also been detained, the newspaper said.

Few details have emerged about Mr Ridley although he briefly made headlines in the UK in 2006 when he held a lavish 50th birthday party for his wife.

According to a report in Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper, the rugby-loving banker paid for several world-class international rugby players, including at least two members of England’s World Cup winning squad, to fly to Kenya for the party.

A family friend at the time told the the UK’s Sunday Telegraph Ridley had his “own parameters of fun, a different scale”.

“He works hard, enjoys life, and pushing the boundaries, and has a significant sense of family and friends,” the friend said.

The friend told the newspaper Ridley enjoyed life in Bahrain, where he moored a $3.8 million cruiser at the yacht club.

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The Case Rafat Usmani – Amnesty International seeking for help

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 8, 2008

original published: Amnesty International


May 30, 2008

Pakistani national Rafat Usmani was arrested and detained on 28 May and says that he was tortured the same day. The authorities have since denied holding him in custody, leading to concern that he has been subjected to enforced disappearance. He is in grave danger of further torture or other ill-treatment.

Rafat Usmani has lived and worked in the Emirate of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for over 12 years. Over the course of 2008, he has been in communication with the Office of the Auditors (a quasi-judicial body under the control of the ruler of Dubai, which deals with financial offences) in relation to financial irregularities alleged to have taken place at his former workplace. His representative in these procedures has been an American lawyer.

Most recently, he was summoned to the Office of the Auditors at 1pm on 28 May. He was told that the summons was for him to collect his passport and sign a number of forms connected with his application to change his employment sponsorship, which is a requirement for foreign nationals working in the UAE. Rafat Usmani went to the office with his wife and also his brother and his wife, who are American citizens. His brother waited in a car outside the office, while his wife and sister-in-law entered with him. One hour after their arrival the two women were told that they must leave but that Rafat Usmani must remain. They were then told, “We will teach you Americans a lesson.” Later that day Rafat Usmani was brought home by a group of men, some of them in uniform, believed to be members of Amn al-dawla (state security police). They searched the house and took his laptop computer and other personal items.

During the search, Rafat Usmani told his family, in tears, that he had been tortured. At that point he was taken away and was therefore not able to provide further details. His family have made extensive inquiries with the authorities, but they have denied having him in custody.

Rafat Usmani has a detached retina. He will reportedly lose his sight in that eye unless he takes medicine every four hours. He did not have the medicine with him when he was taken into custody. He also has very high blood pressure and has been hospitalized twice in the last month due to collapsing from stress.


At least two people are known to have been tortured in custody in the UAE in 2007. UAE national ‘Abdullah Sultan al-Subaihat and Pakistani national Rashed Mahmood were both beaten severely. ‘Abdullah Sultan al-Subaihat was also subjected to sleep deprivation, forced to carry a chair over his head every day and threatened with sexual assault.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Arabic, English, or your own language:

– expressing concern for the safety of Rafat Usmani, who was taken into custody on 28 May and has not been heard from since;

– expressing concern that Rafat Usmani says he was tortured in custody on 28 May and urging the authorities to ensure that he is not subjected to further torture or other ill-treatment;

– expressing concern that he may be at serious risk of losing his eyesight and urging the authorities to provide him with any medicine and medical attention he may require;

– calling on the authorities to inform his family of his whereabouts without delay and to allow them and his lawyer prompt access to him.


Minister of the Interior

Major-General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Ministry of the Interior

PO Box 398

Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates

Fax: + 971 2 4414938

Salutation: Your Excellency

Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai

Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum

Office of the Prime Minister

POB 73311


United Arab Emirates

Fax: +971 4 330 4000

Salutation: Your Highness

Email: help@dubai.ae

webmaster@sheikhmohammed.ae (mark “Please forward to the Office of the Emir”)

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Shaikh ‘Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

PO Box 1

Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates

Fax: + 971 4 228 0979

Salutation: Your Excellency

COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of the United Arab Emirates accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 11 July 2008.

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Dubai Property buyers ‘have right to residence visa’

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 7, 2008

original published Gulf News June 06, 2008

Dubai: Freehold property buyers are fully entitled to residence visas, a senior government official has confirmed, quashing widespread confusion among homebuyers in the UAE.

Officials at Dubai’s Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) have confirmed that anyone who buys a freehold property in the emirate is entitled to residence in Dubai through the master-developer.

Omar Mattar Bin Mizaina, head of employment permits section at DNRD, said,”Anyone who buys a property can get a residence visa in Dubai.” There has been widespread concern and confusion in recent weeks among property buyers about this issue, with some believing that master developers had broken the contract as visas had not been issued.

Bin Mizaina said property owners can choose whether they want to be sponsored by their master developer or their employer.”You must be a property owner, but it depends on the Ministry of Labour, as some cases are given special approval. But, yes, you can choose,” he said.

This is good news for Dubai property owners, as it is seemingly a way of getting around the dreaded ban. Now, if you own a property, even if you resign or are sacked from your job, you will still have your residency visa and won’t have to leave the UAE.

However, Mohammad Bin Braik, chief operating officer of Dubai Properties Group, told Gulf News last week:”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.”

Residence visas are given for one, two, or three years and are then renewed by the DNRD through the original sponsor.”As long as you own a property, you will have a residency visa,” Bin Mizaina said.

Delayed by developers

With the DNRD now clarifying the issue, it seems the delay in providing the promised residency visas lies with the master developers. Both Nakheel and Emaar have issued statements saying that they do sponsor freehold buyers for residency visas in line with the rules and procedures of the DNRD.

Despite the DNRD’s clear-cut process, many people in Dubai who have bought freehold properties have still not received their residency visas.

Bin Mizaina said that the master developer can apply for residency visas as soon as a property is bought and a contract is signed with buyer.

The law itself clearly states:”If the homeowner has no alternative means of sponsorship for a residence visa, the first owner may be sponsored by your master-developer for residency in Dubai, UAE, subject to the applicable immigration laws of the country.”

Legal issues

Bypassing Labour Law

An official at the Ministry of Labour said that no resident can jump an employment ban in the UAE.”A person with an employment ban can enter the UAE on a visit visa but this does not entitle him to work in the country. However, people staying in the country on a property linked residency visa and without an employment ban can work but after they obtain a work permit,” the official said.

Lawyer’s view

– According to advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba,
a resident may not work on a property residence visa unless an official work permit is obtained. The employee must cancel the property visa and change to his company’s sponsorship, but he may return to his property’s visa after he leaves his work.
-The work ban is not related to residence visa. Holders of property visas or the wives on husbands’ sponsorship can still stay in the UAE, while others may enter the country on a visit visa during the work ban. A property residence visa does not guarantee jobs. –

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Damac Dubai – Investigation – Personal data of thousands compromised

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 6, 2008

original published: Arabian Business

Dubai 06.June.2008
Damac Properties has launched an investigation into how thousands of its customers personal details ended up for sale on Ebay for 750 pounds ($1,466), a senior company official told ArabianBusiness.com on Thursday.

Ten copies of a database with personal information on over 8,000 of the Dubai-based developer’s customers were put on the website on May 28.

According to the posting, the database includes information such as email addresses and phone numbers of “investors, VIPs, agents and high net worth individuals based in Dubai and across the world”.

“This database is highly sought after by every financial institution in the region and is worth millions,” the posting says.

The posting has since been removed following a flurry of complaints by investors.

Nile McLoughlin, senior vice president of corporate communications at Damac, said the company took customer confidentiality “very seriously” and a “comprehensive investigation” was taking place.

“We are aware of the auction taking place on Ebay and we have had the item removed from the site,” McLoughlin said.

“A comprehensive investigation is taking place and the relevant action will be taken as an outcome of this investigation.”

The incident comes less than two months after the saga surrounded the high profile cancellation and subsequent reinstatement of Damac’s Palm Springs project on the Palm Jebel Ali.

Original offer Ebay was:

Damac Ebay !!!!

Some joker is selling on ebay an excel file with all Damac’s customers details on!!!!!


‘I have the most exclusive database of over 8,000 customers, investors, VIP’s, agents and high net worth individuals based in Dubai and across the world who have already invested and want to invest further in the UAE and region properties market.

List includes customers of Damac Properties the middle easts larget private developer!

This database is complete with contact details, email addresses, phone numbers and personal information.

The databse comprises of people who have invested in the properties market in Dubai and middle east.

This database is highly sort after by every financial institution in the region and is worth millions.

This offer is genuine and you will not be dissapointed. I will deliver the complete database in excel format’

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Final Agreement With Amlak On Tower Sale Stalled: First Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 4, 2008

original published: Zawya


DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)–

Kuwait-based First Dubai For Real Estate Development said Monday the final sale agreement of Sky Gardens, a tower at the Dubai International Financial Centre, or DIFC to Dubai-based Amlak Finance is at a deadlock.

A partly owned unit of Al Mazaya HoldingAl Mazaya Holding , First DubaiFirst Dubai , called for a compensation from Amlak after it failed to complete the purchase of the AED1.65 billion residential tower, it said in a statement Sunday on the Kuwait bourse Web site.

Mazaya said in a separate statement that First DubaiFirst Dubai will grant Amlak one week to resolve the issue.

First Dubai said in the statement as it still owns 80% of the tower it could sell it to any other buyer.

Trading in Mazaya and First Dubai shares, which was halted Sunday, will resume shortly, the statement added.

-By Reem Shamseddine, Dow Jones Newswires, +9714 374 8044 Reem.Shamseddine@dowjones.com

Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-06-08 0847GMT

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Deyaar Chairman Can’t Rule Out More Arrests In Fraud Probe

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 4, 2008

original published: Zawya


DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)–Nasser Al Sheikh, chairman of Deyaar Development Co (DEYAAR.AI), Dubai’s third-largest traded real estate company, said Sunday that further arrests in a probe into fraud at the company are likely.

“There is a possibility they will detain more people,” Al Sheikh told Zawya Dow Jones in an interview Sunday.

Dubai prosecutors have already detained the company’s former chief executive Zack Shahin; Ganesan Krishna Kumar, a Dubai-based advertising executive; Charbel Boutros, a salesman at Deyaar and Jose Mebar, a director of a Dubai-based building consultant.

Al Sheikh said he expects that the investigation will be handed to the courts and the suspects charged shortly.

“It’s nearing closure,” he said.

Shahin, who resigned as Deyaar‘s chief executive last month amid allegations of embezzling U.A.E. dirhams 350,000 ($95,000) from the company, is being detained along with the other suspects without charge.

A Dubai prosecution official told Zawya Dow Jones Sunday that all suspects all suspects in the case could be held for a further 30 days, while investigators collect more evidence.

-By Mirna Sleiman, Dow Jones Newswires, +9714 364 4966, mirna.sleiman@dowjones.com

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

01-06-08 1358GMT

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Dubai Amlak seeks 22 million Dollar in damages from Mazaya

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 2, 2008

Dubai – June 02 , 2008
original published Arabian Businees

Dubai-based Islamic mortgage company Amlak Finance said on Sunday it was seeking 82 million dirhams ($22.33 million) in damages after an initial agreement to buy a tower block in Dubai fell through.

Amlak charged in a statement on the Dubai bourse website that the agreement to buy Sky Gardens for 1.65 billion dirhams collapsed because a unit of Kuwait’s Al-Mazaya Holding Company was unable “to honour the terms and conditions stipulated in the MoU”.

The unit, First Dubai Real Estate Development Company, subsequently said it was willing go ahead with the sale, despite the lapse of a May 31 deadline. “That is not an absolute deadline and we are willing to proceed,” First Dubai said in a statement on the Dubai bourse website.

If the sale falls through, it would keep Amlak’s 82 million dirham deposit, it said.

Shares of Amlak were up 4.15% at 0911 GMT. Those of Mazaya and First Dubai were down 1.08% and 1.02% respectively. Arif Al-Harmi, Amlak’s chief executive, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mazaya said this month it will make a profit of 46 million dinars ($173.7 million) from the sale of the project to Amlak through First Dubai. It owns 76.7% of First Dubai. (Reuters)

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UAE inflation hits alarming level

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 1, 2008

original published Arabian Business

Fears over how quickly the cost of living is accelerating in the UAE became very real on Wednesday when the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry revealed inflation jumped to a record 14% last year.

The chamber said in a report, citing government estimates, that inflation had soared in 2007 on the back of rising fuel, food and housing costs, reaching a peak of 15% during the year.

The chamber described the situation as “alarming”.

At 14% the UAE would be suffering from the highest level of inflation in the GCC and one of the highest in the world.

The UAE has yet to release official inflation figures for 2007. The government said inflation stood at 9.3% in 2006 and nearly 4% in 2005.

The chamber’s 2007 figure is significantly higher than previous estimates, which have put 2007 inflation at between 10.9% and 11.4%.

Analysts have predicted inflation could touch 11.8% in 2008, but that could be eclipsed in light of the Abu Dhabi chamber’s findings, with fuel, food and housing costs continuing to rise this year.

“Inflation has steadily risen over the past three years to reach an alarming level in 2007, when it was estimated at as high as 15%,” the chamber said, quoted UAE daily Emirates Business 24/7.

“One of the root causes of this problem is the wave of hikes in petrol and diesel prices in the country, as such increases have led to higher construction costs, slashed the profit margin of the contractors and prompted house owners to raise rents sharply.

“Although the surge in rents was a major contribution to inflation in the UAE, the fuel price increases should not be ignored as they play a key part in pushing up rents to such an alarming level given their direct impact on various economic sectors, including construction and transport.”

The report will undoubtedly renew calls for the UAE to ditch its currency peg to the ailing US dollar, which has been blamed for increasing the cost of imports and restricting the central bank’s ability to fight inflation.

The UAE’s dollar peg forces the central bank to track US monetary policy to maintain the relative attractiveness of the dirham.

The US Federal Reserve has been slashing interest rates since September to stave off recession at a time when the UAE and other Gulf states should be hiking rates to rein in inflation.

IN PICS: Costs, taxes, charges
ArabianBusiness.com takes a look at some of the major extra costs residents in the UAE are facing.

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Dubai expensive Office Market

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 1, 2008

Dubai May 29, 2008 —
London’s West End is once again the world’s most expensive office market, but Dubai has now entered the top ten for the first time, according to CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. (CBRE) Research’s semi-annual Global Market Rents survey. The report tracks world markets with the highest as well as fastest-growing occupancy costs for the 12 months ended March 31, 2008. Moscow climbed to second position whilst Tokyo’s Inner Central Five Wards, Mumbai’s Nariman Point and Tokyo’s Outer Central Five Wards rounded out the top five most expensive markets.


Top Ten Most Expensive Markets

1. London (West End), England

2. Moscow, Russia

3. Tokyo (Inner Central), Japan

4. Mumbai, India

5. Tokyo (Outer Central), Japan

6. London (City), England

7. New Delhi, India

8. Paris, France

9. Singapore

10. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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