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    • Criminal Complaint filed against Al Fajer Properties Sheikh Maktoum
      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 February, 2009

Schon Properties in Problems ? – Developer call on UAE banks to resume lending

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 27, 2009


original published Arabian Business 27 January 2009

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/548127-developer-calls-on-uae-banks-to-resume-lending

A high profile Dubai developer has called on banks in the UAE to resume lending as soon as possible in a bid to restore confidence to the struggling real estate market.

Danial Schon, vice president, Schon Properties which came under fire from investors last year after long delays to its flagship Dubai Lagoon development, said he hoped to see banks take action in the next six months.

Schon, who believes the correction in the Dubai property market will last until June or July, said: “People are losing jobs, visas are being cancelled, traffic has decreased. Banks have a major role to play in building confidence. My worry is that banks will act later rather than sooner.

by Kim LathamThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it on Friday, 27 February 2009
LENDING CALL: Schon Properties says it is vital that banks in the UAE resume lending soon to restore confidence in the real estate market. (ITP Images)
LENDING CALL: Schon Properties says it is vital that banks in the UAE resume lending soon to restore confidence in the real estate market. (ITP Images)

A high profile Dubai developer has called on banks in the UAE to resume lending as soon as possible in a bid to restore confidence to the struggling real estate market.

Danial Schon, vice president, Schon Properties which came under fire from investors last year after long delays to its flagship Dubai Lagoon development, said he hoped to see banks take action in the next six months.

Schon, who believes the correction in the Dubai property market will last until June or July, said: “People are losing jobs, visas are being cancelled, traffic has decreased. Banks have a major role to play in building confidence. My worry is that banks will act later rather than sooner.
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“If they do this and come in 2010 instead of this year, this will be bad for the real estate industry.”

He added in an interview with Arabian Property: “The major thing I see happening over the next six months is banks will start to give mortgages again. Their job is to give end-user financing to residents. Mortgages are such an important function of the real estate cycle.

“Here, there are excessively high mortgages and they are very limited and there is a lack of mortgage flexibility – this market has been running on cash which can only last so long.”

Schon Properties’ Dubai Lagoon project has come in for criticism after the seven billion sq ft development, to consist of 49 buildings and around 4,000 apartments, saw completion dates slip from December 2007 to 2011.

Schon said one reason for the delay was the plan by the Roads and Transport Authority to build a six-lane highway in close proximity to the development.

After months of negotiation, Schon Properties eventually gave up 10 metres of land to the transport authority.

The Dubai Lagoon concept is about affordability and Schon added: “In Dubai, real demand from end-users was for affordable living. If you see the percentage of affordable property compared to high-end, luxury developments, it’s 10 percent affordable housing and 90 percent luxury and luxury developers are the ones taking the hit.”

However, Schon said he believes Dubai will recover quicker than other places.

“It’s a very dynamic place and now is the time you’ll find out who the true believers in our city are and those who only speculate,” he said.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Schon Properties in Problems ? – Developer call on UAE banks to resume lending

Missing property agent Al Safi Real Estate Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 27, 2009


http://www.xpress4me.com/news/uae/dubai/20012094.html

A Dutch-Eritrean couple who moved to the UAE to escape the risk of attacks on foreigners in Saudi Arabia now fears losing an investment of over Dh180,000 in a Dubai real estate project.

Dutch telecom executive Edgar Schurman and his Eritrean wife Yordanos Abreha used to live in one of the many gated communities for expatriates employed by international companies in Riyadh.

Starting anew

In Dubai, the couple booked a plot for a shop inside the proposed Elements project in Jumeirah Village in December 2007. “As my wife wanted to set up a beauty salon, we thought it’d be a good idea to buy instead of leasing against rising rents.”

But after they had paid Dh182,000 in booking fees, sales commissions and down payments, the plot seller, Al Safi Real Estate, sent a letter to the couple in December 2008 stating that the entire project had been cancelled by developer Ali Moosa & Sons. The letter promised a full refund by February 2009.

“They didn’t respond, so we had to visit them [Al Safi],” Schurman said. “But the office seemed to be closed.

“I verified that a few days later – power was cut, and the office was deserted. “On one of our last visits, they had said they needed three months to pay us in February – it looks as if they needed three months to pack their stuff.” When XPRESS visited the Al Safi office at the Grosvenor House Commercial Tower on Shaikh Zayed Road, the front door was locked while the door bell was not working.

No one picked up the phone on the other two listed numbers, despite several calls made over many days. And many of the mobile numbers of Al Safi agents – listed in e-mails to investors that were forwarded to XPRESS – are also not working.

Not just that, even the website listed on the voucher – http://www.dip4u.com – remains blank.

XPRESS had reported in November 2008 that many Elements investors were scrambling for refunds after project delays and reports of cancellations rocked the proposed residential towers – no construction work had begun, even though sales agent Aspire started taking payments in April 2007.

Ali Moosa & Sons had not responded to a request for comments on the Elements issue.

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Damac Dubai – Is Damac doing it again – Palm Springs Project Jebel Ali Palm

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 26, 2009


http://www.kippreport.com/kipp/2009/02/25/is-damac-doing-it-again/

Damac, a Dubai-based real estate developer, may once again cancel construction on Palm Springs, the developer’s waterfront property on The Palm Jebel Ali. S

ources confirmed to Kippreport that Peter Riddoch, Damac’s CEO, informed investors that thanks to the current financial condition, The Palm Jebel Ali may never be built, and asked investors to consider using their Damac ‘credits’ to own apartments in other Damac properties or to accept full refunds. He also stated that even if construction on The Palm Jebel Ali has not stopped, and if plots on the island were handed over to developers in the next five years, Damac will not build Palm Springs at the price they sold it for.

Damac has however told Kipp that the project is on schedule. “We are going ahead with all our projects, which includes Palm Springs,” the company said in a statement. “As an organization, we are constantly reviewing our inventory and offering our customers value adding opportunities if and when they arise,” it said. “This may involve offering them transfers to other Damac Properties’ units in other projects that are being fast-tracked or at an advanced construction stage in order for customers to start enjoying their Damac homes sooner.

We always make it clear to customers that this is just an option for their consideration. We consider this good business management and good customer service.”

Damac started selling properties in Palm Springs in 2003, and claimed to have sold all 240 apartments.

The project was due for completion last year, but in March 2008, the developer cancelled the project, blaming redevelopment of the The Palm Jebel Ali by the master developer, Nakheel.

Damac offered investors their initial investment (25 percent) plus six percent interest. Nakheel then released a statement saying that it had informed investors of changes to the masterplan over 10 months ago. Angry Damac investors formed a group and threatened to take legal action against the developer. Damac received widespread media coverage, with reports speculating that the developer tried to “buy back” the building because construction costs had increased.

The whole drama came to an end in April 2008, when Damac announced a reversal of its decision, and reinstated the project.

Is Damac going to go back on its word, again?

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Damac Dubai – Is Damac doing it again – Palm Springs Project Jebel Ali Palm

Dubai first court case corruption Sama Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 25, 2009


Link

DUBAI // The first court case connected to the ongoing investigation into alleged corruption in Dubai is due to start early next month.

Four former employees of the property developer Sama Dubai are to appear in the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance with a fifth defendant from another company.

Among the defendants is AM, 42, the former chief executive of Sama Dubai’s project The Lagoons.

He is charged with asking for bribes in the form of properties and cash from Sama Dubai clients, which led the company to incur a loss of Dh137 million (US$37.3m), prosecution officials said.

Three sales executives at The Lagoons are charged with taking bribes for property transactions. The fifth defendant, who worked for a local property developer, is charged with accepting a bribe.

The case is the first to make it to court after a long-running investigation into allegations of corruption in Dubai, mostly in the property sector.

The case has been scheduled for March 8, but last night the Government announced that ministries and departments would be closed on that date to mark the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday. Court officials were not available to comment on whether the sessions would go ahead or be rescheduled.

The Dubai attorney general, Issam al Humaidan, said this week that the investigation into another of the cases was almost complete.

Mr al Humaidan said the charges against the former chief executive of the developer Deyaar, Zack Shahin, and three co-defendants included forgery, embezzlement and fraud.

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Dubai first court case corruption Sama Dubai

New rule from March 2009 on Dubai off-plan properties

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 25, 2009


http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2009/2/pages/02262009_91704b6ed7a84a83904465159e669ae8.aspx

New developers in Dubai will now have to pay 100 per cent of the land price to start selling properties “off plan” and will have to inject a minimum 20 per cent of project value to commence construction, a top government official said.

“Besides, paying land value in full and injecting 20 per cent of the project value to start construction, new developers will have to link payments to construction. This is a new regulation that will become operational from March,” Marwan bin Ghalita, Chief Executive Officer, Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) said yesterday.

Although the agency has postponed plans to introduce a new sales agreement, it will soon be introducing a “cool off” period clause that will allow investors time to rethink their decision.

“The investor will have the right to have a clause of cool off period for 15 days and then commit to a contract. Once you sign a contract, you are bound by it.”

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Only two projects have been cancelled in Dubai, but another 27 projects “need to be cancelled” in the coming weeks, Mr bin Ghalita said.

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 25, 2009


original published The National
http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090225/BUSINESS/285435412/1133

The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) and Dubai Land Department are beginning a rigorous monitoring process for property developments and controlling supply of new units to ensure the sector recovers from the global financial crisis, said Marwan bin Ghalita, the chief executive of Rera.

“In a booming market, everyone makes mistakes,” he said. “Now it is the time to regulate.”

The value of property deals in January and February of 2009 was 45 per cent less than the same period in 2008, while there was a 40 per cent decrease in the number of sales, according to the Land Department.

To restore confidence to the property sector, Mr bin Ghalita said the agencies will create monthly progress reports for each of the 875 developments in Dubai and post them on their website to keep buyers informed about their investments. The agencies have also begun financial audits of the developers.

“The trust that you have put in Dubai and the transparency you asked for is there,” he said.

Rera, along with other Government agencies, will also control supply of new units coming into the market by limiting permits to build and the number of developers. Some projects will also be cancelled. About 70 per cent of the units under construction are from developers controlled by the Government.

Mr bin Ghalita said that about 31,003 units are expected to come into the market this year, compared to 29,319 last year. But with cancellations and delays, he said this year’s number could be reduced by as much as 20 per cent. Likewise, Rera’s estimate of 43,880 units coming into the market in 2010 could be reduced by 30 per cent, he said.

Only two projects have been cancelled in Dubai, but another 27 projects “need to be cancelled” in the coming weeks, Mr bin Ghalita said.

Other highlights from a press conference with Rera and the Land Department:

— A new cool-off period will be built into contracts that allows buyers to still cancel their commitment within fifteen days. “Real estate is a long-term investment,” Mr bin Ghalita said.

— Half-built buildings that run out of finance will be completed through bridge financing or other means. “A lot of funds are waiting to jump in with such projects,” Mr bin Ghalita said.

— Sentiment has risen since the announcement that Dubai will buy US$20bn in bonds from the federal government to meet its obligations. He said the money was a “good sign” that lending to home buyers would be revived.

The Land Department registered a Dh200m building sale in Wasl today. “This shows we are capable of managing our financial issues,” he said.

— Developers are reporting different default rates, anywhere from 1 per cent to 80 per cent, depending on the project, construction progress and confidence in the development.

— Rera now has 427 developers, compared to approximately 870 as of last summer. Most of these were developers who now say they have no intention to build projects.

— 695 projects have trust accounts. The remaining projects either have more than 60 per cent of their project complete or have proven resources to build the rest of the building without income from investors.

bhope@thenational.ae

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Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Only two projects have been cancelled in Dubai, but another 27 projects “need to be cancelled” in the coming weeks, Mr bin Ghalita said.

Rera Dubai to monitor housing progress

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 25, 2009


  • Property buyers will discover whether the construction of their homes has been

cancelled, delayed or is on schedule in one of several initiatives
designed to protect investors concerned about the housing market
downturn.

The Independent Progress Monitoring Report, an online
scheme announced yesterday by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera),
will see government engineers touring Dubai’s housing construction
sites to check that progress is being made and assess the stage that
work has reached.

An online progress summary will be published,
giving details on the work that has been completed and what remains to
be done. Rera said the reports will be available on its website from
next week.

The scheme comes amid issues of confidence in the
property sector with hundreds of investors concerned that the project
they invested in will be postponed or cancelled.

Rera said that
delays are expected on 20 per cent of the 31,000 homes scheduled to be
completed this year and 40 per cent of the 44,000 home due to hit the
market in 2010.

Fearing they will lose the money already
invested, buyers have approached Rera seeking assurances that projects
are going ahead as planned or to cancel their contracts because the
property is losing value.

The agency has received 1030 written
and emailed complaints since last January on issues related to project
delays, construction work not starting and sales and purchase contracts
not being made available.

rditcham@thenational.ae

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Dubai Union Properties made a fourth quarter loss in 2008 of 10 Million Dollar

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 25, 2009


http://www.arabianbusiness.com/547915-union-properties-posts-102m-in-q4-2008


Dubai-based Union Properties made a fourth quarter loss of AED37.6m ($10.32m) due to lower land sales, it was reported on Wednesday.

Higher margin land sales made up a smaller share of total revenue in 2008, while lower margin contracting work rose.

The company made a AED500m provision against potential loss on contracting activity amid a sharp slowdown in the emirate’s real estate sector.
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Al Fajer Properties Dubai – For all who ask 7starsDubai about a construction Update Jumeriah Business Centre 8 and 9, or Ebony and Ivory Tower by Al Fajer Properties – Dynasty Zarooni

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 25, 2009


Here we go. Construction Update Jumeirah Business Centre 9  , Plot H3 the so called Ebony Tower Jumeirah Lake Towers Dubai, construction status 15 February 2009, original published Skyscrapercity

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Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Deyaar Fraud investigation near to end

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 24, 2009


An almost year-long investigation into alleged criminal activity by the former chief executive of the developer Deyaar, Zack Shahin, and three co-accused is nearing its end, the Dubai Attorney General said yesterday.

In a statement released by the state news agency WAM, Issam al Humaidan said the charges against Mr Shahin and his co-accused include forgery, embezzlement and fraud. Authorities said they had also uncovered evidence supporting an additional charge of money laundering.

The announcement provided the most detailed look yet into the case that first came to light 10 months ago. Prosecutors allege the co-accused transferred millions of dirhams in misappropriated funds between banks in Lebanon, Switzerland and the US.

Mr Shahin’s lawyer in Dubai, Ali al Shamsi, declined to comment on what he called “a very sensitive case”.

“We are in touch with prosecutors, but it looks like investigations will take a long time before they conclude,” he said.

Mr Humaidan said a report by the Dubai Financial Control Department at the Rulers Court received in November uncovered cash transfers between banks in several countries. He said the prosecution was in touch with these banks to obtain the information necessary to transfer the investigation to court.

According to the statement by the Attorney General, the Dubai Financial Control Department report revealed Dh31.5 million (US$8.6m) was alleged to have been embezzled by Mr Shahin alone.

He and his co-accused are suspected of embezzling a total of Dh98m.

Mr al Humaidan said Mr Shahin’s lawyer had been kept informed of developments in the case and visited his client regularly.

Representatives from the US Consulate have also visited Mr Shahin, who is under precautionary detention.

He noted the prosecution had the right to detain a suspect for 21 days before they must appear in court. The judge may extend the suspect’s detention for a maximum of 30 days based on the prosecution’s request before the detention order has to be renewed.

The statement from the Attorney General only names Mr Shahin, who has spent almost a year in custody.

James Jatras, a lawyer in the US who has been hired by Mr Shahin’s family, has placed an advertisement about the case in American newspapers. He is due to give a press conference in Washington tomorrow.

“We would be very pleased to see what evidence they are talking about,” he said last night.

Mr Shahin’s arrest was first reported in April, when police said he was being held on suspicion of embezzlement and betrayal of trust. Soon after it was announced that Ganesan Krishna Kumar, who runs a Dubai-based advertising agency, had been detained in connection with allegations of embezzlement at Deyaar.

As the investigation widened towards the end of the month, it came to light a Lebanese sales executive at Deyaar, Charbel Boutros, had been arrested, followed by the confirmed detention of a fourth man in the Deyaar investigation, Jose Mebar.

Deyaar, a Dubai development company, has rebranded itself since the arrests with a new logo and advertising campaign, and appointed a new chief executive.

hbathish@thenational.ae

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Deyaar Fraud investigation near to end

Former UAE Minister of State Al Falasi gets two years in jail for fraud

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 23, 2009


original published xpress Dubai

and Gulf News

Former UAE minister of state Khalifa Mohammad Bakhit Al Falasi was on Wednesday sentenced to two years in jail by the Dubai Misdemeanours Courts after being found guilty of fraud and embezzlement.

The charges related to swindling a Lebanese woman of her family’s Dubai-based business, an undisclosed amount of money, believed to be millions of dirhams, and a large property.

Two other defendants – American businessman Salim Helmy Abdullah and Indian businessman Bilal Madhom Raman – were also jailed for two years.

The former minister’s son, Mohammed Khalifa Al Falasi, was acquitted on all charges.

In an exception to its usual policy, an official statement from Dubai Courts named all the defendants.

Presiding Judge Hamad Abdul Latif also initiated an action for a civil suit which is to be filed on behalf of the victim against the three defendants.

The charges, brought by Lebanese businesswoman Maysoon Fahmy Jamal, led to the former minister’s dismissal by a presidential decree last July, just five months after his appointment.

continue reading Gulf News

read also

Dubai court acquits ex-minister of fraud charges

 

and

Prosecutors fight former minister’s fraud acquittal

 

 

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Iran arrest most wanted man after police board civilian Flight from Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 23, 2009


source The Telegraph UK   23. Feb. 2009

Abdol Malek Rigi, Iran’s most wanted man, was
shown by television cameras being hauled off a jet in handcuffs by four
men wearing balaclavas.

Officials were vague about the details of
the arrest, but state media said Rigi had been on board a flight from
Dubai to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, after visiting a US
military base in Afghanistan.

Bishkek airport confirmed that Kyrgyzstan Airways flight QH454 from
Dubai had arrived several hours late yesterday after being told to land
by Iran.

Iran’s intelligence minister, Heydar Moslehi, claimed
that Rigi, the leader of the Sunni terror group Jundullah, had been at
the US base 24 hours before his arrest.

At a dramatic press
conference he flourished a photograph which he said showed Rigi outside
the base with two other men, though he gave no details of where the base
was, or how or when the photograph was obtained.

The photograph
itself gave no clues as to the location. Photographs were also shown of
an Afghan passport and identity card said to have been given by the
Americans to Rigi.

Mr Moslehi also alleged that Rigi had met the
then Nato secretary-general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, in Afghanistan in
2008, and had visited European countries.

He said agents had tracked Rigi’s movements for five months, calling his arrest “a great defeat for the US and UK”.

Iran
has repeatedly claimed that Jundullah, which has carried out a series
of bombings in support of demands for better treatment for the border
region of Balochistan, is backed directly by Pakistan but also by
Britain, Israel and America.

It has also been alleged by western
media, including The Sunday Telegraph, that in 2007 CIA provided funding
and weapons to Jundullah.

The group’s most serious attack, in
October last year, killed two generals of the Revolutionary Guard along
with more than 40 of their men and tribal chiefs whom they were meeting
in a town in Balochistan near the border with Pakistan.

Previously,
it blew up a Shia mosque killing 25 people in May, following which 18
members of the group were executed. Rigi’s brother, Abdol Hamid Rigi,
was reprieved at the last moment after agreeing to give evidence against
his brother, who he said had received money from the United States.

According
to one report yesterday, Rigi was arrested “outside the country”,
according to another, in Pakistan. A third version said the plane landed
in Sistan-Balochistan itself.

Pakistan is said to have been co-operating with Iran recently in arresting Jundullah members.

“This
is another disgrace for countries who claim human rights,” the Iranian
foreign ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said.

American
involvement was denied by a US official. “This is of course a totally
bogus accusation,” the official said. A Foreign Office spokesman said it
did not comment on intelligence matters.

A spokesman for Nato
“flatly denied” that any meeting had taken place between Mr Scheffer and
Rigi, although Mr Scheffer did visit Afghanistan in 2008.

Asked
whether Rigi could have met an ISAF officer, the spokesman said: “It is
the first I have ever heard of any Nato officials meeting people like
that.”

The Iranian operation is another example of foreign
intelligence agents using Dubai’s open border policy to follow a
“target”, shortly after the assassination in the emirate of a senior
Hamas official.

Dubai has long had close ties to Iran, but has
been under considerable pressure to rein them in. There was a hint of
Iran’s annoyance at this change of policy in Mr Moslehi’s press
conference.

“He was arrested on a flight from Dubai to
Kyrgyzstan,” Mr Moslehi said. “It is such a scandal for Dubai in this
incident, which shows that the Zionist regime, by using the US and
Europe, is seeking to turn the region into a haven for terrorists.

“This scandal cannot be covered up.”

Posted in Dubai, Iran | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Iran arrest most wanted man after police board civilian Flight from Dubai

RERA Dubai – Dubai Property Investor Group Petition – Surprise

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 22, 2009


http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090222/BUSINESS/942576581/1051/rss

DUBAI
The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) and a group of private property investors will combine to create an investor’s advisory panel that will provide feedback to the Government as it tries to resolve disputes.

Marwan bin Ghalita, the chief executive of RERA, agreed to the plan during a meeting with the Dubai Property Investors Group, a coalition of more than 350 investors that was formed after sales began to slow last year. Group members say they are concerned about the safety of their investments and ability to get their money back if a developer cancels a project or refuses to start construction.

“We want to protect the real estate investors,” Mr Ghalita said. “We are studying project by project… Once we have enough information about a project, we will intervene as a regulator.”

Ludmila Yamalova, a lawyer with MAC Davidson & Associates and a member of the investors group, said she was encouraged by the meeting with Mr Ghalita.

“Until today’s meeting, we felt that the Government was in denial,” she said. “But he was very welcoming to investors. He said we all made mistakes, investors and developers. Now we need to solve the problems and move forward.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Dubai ruler embroiled in family feud?

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 21, 2009


original published

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=85675§ionid=351020205

Photos of Dubai’s ruler and his sons have been taken off billboards across the UAE, fueling speculation of a rift within the family.

Family photos of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his two sons Rashid and Hamdan have been replaced by pictures portraying the emir alone.

The changes across Dubai coincided with rumors that the ruler had been wounded during a row with his second son and heir to the throne, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.

Sources familiar with the issue had previously claimed that Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his son had been at each others’ throats for a long time.

According to the sources, the global economic crisis, which has gripped the Persian Gulf emirate, has caused serious disagreements within the Al Maktoum family.

Crown Prince Hamdan, nicknamed as Fazza, is demanding a more prominent role in Dubai’s governance, a position his father is reluctant to give, the sources added.

The economic recession which has spread from the United States to the rest of the world, has cast a shadow over the once-booming Persian Gulf emirate.

Real estate prices have plunged in the city-state of Dubai, which was once dubbed as the Middle East’s highest-profile commercial hub.

MT/AA

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John Laing Homes, an American builder bought by Emaar Properties in 2006 for $1.05bn (Dh3.85bn), has filed for bankruptcy

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 20, 2009


John Laing Homes, an American builder bought by Emaar Properties in 2006 for $1.05bn (Dh3.85bn), has filed for bankruptcy.

The firm filed for protection in the US on Thursday under Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws, which shield companies from creditors as they restructure or sell off assets to repay debts. John Laing owes roughly $977m to banks and other creditors and has assets worth $1.3bn, court papers show.

Emaar’s purchase of John Laing in June 2006 was the cornerstone of its effort to expand into the US housing market. But Emaar, the Middle East’s largest developer, made the foray as the US housing market peaked.

With mortgage lending grinding to a standstill and US home prices down 25 per cent between June 2006 and last November, according to the Case-Shiller US Home Price Index, the 161-year-old John Laing has retrenched, laying off employees and scaling back operations.

The problems come just as Emaar confronts challenges of its own in the Middle East, where property prices have declined significantly and financing for projects has grown harder to come by amid tightening international credit markets.

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Posted in Dubai, Emaar Dubai | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on John Laing Homes, an American builder bought by Emaar Properties in 2006 for $1.05bn (Dh3.85bn), has filed for bankruptcy

Iranian conned by Dubai ruling family

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 18, 2009


original published

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail.aspx?id=86038&sectionid=3510212

Dubai’s royal family, mired in controversy and scandal, has reportedly swindled a prominent Iranian investor out of millions of dollars.

Exposing the seamy underbelly of Dubai’s real-estate sector, The Wall Street Journal recently revealed how an elite Iranian expatriate, Shahram Abdullah-Zadeh, was kicked out of a USD 750-million real-estate company he had helped establish.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre | Comments Off on Iranian conned by Dubai ruling family

Default by a major Dubai-owned company would trigger a crisis of confidence that could cost the emirate its status as the preeminent center for business in the region

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 17, 2009


http://www.zawya.com/story.cfm/sidZW20090216000068/lok095203090216?weeklynewsletter&zawyaemailmarketing

Will oil-rich Abu Dhabi bail out neighbor Dubai, currently groaning under $70 billion of debt racked up by its government-owned companies? Don’t count on it. Abu Dhabi’s decision last week to pump $4.4 billion into its own banks while offering no support to lenders in Dubai or other emirates in the Gulf federation may simply be brinkmanship amongst the sheikhs. But the possibility Abu Dhabi will refuse to come to Dubai’s aid – once seen as almost unthinkable – can no longer be ruled out.

That raises the prospect of a deeper debt crisis in Dubai. And even a fragmentation of the 37 year-old federation if Abu Dhabi refuses to pump billions of dollars into the economies of poorer emirates like Dubai to prevent either a corporate default or severe downturn. The cost of insuring Dubai debt has rocketed to around 1000 basis points for five-year debt – higher even than Iceland.

Dubai’s economy is contracting sharply after a 40% slump in property prices, leaving the emirate struggling to refinance $15 billion of debts this year, according to credit rating agency Moody’s. Without Abu Dhabi’s help, it has little chance of doing so. Moody’s says it is likely to downgrade a raft of state-owned companies “if a trend of selective treatment within the federation becomes discernible.” And bankers say they won’t extend new lines of credit to Dubai without cast iron financial guarantees from Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi is driving a hard bargain. Its demands are thought to include the surrender of Dubai’s autonomy and the loss of control over crown jewels such as Emirates Airline and Nakheel, builder of the emirate’s Palm-shaped islands. That may be too much for Dubai’s ruling Maktoum family to stomach – partly because the rulers of the two sheikhdoms are cousins. But also, because Dubai contends it was a principle of the 1971 agreement to form the federation that Abu Dhabi would use its oil wealth to support the other emirates.

Abu Dhabi has its own economic worries, thanks to falling oil prices, which account for the majority of the emirate’s export earnings. Plus, its reserves have been depleted by the huge losses suffered on its foreign investments, such as the $7.5 billion Abu Dhabi pumped into Citibank in 2007 just before its shares collapsed.

But neither Abu Dhabi nor Dubai can afford to allow this standoff to drag on. Default by a major Dubai-owned company would trigger a crisis of confidence that could cost the emirate its status as the preeminent center for business in the region. Worse, it could pull on the very fabric that binds the emirates together, destabilizing the entire region.

-Andrew Critchlow is Middle East managing editor of Dow Jones Newswires. He can be contacted on +9714 364 4960 and at andrew.critchlow@dowjones.com.

TALK BACK: We invite readers to send us comments on this or other financial news topics. Please email us at TalkbackEurope@dowjones.com. Readers should include their full names, work or home addresses and telephone numbers for verification purposes. We reserve the right to edit and publish your comments along with your name; we reserve the right not to publish reader comments.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

16-02-09 0952GMT

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Default by a major Dubai-owned company would trigger a crisis of confidence that could cost the emirate its status as the preeminent center for business in the region

Ein Schweizer erlebte in Dubai einen Albtraum – 21 Tage im Dubai Gefängnis

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 17, 2009


source

Beat Meier*, seit vielen Jahren Unternehmer in der Schweiz und den Arabischen Emiraten, hatte eben in Dubai eingecheckt und freute sich über sein Upgrade in die erste Klasse und den Flug nach Zürich. Er schrieb seiner Frau ein SMS «Wir sehen uns morgen!», ging zur Passkontrolle und zeigte seinen Ausweis. Der Beamte schaute sich das Dokument an, griff zum Telefonhörer, und kurz darauf nahmen ihn drei Uniformierte ohne jede Erklärung fest. Meier konnte seiner Frau und einem befreundeten Anwalt in Dubai noch «Es gibt Probleme» simsen, dann wurde er in Handschellen abgeführt. Von der Polizeistation, wo seine Fragen ebenfalls unbeantwortet blieben, wurde er mitten in der Nacht im Kastenwagen ins Al-Rashidiya-Gefängnis gefahren. Man nahm ihm die persönlichen Gegenstände ab und sperrte ihn ins «Loch».

Dealer, Mörder, Unschuldige

Das Loch, wie Meier die Räume ohne Tageslicht nennt, hätte Platz für 75 Insassen, doch 390 Männer sind dort inhaftiert. Dealer, Vergewaltiger, Mörder – und Unschuldige. Wenige Männer liegen, sitzen oder kauern auf Matratzen, die meisten auf Karton, Zeitungen oder dem Boden. Die Männer dösen in den Zellen, auf dem Küchenboden, im Gang – Inder und Pakistaner der niederen Kasten auf dem Toilettenboden, der von Kot überschwemmt ist. Nur zwei WCs und eine Dusche funktionieren. Geputzt wird nie. Es stinkt erbärmlich und ist um die 35 Grad warm, auch nachts. Einmal im Tag gibt es Reis und Wasser. Die Häftlinge, die das Sagen haben, verteilen nach Gutdünken und geleisteten Gefallen.

Meier spricht mit kaum jemandem, versucht nicht aufzufallen, hat das Glück, nicht belästigt zu werden. Er muss aber mitansehen, wie Polizisten oder Häftlinge Mitinsassen schikanieren. Er wartet. Döst. Versucht, nicht zu denken: «Wie geht es weiter?» Er hält sich an Zahlenreihen fest. 9, 18, 27, 36, 45. Subtrahiert, addiert, multipliziert. Obwohl er sich nie besonders für Mathematik interessiert hat, schafft er es bis zu den Tangentialrechnungen. Und er erinnert sich an Schönes, lädt Episoden und Erinnerungen herunter wie Filme aus dem Internet. Schöne Momente mit seiner Frau, sportliche und unternehmerischen Erfolge. Die Tage und Nächte sind lang. Er weiss seit fünf Tagen nicht, warum er hier ist.

Am Anfang war ein Scheckbetrug

«Er war plötzlich verschwunden», sagt seine Frau. Anna Meier*. Sie sucht das Eidgenössische Departement für auswärtige Angelegenheiten (EDA) auf, erzählt, was sie weiss. Mit einem befreundeten Anwalt in Dubai recherchiert sie, was geschehen sein könnte. Über seine Kontakte finden sie heraus, dass ihr Mann im Al-Rashidiya-Gefängnis ist. Der Schweizer Konsul will sich nicht einmischen, erzählt Anna Meier. Sie lässt nicht locker, erinnert den Konsul an seine Pflichten und erreicht, dass dieser kooperiert. Niemandem ausser dem Konsul ist es erlaubt, ihren Mann zu besuchen. Das EDA bestätigt, «diese Person im Rahmen des konsularischen Schutzes begleitet zu haben», will aber auf keine Details eingehen.

Der gut vernetzte Anwalt aus Dubai kümmert sich rund um die Uhr um den Fall seines Freundes, recherchiert, lobbyiert, und langsam fügen sich die Mosaiksteinchen zu einem Bild: Ein Iraner stahl aus Beat Meiers Büro einen Check, trug einen Betrag in Millionenhöhe ein und fälschte Meiers Unterschrift. Wie es zum Diebstahl kommen konnte, ist bis heute nicht restlos geklärt. Da Meier keinen derart hohen Betrag auf dem Bankkonto hatte, konnte das Geld auch nicht eingezogen werden. Checks sind ein wichtiges Zahlungsmittel in den Arabischen Emiraten. Ein ungedeckter oder missbrauchter Check gilt als strafrechtlich relevant und wird als schweres Delikt von der Polizei geahndet. Um von seiner Dokumentenfälschung abzulenken, bestach der Iraner zwei Polizisten, Meier mit einem falschen Eintrag im Polizeisystem zu diskreditieren. So kategorisierte die Datenbank Meier als bereits überführt und schuldig.

Tagezählen mit selbstgebastelter Papieruhr

Obwohl der Anwalt schliesslich nachweisen kann, dass Meier unschuldig inhaftiert wurde, und die Behörden dies bestätigen, soll er bis zum ordentlichen Prozess – Minimum 6 Monate ab Inhaftierung – im Gefängnis bleiben. Nach zähen Verhandlungen erreicht der Anwalt, dass Meier auf Kaution (ein Fünftel der fiktiven Deliktsumme) freigelassen werden kann. Zusätzlich muss ein Dubaier mit guter Bonität mit Hinterlegung seines Passes für Meier bürgen. Freunde und Familie überweisen die Kaution ans Gericht, und ein Freund hinterlegt seinen Pass. Sechs Tage nach seiner Inhaftierung können Konsul und Anwalt Meier erstmals besuchen. Jetzt weiss Meier, dass er innerhalb eines Monats freikommen müsste. Mit einer selbst gebastelten Papieruhr zählt er die Tage rückwärts. Jetzt erst beginnt er, mit anderen Insassen zu sprechen. Dabei lernt er einen Engländer und einen Amerikaner kennen, die ebenfalls unverschuldet und seit mehr als acht Monaten im Loch sind. Einmal am Tag isst er etwas Reis. Er will höchstens einmal pro Woche durch den Kot zur Toilette waten müssen.

Drei Wochen später, 10 Kilo leichter

Am Tag, als Barack Obama zum Präsidenten der USA gewählt wird, kann Meier das Al-Rashidiya-Gefängnis verlassen – nach drei Wochen. Das Tageslicht blendet ihn. Er wird vom Anwalt abgeholt und zu einem Luxushotel gefahren. Als er die Lobby betritt – mit Vollbart, dreckigen Kleidern und 10 Kilo leichter –, wird ihm von den Düften und dem Geplätscher schwindlig. Im Zimmer weiss er nicht, was er machen soll. Er steht zwei Stunden unter die Dusche. Am Abend kommt seine Frau aus Zürich in Dubai an. Heute bezeichnen beide den Moment des Wiedersehens rückblickend als unbeschreiblich – und schauen sich dabei lange wortlos an. Sie sagt: «Das Ganze hat unser Leben in ein Vorher und Nachher geteilt.» Er nickt.

Zurück in Zürich wird Meier krank. Er hat ein Virus aufgeschnappt und muss eine Kur machen. Einen Monat lässt er sich Zeit, dann nimmt er die Arbeit wieder auf. Zurück im Geschäft, drohen ihm zwei langjährige Kunden rechtliche Schritte an, weil sie ihn nach der langen Abwesenheit für kriminell halten: «Für die Schweizer hat jemand, der im Gefängnis war, Unrechtes getan.» Weil die topmoderne, luxuriöse, leuchtende Fassade der Arabischen Emirate über deren archaisches Rechtssystem hinwegtäusche, hat Meier dem «Tages-Anzeiger» seine Geschichte erzählt. «Ich möchte», sagt er «auf die Zustände hinweisen und einen Beitrag zur Sensibilisierung leisten.» Meier ist seit vielen Jahren Kenner der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate, spricht die Sprache, kennt die Sitten und war sich immer bewusst über das Restrisiko, dort zu geschäften und zu leben. «Was mir passiert ist, kann jedem zu jedem Zeitpunkt passieren.»

«Zu viel gesehen in Dubai»

Mittlerweile ist er wieder nach Dubai gereist – «mit viel Respekt und Personenschutz» – und hat als Zeuge gegen den Iraner ausgesagt, der ihn ins Gefängnis brachte. Seit dem Prozess träumt er nicht mehr vom Gefängnis und kann wieder Tram fahren, ohne im Stossverkehr Platzangst zu bekommen. Bei Agentenfilmen erschrickt er jeweils, wie realistisch die fiktiven Bilder und Szenen sind. Meier führt seine Geschäfte in Dubai weiter, nimmt aber keine neuen Mandate mehr an. Mittelfristig will er seine Zelte in den Arabischen Emiraten abbrechen und sich wieder nach Westeuropa ausrichten. «Ich habe zu viel gesehen.»

*Namen der Redaktion bekannt

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Ein Schweizer erlebte in Dubai einen Albtraum – 21 Tage im Dubai Gefängnis

Tell me your sorrows – Yours Dr. Fye Nantial Krycis

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 15, 2009


Opening Hours: Around the Clock

fye-natial-krycisPlease feel free to contact me ….yours Dr. Fye Nantial Krycis

http://www.kippreport.com/kipp/the-secret-life-of-dr-fye-nantial-krycis/?bnr=1

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Tell me your sorrows – Yours Dr. Fye Nantial Krycis

Dynasty Zarooni Fraud Dubai – Some statements from Investors

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 13, 2009


 http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1221052

Kabir Mulchandani, who was arrested in Dubai in connection with an alleged realty scam, is also alleged to have floated another scheme of three 40-floor buildings( Jumeirah Business Centre 7, 8,9 )  in Jumeirah opposite the Dubai Marina — the most posh locality of the Emirates.

Full page advertisements were run in papers, making him the largest advertiser of the Emirates during the period, said Mohammed Marzooq from Kerala. “He showed us the picture of a building with a podium, three-storeyed car parking and a complete floor for a departmental store. It was half complete and the rest of the 35 floors were to be built in the next one year”, Marzooq said.

Atul Patel, a UK-born Indian , a multinational from US, told DNA over the phone that he had “booked a 10,000 sq ft flat in the 35-floor building called Ebony Ivory at Jumeirah for 3.5 million dirhams.”

“I paid the entire amount because I was dealing with the company for some other work. During a vacation in Europe recently, I happened to meet someone who was unhappy with the project. On my return, I went to the site and found that I too had been duped royally,” Atul said.

When cornered by 12 investors, Marzooq said Mulchandani flew them to Nice (in France) in his jet and treated them to a cruise vacation. He showed them properties in Nice. Claiming them to be his own, he asked them to invest there for speedy returns.

“He convinced all of us to sign a cheque, promising that it wouldn’t be encashed till their return to Dubai. Upon arriving at Dubai we found that the cheque had already been encashed,” Marzooq said.

A complainant told DNA that Mulchandani threatened him with deportation due to his clout in the UAE.

Posted in Dubai, Kabir Mulchandani | Comments Off on Dynasty Zarooni Fraud Dubai – Some statements from Investors

CEO RERA Dubai: “Dubai is like a movie star, and just like a movie star everyone is looking at us, adding more pressure.”

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 13, 2009


KippReport

http://www.kippreport.com/kipp/2009/02/12/is-dubai-acting-smart/?bnr=1

confusion“Dubai is like a movie star, and just like a movie star everyone is looking at us, adding more pressure.”

That’s what Marwan Bin Ghalita, the CEO of Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) told Emirates Business, explaining that the city’s success is leading to incorrect media rumors about cancellations of property projects in the city.

A recent report by HSBC said that $75 billion worth of projects are being cancelled in the UAE, but a Morgan Stanley report put the number at $263 billion.

Rera’s CEO, however, says the authority is still “studying the market at present.” He rubbished a list that is doing the rounds, telling Al Bayan that “The list was not accurate and not true simply because it was not issued by Rera, Department of Lands or any official relevant body. Those behind the list are only seeking to raise fears and panic so as to make narrow gains.”

“We understand the feelings of worry resulted from the impact of the global financial crisis but we are against the unjustifiable panic, exaggeration and hitting under the belt by some for the sake of making illegitimate ends,” he added.

While the list is possibly inaccurate (Kipp did try to ascertain some projects earlier, but was unable to confirm the status of several projects), it has been more than three months since the effect of the economic slowdown began to be felt in Dubai’s real estate sector.  Hundreds of people have been laid off from their jobs in the property sector, with developers blaming it on postponement or cancellation of projects; and financial houses like HSBC and Morgan Stanley have already come out with their lists.

Rera will be releasing “accurate data next week that would show the true picture of Dubai’s real estate market.”

“We didn’t announce any cancellation of projects especially those sold to investors, and this is a stabilizing factor which can contribute to further boosting confidence in the vibrant real estate market in Dubai,” Ghalita told Al Bayan. “We want to send a clear message that we have confidence in the city,” he told Emirates Business.

Well, Kipp isn’t sure how confident investors are of the movie star’s talents.

 

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on CEO RERA Dubai: “Dubai is like a movie star, and just like a movie star everyone is looking at us, adding more pressure.”

Now it getting agressive in Dubai ? – Hunting complaining Investors – Dynasty Zarooni Fraud – Kabir Mulchandani hit back with a counterclaim

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 13, 2009


http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/64f5823c-f945-11dd-90c1-000077b07658.html?nclick_check=1

fraudThe executive at the centre of $100m fraud allegations rocking Dubai’s property sector has hit back with a counterclaim that his accusers have defaulted on more than $18m of debts owed to his company.

Kabir Mulchandani, chairman of Dynasty Zarooni, claimed that a series of cheques written by investors had bounced as the real estate industry’s fortunes plunged late last year.

The case – involving one of Dubai’s largest private real estate companies – highlights concerns that the emirate’s legal system is poorly equipped to cope with the slew of disputes arising as the sector turns sour.

Dynasty and Mr Mulchandani deny investor allegations of fraud and misrepresentation of the group’s property portfolio.

In an interview at Dubai’s Port Rashid police station, where he has been held since last month, Mr Mulchandani told the Financial Times he was pursuing cheques totalling Dh68m ($18.5m, €14.5m, £13m) that were written by Dynasty investors to pay for property. He claimed they bounced in late December as the international financial crisis hit the emirate’s business community.

dynasty-zarooniHe said: “Certain key investors who had issued post-dated cheques to us got caught in the financial trap. They could not pay.”

Mr Mulchandani said he suspected the investors whose cheques he alleges bounced – a criminal offence in Dubai – had made the accusations of fraud against him because they saw it as a way to recover money after the market fell.

Salem Al Shaali, who is representing investors claiming up to Dh280m from Dynasty, admitted some of their cheques had not cleared. But he said this was because his clients had decided not to honour the cheques because of their suspicions about Mr Mulchandani.

His clients had deposited cheques covering the money they owed, he added, showing that they had the ability to pay if their allegations against the company were satisfactorily addressed.

Hundreds of complaints have been made against Mr Mulchandani, but the initial claims at the heart of the case came from 10 individuals known as Dynasty’s “investment club”. Mr Shaali said: “Mr Mulchandani broke Dubai’s real estate laws by selling properties without a proper licence and misrepresenting construction progress at the buildings”.

Mr Mulchandani, an Indian national, said he was being well treated in custody but expressed frustration at the time taken to investigate a case in which he said he had “nothing to hide”. He is expecting a hearing this week over whether he can receive bail.

He said: “This is a wonderful country but … it is still gearing up to deal with these complaints, because this is the first time they have had a property meltdown.”

The Dynasty imbroglio is a further blow to confidence in Dubai as it scrambles to cope with the sudden end of a six-year property boom on which a good part of its modern-day wealth is founded.

More than 25 executives have been detained over the past year in anti-corruption investigations at state-linked property companies, while lawyers say more claims against private sector property developers are likely to emerge this year as prices collapse and funding dries up.

Posted in Dubai, Kabir Mulchandani | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Now it getting agressive in Dubai ? – Hunting complaining Investors – Dynasty Zarooni Fraud – Kabir Mulchandani hit back with a counterclaim

RERA Hits Back – Dubai RERA CEO said: “The investor should feel happy when he sees the authorities hit with an iron fist all those who put interests of the city and investors at risk.

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 13, 2009


http://www.7days.ae/storydetails.php?id=73857&title=RERA%20hits%20back

justice2Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) has denied receiving a letter signed by 300 real estate investors, developers and advocates expressing concerns over the fate of their investment in the emirate.

In their letter, they demanded RERA act before prices in the real estate market crash, according to a report published by Zawya Dow Jones news web site, which also blamed the RERA CEO of declining to comment on the issue.

Marwan bin Ghalita, CEO of Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), branded the news as absolutely untrue. “Personally, I did neither receive a letter of this kind nor any call from the said news web site or other,” he affirmed in a statement.

He added that RERA could not have made any regulatory achievements in the real estate market if it had not been keeping regular contacts with developers, brokers and investors alike.

It was reported that the petitioners demanded RERA to take measures to bring the situation under control especially following recent financial investigations into several property companies, a move which raised questions about RERA standards.

Commenting on this, the RERA CEO said: “The investor should feel happy when he sees the authorities hit with an iron fist all those who put interests of the city and investors at risk. It’s illogical that such a measure could feed concerns… on the contrary it should send a message of confidence and assurance across the board.”

marwanbinghalita-reraHe explained that RERA had, since its creation about one year ago, been taking tremendous efforts to regulate the real estate sector by issuing flexible regulations at bar with the highest possible level of transparency.

Answering a question about a list being circulated on the internet about tens of cancelled or delayed developments, the RERA CEO affirmed: “The list was not accurate and not true simply because it was not issued by RERA, Department of Lands or any official relevant body. Those behind the list are only seeking to raise fears and panic so as to make narrow gains.”

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on RERA Hits Back – Dubai RERA CEO said: “The investor should feel happy when he sees the authorities hit with an iron fist all those who put interests of the city and investors at risk.

Laid-Off Foreigners Flee as Dubai Spirals Down – Mass of abandoned cars in Dubai. One report said 3,000 cars were sitting abandoned at the Dubai Airport.

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 12, 2009


 One report said 3,000 cars were sitting abandoned at the Dubai Airport.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/world/middleeast/12dubai.html?_r=2

NewYork Times February 2009

 takeoffdubaiSofia, a 34-year-old Frenchwoman, moved here a year ago to take a job in advertising, so confident about Dubai’s fast-growing economy that she bought an apartment for almost $300,000 with a 15-year mortgage.

Now, like many of the foreign workers who make up 90 percent of the population here, she has been laid off and faces the prospect of being forced to leave this Persian Gulf city — or worse.

“I’m really scared of what could happen, because I bought property here,” said Sofia, who asked that her last name be withheld because she is still hunting for a new job. “If I can’t pay it off, I was told I could end up in debtors’ prison.”

With Dubai’s economy in free fall, newspapers have reported that more than 3,000 cars sit abandoned in the parking lot at the Dubai Airport, left by fleeing, debt-ridden foreigners (who could in fact be imprisoned if they failed to pay their bills). Some are said to have maxed-out credit cards inside and notes of apology taped to the windshield.

The government says the real number is much lower. But the stories contain at least a grain of truth: jobless people here lose their work visas and then must leave the country within a month. That in turn reduces spending, creates housing vacancies and lowers real estate prices, in a downward spiral that has left parts of Dubai — once hailed as the economic superpower of the Middle East — looking like a ghost town.

No one knows how bad things have become, though it is clear that tens of thousands have left, real estate prices have crashed and scores of Dubai’s major construction projects have been suspended or canceled. But with the government unwilling to provide data, rumors are bound to flourish, damaging confidence and further undermining the economy.

Instead of moving toward greater transparency, the emirates seem to be moving in the other direction. A new draft media law would make it a crime to damage the country’s reputation or economy, punishable by fines of up to 1 million dirhams (about $272,000). Some say it is already having a chilling effect on reporting about the crisis.

Last month, local newspapers reported that Dubai was canceling 1,500 work visas every day, citing unnamed government officials. Asked about the number, Humaid bin Dimas, a spokesman for Dubai’s Labor Ministry, said he would not confirm or deny it and refused to comment further. Some say the true figure is much higher.

“At the moment there is a readiness to believe the worst,” said Simon Williams, HSBC bank’s chief economist in Dubai. “And the limits on data make it difficult to counter the rumors.”

Some things are clear: real estate prices, which rose dramatically during Dubai’s six-year boom, have dropped 30 percent or more over the past two or three months in some parts of the city. Last week, Moody’s Investor’s Service announced that it might downgrade its ratings on six of Dubai’s most prominent state-owned companies, citing a deterioration in the economic outlook. So many used luxury cars are for sale , they are sometimes sold for 40 percent less than the asking price two months ago, car dealers say. Dubai’s roads, usually thick with traffic at this time of year, are now mostly clear.

Some analysts say the crisis is likely to have long-lasting effects on the seven-member emirates federation, where Dubai has long played rebellious younger brother to oil-rich and more conservative Abu Dhabi. Dubai officials, swallowing their pride, have made clear that they would be open to a bailout, but so far Abu Dhabi has offered assistance only to its own banks.

Why is Abu Dhabi allowing its neighbor to have its international reputation trashed, when it could bail out Dubai’s banks and restore confidence?” said Christopher M. Davidson, who predicted the current crisis in “Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success,” a book published last year. “Perhaps the plan is to centralize the U.A.E.” under Abu Dhabi’s control, he mused, in a move that would sharply curtail Dubai’s independence and perhaps change its signature freewheeling style.

For many foreigners, Dubai had seemed at first to be a refuge, relatively insulated from the panic that began hitting the rest of the world last autumn. The Persian Gulf is cushioned by vast oil and gas wealth, and some who lost jobs in New York and London began applying here.

But Dubai, unlike Abu Dhabi or nearby Qatar and Saudi Arabia, does not have its own oil, and had built its reputation on real estate, finance and tourism. Now, many expatriates here talk about Dubai as though it were a con game all along. Lurid rumors spread quickly: the Palm Jumeira, an artificial island that is one of this city’s trademark developments, is said to be sinking, and when you turn the faucets in the hotels built atop it, only cockroaches come out.

“Is it going to get better? They tell you that, but I don’t know what to believe anymore,” said Sofia, who still hopes to find a job before her time runs out. “People are really panicking quickly.”

Hamza Thiab, a 27-year-old Iraqi who moved here from Baghdad in 2005, lost his job with an engineering firm six weeks ago. He has until the end of February to find a job, or he must leave. “I’ve been looking for a new job for three months, and I’ve only had two interviews,” he said. “Before, you used to open up the papers here and see dozens of jobs. The minimum for a civil engineer with four years’ experience used to be 15,000 dirhams a month. Now, the maximum you’ll get is 8,000,” or about $2,000.

Mr. Thiab was sitting in a Costa Coffee Shop in the Ibn Battuta mall, where most of the customers seemed to be single men sitting alone, dolefully drinking coffee at midday. If he fails to find a job, he will have to go to Jordan, where he has family members — Iraq is still too dangerous, he says — though the situation is no better there. Before that, he will have to borrow money from his father to pay off the more than $12,000 he still owes on a bank loan for his Honda Civic. Iraqi friends bought fancier cars and are now, with no job, struggling to sell them.

“Before, so many of us were living a good life here,” Mr. Thiab said. “Now we cannot pay our loans. We are all just sleeping, smoking, drinking coffee and having headaches because of the situation.”

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Laid-Off Foreigners Flee as Dubai Spirals Down – Mass of abandoned cars in Dubai. One report said 3,000 cars were sitting abandoned at the Dubai Airport.

RERA chief Marwan bin Ghalita denies petition from worried investors

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 12, 2009


the-petition-to-rera-dubaihttp://www.arabianbusiness.com/546550-rera-chief-denies-petition-from-worried-investors

Arabian Business 12. February 2009

what-aboutDubai’s real estate watchdog on Thursday denied reports it had received a letter signed by 300 real estate investors voicing their concern over the fate of their investment.

It was claimed that the Dubai Property Investors Group, made up of more than 300 local and international investors, lawyers and real estate developers, had delivered a petition to the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).

It reportedly urged the watchdog to clamp down on “fly-by-night developers” who were unable to deliver projects amid tightening liquidity and project financing, even though they’ve taken down payments from investors.

But Marwan bin Ghalita, CEO of RERA, branded the petition story, published earlier this week by newswire Zawya Dow Jones, as “absolutely untrue”.

“Personally, I did neither receive a letter of this kind nor any call from the said news website or other,” he said in comments published by news agency WAM.

He added: “Maintaining a well-regulated market that provides protection to all stakeholders is one of our top priorities.”

He claimed that RERA had, since its creation about one year ago, been taking tremendous efforts to regulate the real estate sector by issuing flexible regulations with the highest possible level of transparency.

“Loss of investor’s rights is a red line…it has not happened and it will never happen in Dubai real estate market…RERA has completed registration of developers and brokers at its records to preserve their rights,” he added.

“We understand the feelings of worry resulted from the impact of the global financial crisis but we are against the unjustifiable panic, exaggeration and hitting under the belt by some for the sake of making illegitimate ends.”

He appealed to investors not to hesitate in calling RERA to know the update of any project and stressed that RERA would never allow developers to breach real estate laws, especially the escrow account system.

___________________________________________________________

For our readers:

Links to the Group who started the  Pettion in January 2009

http://groups.google.com/group/dubai-property-investors/browse_thread/thread/8efbb7983955fc97?hl=en

The Letter of the Petition to Marwan bin Ghalita RERA Dubai

http://dubai-property-investors.googlegroups.com/web/The+Petition144.pdf?hl=en&gda=bIHji0UAAABCDKK3M95qOHhW6MrAvHpOfz2RH571rD459OcQ3HKxoj-z-44yj33cbUGq43XpXhMcn8WIbWh5zqeDKtDBmq67Gu1iLHeqhw4ZZRj3RjJ_-A

 

 

 

 

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Affected Dubai Property Investors started Petition to RERA Dubai in January 2009

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 12, 2009


to get more information please click on this link:

http://groups.google.com/group/dubai-property-investors/browse_thread/thread/8efbb7983955fc97?hl=en

 

the link to the letter, hand delivered Petition, to RERA Dubai Januar 2009, against Real Estate Practices that harm Dubai

http://dubai-property-investors.googlegroups.com/web/The+Petition144.pdf?hl=en&gda=EtP61kUAAABCDKK3M95qOHhW6MrAvHpOv6-qWixPv2gLwjFoEVch5D-z-44yj33cbUGq43XpXhMcn8WIbWh5zqeDKtDBmq67Gu1iLHeqhw4ZZRj3RjJ_-A

or

http://groups.google.com/group/dubai-property-investors/files?hl=en

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News from Dynasty Zarooni and Al Fajer Properties – I’m the victim’, says property tycoon

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 12, 2009


http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090211/BUSINESS/886702850/1051

  • Last Updated: February 11. 2009 10:28PM UAE / February 11. 2009 6:28PM GMT
  • fraud1Kabir Mulchandani, an Indian property tycoon detained by police in Dubai, says people who are accusing him of fraud are trying to get out of investments that turned sour because of the property downturn.

    The chairman of Dynasty Zarooni is being held because more than 25 investors, with claims worth Dh280 million (US$76.2m), have accused him of fraudulently selling them property and running an illegal investment scheme, a lawyer for the investors said. Mr Mulchandani, 36, denies the accusations and says he is being targeted by a group of investors who are unable to meet their obligations as the property market deteriorates.

    “I am the victim here,” he said. “After Lehman Brothers went bust the world changed… The system is being misused by certain individuals who are just wanting money and wanting to get out of commitments they have made that they are not able to fulfil because the market has turned.”

    Mr Mulchandani said his case was likely to be a predecessor to a rash of similar cases caused by the decline in the property market. Dubai property prices have fallen by about 25 per cent since hitting a peak last year.

    “It is going to turn into a bloodbath of attacks by investors who just want to get out of obligations,” he said. “Do you think I would be sitting here had the market been OK?”

    Dynasty Zarooni, a joint venture between Mr Mulchandani and Hilal al Zarooni, an Emirati businessman, is one of the highest profile property companies to come under scrutiny by the authorities since the property market began to fall late last year. The company was the top newspaper advertising buyer in the Emirates last year, spending $14.6m and topping the likes of Nakheel and Emaar Properties, according to figures from the Pan Arab Research Centre. Its advertising spending ranked 10th across the Middle East.

    The company, founded in 2005, is a property resale and marketing operation. It has bought entire buildings off-plan from developers with a bulk discount and re-sold floors and units to investors at a premium. Then, as a service to these core investors, it would market the buildings prominently around the country to facilitate their resale to retail buyers. Usually, Dynasty Zarooni would play a middleman role for the first payments and then contracts would be issued between the buyer and the developer, cutting the company out of the deal.

    It sold 29 buildings in this way last year, according to executives. The business was profitable, with Mr Mulchandani planning a foray into New York City property before his arrest.

    He lives in the Emirates Hills development in Dubai.

    A group of investors, however, allege Mr Mulchandani built his company by misleading investors, according to Salem al Shaali, a lawyer representing several investors.

    One of the allegations is that Dynasty Zarooni displayed one building and sold another.Investors said they were shown buildings that were several storeys high, and told that they were the Ebony and Ivory towers. They bought dozens of units, and in some cases several floors, of the buildings. The buildings were also misrepresented in advertising, the investors say.

    One advertisement in a daily newspaper on July 23 last year showed 24 photographs of “round the work” progress on the Ebony and Ivory projects. A caption for the photographs reads: “Shot at location on 10th June 2008. Ebony & Ivory – Jumeirah Lakes Towers.”

     In fact, the images showed other buildings in the Jumeirah Business Centre complex that were further advanced in construction.

    Work on the Ebony and Ivory towers plots still has advanced only to shoring and piling. A contractor has yet to be chosen for the Dh2 billion project.

    sandhole-g32The Picture shows the construction Status of today 2009, Ivory Tower ( or named Juemirah Business Centre 9, Developer Al Fajer Properties, Jumeirah Lake Towers Dubai)

    Al Fajer Properties, the developer of Ebony and Ivory towers, said a construction contract would soon be signed for the towers, which it said were to be finished between next year and 2012.    An Al Fajer spokesman declined to comment on the issue.

    Mr Mulchandani said the advertisements were meant to show the larger Jumeirah Business Centre complex and depict Al Fajer as a hard-working developer.

    “I don’t believe it is misrepresentative in any way,” he said.

    He said the company had sold the entire building in April and that the investors involved in claims against him had signed contracts that detailed which plot of land the buildings were to be built on.

    Claims have emerged involving other projects that were bought and resold by Dynasty Zarooni, including the Sheffield Classique and Al Qoraishi Tower, according to Mr al Shaali.

    Imran Karim, the son of an investor taking action against Mr Mulchandani, said his father, Abid Karim, was sold units in the Classique and Al Qoraishi Tower under the impression that Dynasty Zarooni was the developer.

    Mr Mulchandani said he never represented himself as a developer.

    Officials from Sheffield Real Estate and Baiti Properties Development, the developer behind the Al Qoraishi Tower, declined to comment.

    Another allegation against Mr Mulchandani is that he created an illegal “investment club” where 12 investors were invited to pay Dh300,000 a month for 12 months for a guaranteed return of up to Dh1m a month. After six months, they expected to redeem their investments, but Mr Mulchandani did not pay, investors said.

    One such investor, Mohammed Arif, who also invested with Dynasty Zarooni in several properties, said he had Dh25m with Mr Mulchandani and projects sold by Mr Mulchandani.

    “I invested a lot of money with him,” he said. “I fear the money is gone.”

    Mr Mulchandani said the Dh300,000 was actually a membership fee for 12 investors who bought from him in bulk. The fee would give the members the first right of refusal to buy up to 5 per cent of buildings that Dynasty Zarooni acquired, as well as use of the Dynasty Zarooni offices for resales. The fee also contributed to advertising, he added.

    Marwan bin Ghalita, the chief executive of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), declined to comment on the accusations against Dynasty Zarooni. In November, RERA stated that there were no complaints against Dynasty Zarooni, after allegations in two Indian publications that the company had sold projects while representing to investors that they were buying another project.

    Officials from the Dubai Public Prosecution declined to give details on the cases, but confirmed staff members were investigating the claims.

    Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre, Kabir Mulchandani | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on News from Dynasty Zarooni and Al Fajer Properties – I’m the victim’, says property tycoon

    An Example of : The differenence between PR and Reality – 5 Towers Jumeirah Business Centres will be delivered in September 2009 ?????

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 12, 2009


    Jumeirah Business Centre 1 , Developer Al Fajer Properties  was launched Dezember 2005. Sold within a few weeks after the launch, said by the company. The completion of this Office Tower was announced first for end 2007 , after this end 2008 and now end….. of year ……… ???

    The History between PR and Reality show this pictures:

    Happy going ? …. 2006   sand-castle-photo-july-20062

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Construction Status of Jumeirah Business Centre 1,launched in December 2005,  Plot G2, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Al Fajer Properties 

    jbc-1-2007-01

     

     

    Jumeirah Business Centre  1 by Al Fajer Properties Construction Status in May 2007

     

     

     

    jbc1-feb-2009-panorama1Panorama of February 2009 shows that the Towers around Jumeirah Business  Centre 1( those Towers around also launched in 2005) are still ready.

    The completion of the Jumeirah Business Centre 1, the first ever launched Tower of Al Fajer Properties is…………. ??????????

    Latest interview , February 2009,with the project Manager , construction company, for Al Fajer Properties:

    o3. Feb. 2009 7days.ae  

     http://www.7days.ae/storydetails.php?id=73328%20%20%20%20&page=local%20news&title=Riding%20out

    ………“[The atmosphere in construction] is a bit depressed, but I think Dubai and the UAE in general is much better off in general than the rest of the world,” said Andre van Schalkwyk of Al Ahmadiah Contracting and Trading (AAC), who is site manager of Al Fajer Properties’ Jumeirah Business Centre.

    He added however, that his workers are more confident of their position, as he believes AAC will outlive the downturn.

    “The workers are not anxious, AAC has a very stable working environment and we tend not to over extend ourselves, which makes it much easier to get through downturns, particularly of this magnitude. I think we’re a lot better off than a lot of other companies,” he said.
    Van Schalkwyk has been working in construction in Dubai for six years and has always found it challenging.
    “[Challenges] are very simple – usually time and Dubai has a knack for changing things very suddenly!”
    “It’s the changing environment that is your biggest challenge in the whole construction industry,” he said.

    His current development with Al Fajer Properties is the largest he has been involved with since coming to Dubai, although he has been part of big projects such as Ibn Battuta Mall.
    Jumeirah Business Centre is a group of five high-rise office buildings in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers development, which are scheduled to be delivered this September.

    “The biggest challenge [with this project] is having to do five towers running exactly on the same timeframe, while not being located on the same plot. They’re in the same area but not on the same plot, that is a serious challenge, because projects are usually phased,” van Schalkwyk said.
    Back when the centre got started, he also had to deal with the cement shortage, which he said affected them “quite seriously”.However, he is “fairly confident” of reaching the September deadline for the new development.
    “After His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum came on board, it changed the whole management structure of the Al Fajer Group and we’re now managing to accelerate the project quite dramatically. We’re actually doing very well – we’re running slabs at around six, sometimes five, working days cycles,” he said.
    When Sheikh Maktoum became president of Al Fajer Properties (AFP) in March last year, workers were working days and knocking off at night, but now construction takes place round the clock with the workers doing shiftwork in order to meet the delivery date.

    In fact, a lot of changes have taken place at AFP so that it can streamline its business and meet its obligations.
    Joseph Paul, finance manager at AFP, told 7DAYS that a “planning and financial restructuring” had taken place last March, which resulted in the entire land bank of the company being disposed of by the middle of last year.
    “[This] has turned out to be an excellent decision, keeping in view the current drastic devaluation of land,” he said.
    “Because of apt and timely decisions, AFP is still in a robust position to operate with zero debt, even in this worst scenario of world economic recession.”

    Van Schalkwyk also sees the upside of downturn, particularly for real estate and construction.
    “I think there will be a lot more stability and sense in the market. My personal belief is that the downturn at the moment is a bit of a blessing in disguise – it will stabilise the market and I believe we will get a much more healthy growth afterwards,” he said.

    And despite the myriad announcements of job cuts in the sector, he feels construction won’t stay down for long.
    “I think in the next two to three years, the workforce will shrink overall – but then it will grow again,” he said.

    Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on An Example of : The differenence between PR and Reality – 5 Towers Jumeirah Business Centres will be delivered in September 2009 ?????

    Egyptian businessman accused of fraud will not be extradited to Interpol

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 12, 2009


    UAE refuses extradition for Dh28.5m fraud suspect

    fraud1DUBAI // An Egyptian businessman being held by police will not be deported to face theft inquiries in his home country until fraud allegations involving more than Dh28.5m against him in the UAE have been fully investigated, the attorney general said yesterday.

    Essam Eissa al Humaidan issued a statement confirming that Nabeel Ali al Boushi was wanted for alleged offences “that constitute criminal offences in the country” and was “concurrently wanted by the Egyptian authorities on charges relating to circulating and investing funds in securities trading activities against the Egyptian law”.

    Mr Boushi was arrested at Dubai airport on Feb 2 after two investors in the UAE accused him of writing bad cheques for a total of Dh28.5 million (US$7.7m). One was an Emirati woman, the other an Egyptian based in Dubai. Mr Boushi is alleged to have promised them lucrative returns on market investments.

    A third alleged victim of the owner of Optima Global Holdings has emerged, accusing Mr Boushi of writing a bad cheque for Dh500,000, according to police. Although Egypt has requested Mr Boushi’s extradition, Mr Humaidan said, “the accused will be handed over to the Egyptian authorities only after UAE case files are closed either after payment, the case is waived, or the accused stands trial”.

    If Mr Boushi went to trial and was found guilty, “the sentence must be carried out and the jail time done” before the extradition request would be considered.

    The Dubai Court of Appeal would decide whether the extradition should go ahead. That decision would be open to appeal.

    In Egypt, Mr Boushi is accused of stealing US$37m (Dh136m) from people, including media and sport figures, after allegedly assuring them of a 40 per cent return on investments in securities, bonds and stocks in regional and international markets.

    The National

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Egyptian businessman accused of fraud will not be extradited to Interpol

    UPDATE: Four more held in corruption probe

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 12, 2009


    http://www.7days.ae/storydetails.php?id=73813&title=Four%20more%20held

    Four executives have been taken into custody in Dubai in two separate cases of alleged corruption.

    Dubai police told 7DAYS yesterday that the CEO of brokerage and developer Hamp-stead and Mayfair was in custody on suspicion of fraud. Meanwhile, three executives involved in Dubai Waterfront are being held in a second case.

    Hampstead and Mayfair was a reseller of properties and was also developing Hampstead Residences and Boutique Residences in Jumeirah Village.

    The company is currently not operating as the CEO was the sole shareholder and the firm no longer has enough funds to continue, according to a former employee. The employee also told 7DAYS that the firm only started building the two Jumeirah Village projects when the initial developer absconded without refunding them for buying the properties. 

    The firm had already resold some units, so the CEO decided to set up a development arm to build the projects. The CEO raised dhs30 million from investors by promising them 30 per cent returns in six months, and raised dhs40 million from sales of units, the employee said. “There’s probably dhs70 to 80 million that’s been taken and only dhs4.5 million left in the escrow accounts,” he said. He added that efforts were being made to discover what happened to the funds and help to return investors’ money.

     “We all feel a bit of responsibility to these guys,” he said. In the second case, Dubai public prosecution records show that three Waterfront executives are being held “as part of an investigation into bribery allegations”, the UK’s Financial Times reported.

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on UPDATE: Four more held in corruption probe

    Three detained in Dubai corruption probe

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 11, 2009


    http://www.arabianbusiness.com/546445-three-detained-in-dubai-corruption-probe

    moneylaundrydirahmDubai authorities investigating alleged fraud among local property companies and banks have detained three senior managers at Nakheel’s Waterfront development.Two of those held are confirmed to be Australian nationals, who were detained after questioning on Jan.25 in relation to allegations of bribery, the Australian Foreign Ministry told UK daily the Financial Times.

     

    One of the Australian detainees is former Waterfront managing director Matt Joyce, who was made redundant from Waterfront last month, it was reported on Wednesday

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Dubai | Tagged: | Comments Off on Three detained in Dubai corruption probe

    Dubai Property Market Collapse

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 11, 2009


    Dubai Property Market Collapse. Lindsey Williams was Right !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Dubai Property Market Collapse

    Dubai Fraud alligations – The Case Dynasty Zarooni: Complaint at Dubai Police now also against Al Fajer Properties

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 10, 2009


    original published Financial Times

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2af58370-e013-11dd-9ee9-000077b07658.html?nclick_check=1

     

    fraud1Dubai Police are investigating fraud allegations against the chairman of one of Dubai’s largest private real estate companies as dozens of aggrieved investors claim he defrauded them of more than $100m.

    Kabir Mulchandani, the chairman of Dynasty Zarooni, was arrested last week on allegations of fraud and is helping with inquiries, police officers told the Financial Times.

    At least 10 members of Dynasty Zarooni’s ”investment club”, which last year promised vast profits from the company’s preferential access to real estate deals, have lodged complaints against Mr Mulchandani, an Indian national, his Emirati business partner, Hilal Al Zarooni, their joint venture Dynasty Zarooni, and two other employees.

    Investors say that Mr Mulchandani in March received subscription fees of Dh300,000 a month from 12 members. He promised them returns of Dh1m a month after six months, or Dh6m, in September, they say.

    One British loser says he was encouraged by initial profits made by another club member, who had reinvested the proceeds into the scheme rather than taking the cash.

    The fraud allegations weigh further on Dubai’s financial hangover as its six-year property boom fizzles out, with investor confidence hitting rock bottom as people are marooned in an illiquid, declining market while developers are hamstrung by financing difficulties.

    More than 25 executives have been detained in an anti-corruption investigation at state-linked property companies. None have gone to trial yet, but the arrests have had an impact on investor confidence in Dubai.

    News of the complaints against the chairman could raise concerns among other investors in Dynasty Zarooni’s claimed Dh21bn real estate portfolio.

    Mr Zarooni denied any participation in, or knowledge of, a fraudulent scheme. ”One hundred per cent I deny this, there is nothing illegal whatsoever,” he said.

    Mr Mulchandani, who has been detained but is seeking bail, could not be reached for comment. He denied any wrongdoing in a local press interview last week.

    Lawyers say more than 100 other investors are preparing cases against Dynasty Zarooni over misrepresentation during the sale of its real estate projects.

    ebony-ivory-al-fajer-properties-plot-h3-g3-jlt-dubaiOne aggrieved investor, who in May placed a 20 per cent deposit on an apartment in Ebony Tower 1, opposite the Dubai Marina, for Dh650,000, yesterday lodged a complaint with the police against Dynasty Zarooni and their development partners, Al Fajer Properties, for allegedly misleading him about the progress made on the building’s construction, thereby raising the supposed value of the property. ”I have been cheated and am very distressed,” he said.

    The cases, if they go to trial, could seek the recovery of hundreds of millions of UAE dirhams, said Salem Shaali, managing partner at Al Shaali & Co, which is representing the victims of the alleged fraud.

    This could develop into one of the UAE’s largest fraud cases if other individual investors in Dynasty Zarooni come forward, he said.

    Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre, Kabir Mulchandani | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

    UAE – Dubai – More than half of the country’s 1,289 projects, worth $582bn, hangs in the balance

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 8, 2009


    http://www.arabianbusiness.com/545796-rebuilding-the-dream

    Once a mainstay of the national economy, the UAE’s beleaguered construction industry faces an uncertain future. The market, staggering under a catastrophic real estate crash, is facing a make-or-break year with a new report showing that the fate of more than half of the country’s 1,289 projects, worth $582bn, hangs in the balance.

    The findings by Dubai-based market research firm Proleads reveal that of a $1.3 trillion-strong industry, only $698bn is still in operation on active projects – the rest is in limbo, dependent on the imminent recovery of the Emirates’ troubled property market.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on UAE – Dubai – More than half of the country’s 1,289 projects, worth $582bn, hangs in the balance

    Indian workers to be flown out of UAE

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 8, 2009


    http://www.arabianbusiness.com/545943-20000-indian-workers-to-be-flown-out-of-uae

    Tens of thousands of Indian construction workers are being flown out of the country by their employers on bulk-booked flights in March, it was reported on Sunday.

    According to figures gleaned by the Indian Consulate in Dubai from Indian airlines, a total of 20,000 workers from several construction firms are leaving next month.

    They are either being sent back home on long leave, or are being redeployed to work on projects in other Gulf countries, such as Qatar, according to a report in UAE daily Emirates Business.

    The move comes a week after it was revealed that 53 percent of the UAE’s planned $1.28 trillion construction projects were now on hold, as the real estate sector struggled with the global economic downturn, according to Dubai-based market research firm Proleads.

    Venu Rajamony, Indian Consul General in Dubai, said the bulk bookings indicated that the financial crisis was now impacting on the one million Indian workers currently employed in the UAE.

    But, he denied that there was any evidence of mass termination, pointing out that the recently reported 25,000 to 30,000 work visa cancellations in Dubai was a normal figure.

    Instead companies were taking precautions by relocating, or giving leave, to surplus staff, he told the newspaper.

    “Air-India and other Indian carriers are getting ready to accommodate these 20,000 bulk bookings in March,” Rajamony said.

    “According to figures released by Dubai Emigration authorities to the Indian Consulate, there were between 25,000 and 30,000 visa cancellations in the past two months, which is a normal figure. There were also 13,000 new visas issued by the emigration authorities,” he added.

    There was also no evidence that construction companies were flouting labour laws, with the number of labour complaints remaining stagnant, he added.

    Companies were under strict orders of the UAE Ministry of Labour to follow the law to the letter, Rajamony revealed.

    “We have not seen an increase in the number of complaints. There is an increase in the application for out passes, from 200 applicants a month in 2008, to 400 applications in January 2009.”

    Big contracting and construction companies had also confirmed to the consulate that they had enough contracts to continue to employ workers, he told the newspaper.

    “Some big companies from Dubai have projects in Abu Dhabi and Qatar and are repositioning their workers to these places. They are not cancelling the workers’ visas because it will be difficult to get new visas later,” Rajamony said.

     

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Indian workers to be flown out of UAE

    The Interpol on Tuesday requested the UAE Government to hand over Egyptian multibillionaire

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 8, 2009


    05 February 2009

    DUBAI – The Interpol on Tuesday requested the UAE Government to hand over Egyptian multibillionaire Nabeel Al Boushi to the Egyptian authorities as he was allegedly involved in serious economic crimes in Egypt involving $68,422 million and 200,000 euros, a Dubai Police source told Khaleej Times.  

    The source said the number of complaints against Boushi in Egypt had reached 48.

     Boushi is wanted by the Egyptian authorities for his involvement in a number of cases, stated the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, Major-General Khamis Matter Al Mazeina.

     He said, “We are going to refer the extradition request to the UAE’s judicial authorities and Dubai Public Prosecution, which will decide on whether he should be handed over to Egypt, that is, if he is not wanted in other cases in UAE.”

     Al Mazeina said that Dubai Public Prosecution granted bail to Boushi after he reached a settlement with an Egyptian businessman in the Dh5 million dud cheque case. However, another complaint by the same businessman, involving Dh21.9 million, is yet to be resolved.

     Boushi has paid Dh1,000,000 to the Emirati woman who lodged a complaint against him.

     Meanwhile, three more Egyptians based in the UAE filed complaints against Boushi at the Al Muraqqabat and Rashidiya police stations on Wednesday.

    By Amira Agarib – Khaleej Times 2009

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on The Interpol on Tuesday requested the UAE Government to hand over Egyptian multibillionaire

    Dubai Moves to Curb Possibility of Property Fraud

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 7, 2009


    http://www.zawya.com/story.cfm/sidZAWYA20090207045650

    07 February 2009
    DUBAI – Dubai’s land authorities said that laws are in place to protect the interests of investors, as slowing credit flow to the once-booming construction sector has prompted some developers to try wriggle out of contractual obligations. 
     

    The Dubai Land Department and law firms have recorded a sudden rise in cases of fraud in which some unscrupulous developers sold units in off-plan developments and fled the country without implementing the projects.

     The Deputy Director-General of the Dubai Land Department, Mohammed Sultan Thani, said previously developers were not required to register off-plan developments with the department. However, Law 13 introduced in August last year made their registration a legal necessity. The law states that all developments must have been registered by October 30, 2008, otherwise the developers would face legal action.

     “We don’t want to prosecute people straight away. In many cases, they don’t know that they have to register,” he said. “However, if they are not willing to register, we can prosecute.” Difficulty in securing bank financing has resulted in the slowing down of construction activities and developers now demand more money upfront from investors.

    Khaleej Times 2009

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Dubai Moves to Curb Possibility of Property Fraud

    Dubai: Murder hunt continues

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 4, 2009


    Wednesday 4 Feb, 2009

    Police are continuing to investigate the murder of a man in Dubai. Rohit Jagada, an Indian expat, was a popular businessman and his death has shocked people who knew him.
    Officers have conducted interviews with a number of people, including members of his family, as part of the investigation, and told 7DAYS that this was routine.
    An official at Dubai Police said: “In such crimes we question the relatives of the victim and their friends to see if they can help us with anything or any background.”
    He added: “We are still investigating the murder.”
    Jagada worked at Prince Audio Visuals in Al Quoz and was a member of the Haven Fire football team in the Dubai Amateur League. He was described by teammates as a “lovely man”. The team held a minute’s silence in his memory before their match on Monday.

    Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , | 14 Comments »

    Dubai Dynasty Zarooni Fraud Allegations Widen,Bail At AED400M

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 4, 2009


    http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm/sidZW20090124000023/%3D%20Dubai%20Dynasty%20Zarooni%20Fraud%20Allegations%20Widen,Bail%20At%20AED400M/
     
            By Stefania Bianchi

            Of ZAWYA DOW JONES

            DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)–Dubai’s public prosecution has raised the bail to 400 million U.A.E. dirhams ($108 million) for Dynasty Zarooni’s Chairman Kabir Mulchandani, who is being held by police on fraud allegations, as more aggrieved investors lodge complaints, officials said.

            Mulchandani, whose mobile phone was turned off when called by Zawya Dow Jones Thursday, has previously denied any wrongdoing.

            An official at the public prosecution told Zawya Dow Jones that Mulchandani is being held on allegations of “fraud and embezzlement” and that he would have to pay the full bail amount in order to be released.

            According to lawyers at Al Shaali & Co., one of a number of Dubai-based law firms acting on behalf of the investors pursuing Mulchandani, the cases against the Indian businessman and Dynasty Zarooni involves projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi worth more than AED5 billion.

            “We’re currently handling about AED500 million worth of cases,” Said Al Akkad from Al Shaali & Co. said Thursday.

            The law firm says the final value of cases against Dynasty Zarooni could rise much higher as other investors involved in Dynasty Zarooni’s apparent AED21 billion real estate portfolio come forward.

            “There are a lot more investors out there who want to file complaints against Dynasty Zarooni. The whole process takes a long time,” said Al Akkad.

            Mulchandani was arrested by police in early January and has since been referred to the public prosecution. Mulchandani’s bail was set at AED76 million when he was first arrested.

            Hilal Al Zarooni, Mulchandani’s local partner in Dubai, referred Zawya Dow Jones to his lawyers Global Advocates & Legal Consultants when called. Global, who are also representing Mulchandani and the company Dynasty Zarooni, declined to comment on the case.

            COMPLAINTS

            Investors at six of Dynasty Zarooni’s developments worth approximately AED6.35 billion have so far lodged complaints with the police, according to Al Shaali & Co.

            The complaints so far refer to property at the company’s Ebony & Ivory, Berlin Tower, K Hotel, Panoramic Heights, Sheffield Classique and Al Quorashi Tower developments. The cases include the taking of deposits and installment payments without depositing the money into an escrow account, the issuing of contracts worth just AED1 after the full value of the property has been paid and the misrepresentation of property during the sale.

            Some investors at the Ebony and Ivory project in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers district have also lodged a complaint with the police against Dynasty Zarooni for allegedly misleading them about the progress made on the building’s construction. Prominent advertising campaigns in Dubai showed pictures of the Ebony and Ivory real estate project under construction 24 hours a day, but a visit to the site by Zawya Dow Jones revealed that no work was underway.

            In an advertising campaign published in local media last year the company said that as a company it had earned AED20 billion in revenue, as well as AED6 billion for its investors.

            Lawyers say Mulchandani is also being investigated for allegations that he conned a small group of wealthy investors into pledging large sums of money with the promise of a hefty monthly return.

            Investors interviewed by Zawya Dow Jones say Mulchandani received subscription fees of AED300,000 a month from 12 members of the so-called “investment club”. Mulchandani promised a return of a million dirhams a month after six months after investing their money in Dubai real estate projects.

            The investors say Mulchandani has so far failed to deliver any returns, or their initial capital.

            By Stefania Bianchi, Dow Jones Newswires; +971 4 3644967; stefania.bianchi@dowjones.com

            (Majdoline Hatoum in Dubai contributed to this article.)

            Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Co.

            Click here to go to Dow Jones NewsPlus, a web front page of today’s most important business and market news, analysis and commentary: http://www.djnewsplus.com/access/al?rnd=CqhgwHGrhVjWVDlKy6lCLA%3D%3D. You can use this link on the day this article is published and the following day.

            (END) Dow Jones Newswires

            January 24, 2009 03:54 ET (08:54 GMT)

    Posted in Dubai, Kabir Mulchandani | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Dubai Dynasty Zarooni Fraud Allegations Widen,Bail At AED400M

    U.A.E. Shares Drop on Morgan Stanley Report

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 3, 2009


    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601104&sid=aESPgEuNKoWQ&refer=mideast

    Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) —

    United Arab Emirates shares declined, sending Dubai’s index to its lowest in 4 1/2 years, after Morgan Stanley said property prices “fell off a cliff” as banks cut lending and speculators withdrew from the market because of the global economic crisis.

    Emaar Properties PJSC, the country’s biggest real-estate company, dropped to its lowest in almost five years, Sorouh Real Estate PJSC slid for a fourth day and Aldar Properties PJSC closed at a record low. Property prices in Dubai have slumped 25 percent from the market’s peak in September, while Abu Dhabi prices have declined 20 percent, Morgan Stanley said in a report received yesterday. National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC fell after reporting a 34 percent drop in quarterly profit.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on U.A.E. Shares Drop on Morgan Stanley Report

    UAE – Dubai Property situation worsens – Around $263 billion worth of real estate projects have been delayed or cancelled

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 3, 2009


    http://www.7days.ae/storydetails.php?id=73353&title=Property%20situation%20worsens

    Tuesday 3 Feb, 2009

     Around $263 billion worth of real estate projects have been delayed or cancelled as the UAE’s property sector is dealt a “worse than expected” blow by the global financial crisis, Morgan Stanley said yesterday.

    HSBC research reported recently, had said that property suspensions and calculations had reached $75 billion just in Dubai, but a Morgan Stanley spokesperson said HSBC had not considered three further large projects in its assessment. The investment bank cited the figure from Middle East business information web site Zawya in a research note on the UAE property sector. Some of the project cancellations that have been officially announced are Sunland Group’s $654 million Atrium project and the $790 million Trump Tower project by Nakheel on Palm Jumeirah.

    As the sector is hit by job losses and project delays, prices are falling, Morgan Stanley said. Real estate prices in UAE capital Abu Dhabi are down by an average of 20 per cent since a peak last summer as the UAE’s property sector is hit particularly hard by the global economic situation, the bank said.
    Residential property prices in Dubai have also fallen, by 25 per cent since peaking last September, with high-end real estate units taking the biggest hit, the bank said.

    Since September, Dubai apartment prices have fallen 25 per cent and villa prices are off 26 per cent, “belying the argument of some developers about the price resilience of villas and low-rise building segments,” the bank added. “Anecdotal evidence suggests sharp falls in transaction volumes in the fourth quarter due to deteriorating economic conditions, the disappearance of speculative buying and the lack of financing,” Morgan Stanley said.
    Prices of high-end Dubai properties – including those at the Burj Dubai development that includes the world’s tallest tower, as well as the man-made Palm Jumeirah – are down 35 per cent since their peak.

    Because of this Emaar Properties is likely to be the “worst affected” among Dubai developers by the change in selling prices. “We believe that Emaar runs a high risk of sales returns and defaults among its recent launches,” the bank said. “The company’s high-end developments, the Burj area and The Old Town, have taken the biggest hit since the peak.” Analysts surveyed by Reuters in December said they expected Emaar’s fourth-quarter profit to fall 7.5 per cent. The stock has fallen about 17 per cent this year.

    Meanwhile, rents in Dubai, were also down, falling seven per cent in December from a peak last summer, while the cost of renting villas had declined ten per cent, the bank added.

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on UAE – Dubai Property situation worsens – Around $263 billion worth of real estate projects have been delayed or cancelled

    Strata Law and extreme high maintenance costs property Dubai – Omniyat floats property management unit

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 3, 2009


    http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090202/BUSINESS/664551982/1051/rss

    DUBAI

    Omniyat Properties, a Dubai-based developer with Dh13.5bn (US$49bn) worth of projects launched, announced on Monday a new property management arm to help the company diversify its income and distinguish itself from its competitors when the global financial turmoil is hitting the UAE economy.

    “It’s a new revenue stream for the group and it will extend the experience that we have in property development into the life of the building,” said Mehdi Amjad, executive chairman of Omniyat Holdings.

    As sales slow across the UAE, developers are scaling back projects, cutting staff and focusing on the construction of key projects. Analysts say that companies will need to prove themselves capable builders in 2009, as well as find ways of differentiating their projects in the market.

    Peter Walichnowski, chief executive of Omniyat Properties, said the company would announce no new projects in 2009 and instead focus on delivering three projects a year for the next three years. The company announced it had laid off 69 employees, or about a third of its workforce, in November.

    Rather than expand its development side, the company is “investing even more than before in the existing buildings”, Mr Amjad, the chairman, said.

    The company had spent an extra Dh50m on One Business Bay, an office building, to outfit it with an LED wall in the lobby and other technology, he said.

    “It’s time to get closer to your clients,” Mr Amjad said. He added that the company had assuaged nervous buyers of two recently launched buildings, the Octavian and Beachfront Living, by changing the payment plans so that they adhered to construction milestones.

    Property management is expected to be a growth industry in the UAE in the coming years, as buildings become ready for occupancy. For existing projects, developers are managing property on behalf of buyers, but once the Real Estate Regulatory Authority releases the regulations for the strata law, that responsibility will move to home owner associations.

    The strata law, enacted last year, stipulates the creation of homeowner associations and the sets the rules for the maintenance of jointly owned property for places like lobbies and communal parks.

    Under Omniyat’s new set up, residents will actually have a choice of whether to use Omniyat Asset Management or another company for the maintenance of the building, officials said.

    The owners will have a choice, but we expect to have that role because the quality of our services will ensure they won’t need to look elsewhere,” Mr Walichnowski said, adding that the company will be transparent about expenses and make decisions in conjunction with home owner associations.

    This is a key feature of a developer-owned property management company, said Martin Seward-Case, the chairman of the UAE chapter of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

    “The most important part of this is that the consumer has choice,” he said. “Residents need to have the ability to choose a company and look inside and find out if their money is being spent in the way they like it being spent.”

    Mr Seward-Case said there was a potential conflict if developers were to maintain buildings because they could pass on extra expenses onto buyers, but transparency about the operational budget would prevent that.

    Many buyers have started complaining about extraordinary rises in their annual maintenance fees. Residents of Jumeirah Beach Residences, for example, saw their fees rise to Dh21.75 from Dh9.5 per square foot last year.

    Several strata and property management companies have opened up in Dubai in the last year in anticipation of the regulations, including a joint venture with National Bonds Corporation called BCS — Strata Management Services and Horizon Property Management.

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Strata Law and extreme high maintenance costs property Dubai – Omniyat floats property management unit

    U.A.E. Property Prices ‘Fell Off a Cliff’ on Crisis

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 2, 2009


    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a9mDQeZmhgr0

    Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) —

    Property prices in the United Arab Emirates “fell off a cliff” after banks reduced lending and speculators withdrew from the market because of the global economic crisis, Morgan Stanley said in a note to investors.

    In Dubai, prices have slumped 25 percent from the market’s peak in September, while Abu Dhabi prices have declined 20 percent, according to the U.S. investment bank. There were “sharp” falls in the number of transactions during the fourth quarter, the bank said.

    Deteriorating economic conditions, job cuts and the unavailability of mortgages have “resulted in a worse than expected performance in the U.A.E. property market, especially in Dubai,” Mai Attia, an analyst based in the sheikdom, said in the note dated Jan. 30.

    Dubai opened its property market to foreign investors in 2002, while Abu Dhabi allowed foreign ownership three years later, fueling a boom that was boosted by low interest rates. Banks including HSBC Holdings Plc and Lloyds TSB Group Plc clamped down on mortgages in the last quarter as the global recession started to affect the region, forcing construction companies to scale back projects and cut jobs.

    Tallest Building

    Emaar Properties PJSC, the country’s biggest publicly traded developer, will be affected most by the drop in prices because two of its projects, Burj Dubai and Old Town, have “taken the biggest hit since the peak,” the report said. Burj Dubai overtook Taipei 101 as the world’s tallest building, Emporis Buildings in Darmstadt, Germany, said in a report today.

    In Abu Dhabi, Aldar Properties PJSC’s Raha Beach development was most affected, the report said. The emirate’s housing shortage hasn’t helped sustain prices as speculators exited the market and financing became scares.

    Emaar’s shares dropped 84 percent in the past 12 months, while Abu Dhabi’s two largest developers Aldar and Sorouh Real Estate Co. slid 77 percent and 69 percent respectively.

    Construction projects totaling $75 billion have been either delayed or canceled in the U.A.E., HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd. said in a note Jan 22. The majority of projects affected are high-end residential and commercial developments. The U.A.E. government doesn’t release official data on property prices in the country or the number of completed transactions.

    Rents

    Emaar runs a “high risk” of customers canceling purchases or defaulting, Morgan Stanley said. Any new projects undertaken by the Dubai-based company in the next two years may sell at a “significant ‘sensible’ discount” compared with prices in the past year.

    The developer is among six government-owned companies in Dubai whose credit ratings are under review at Moody’s Investors Service for possible downgrades as the economy slows, the ratings company said today.

    Rental rates “started to ease in Dubai in December, where we expect the average rents have fallen by 7 percent” since the summer, Attia wrote in the report. “Abu Dhabi seems more resilient so far, given its different demand supply fundamentals.”

    To contact the reporter on this story: Zainab Fattah in Dubai at zfattah@bloomberg.net

    Last Updated: February 2, 2009 10:52 EST

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on U.A.E. Property Prices ‘Fell Off a Cliff’ on Crisis

    Respect is not a one-way boulevard but a two-way street.

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 2, 2009


    http://blogs.zawya.com/sultan/090127070812/

    The biggest talking point in the past few days among the citizens of the Gulf countries wasn’t the inauguration of President Barack Obama. In fact, it was something that at face value seems insignificant, yet carries deep meaning.

    Mobile audio messages, e-mails and internet postings carried recordings across the region of a now notorious five-minute phone call made to the official Saudi state sports TV channel. The phone call came from Muscat, in the sultanate of Oman, host city of the 19th Gulf Football Cup. Briefly, the humiliating tirade went like this:

    The caller talks about one of the football commentators in the studio. “Jassim,” he says, “is speaking from ignorance, he has no idea what he’s talking about. You are all discussing something that you don’t know. Respect yourself. You and those like you want to evaluate players? You have to stay quiet or speak the truth. How can you talk like you are the saviour? You took more than what is allowed. You have to be polite. If you haven’t been brought up properly we will know how to bring you up.” The caller hangs up abruptly. The presenter thanks him.

    The caller was in fact Prince Sultan bin Fahd, son of the late King Fahd, and the current president of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation. A video recording of his tirade has been posted numerous times on YouTube, and as I write this it has been viewed more than 600,000 times.

    There are two aspects to this story. First, even considering the caller’s history of emotional outbursts, such harsh criticism by a senior member of the royal family on live TV was a surprise to many in the Gulf, who have been accustomed to at least a facade of mutual respect between the rulers and their subjects, as dictated by the Bedouin and Arab customs of the region.

    Second, the repercussions of such public scolding could compel commentators to hold back on criticism – not only regarding sports analysis, but on issues extending beyond trivialities. These live talk programmes that emulate western debate shows after major football games draw many journalists and commentators, and such criticism will surely lead to self-censorship. Subsequently, The Observers forum on the website of the international news and current affairs TV channel France 24 carried a translation of a cartoon in which a Saudi man drags a compatriot to the entrance of a TV studio. “Come on, don’t be scared,” the first man is saying. “No, no, I don’t want to, I don’t want to,” replies the other.

    The Arabic news networks Elaph and Al Arabiya, both of which are closely affiliated with the family of the caller, went as far as allowing their readers to post scores of critical comments about the caller’s remarks. “Abu Tamim” wrote: “There is no doubt that the pundits made some mistakes, but the powerful man’s mistakes were bigger and he should apologise.” “Hugo” wrote: “These men are from respected families and such language should not be used even against criminals.” “Saudi1123” wrote: “What happened live on air went beyond the acceptable.” Clearly, such comments concerning a public figure are something that we are not used to reading in the Gulf very often – until now, that is, largely thanks to the internet.

    The truth is that had the tirade come from an anonymous caller the TV station would have cut the call without hesitation. However, many believe that it is precisely because the caller is a known figure and represents the ruling family that he should have not let his emotions get the better of him, and should have kept in mind that respect isn’t a one-way relationship.

    By coincidence, on the very same day that those football commentators were verbally abused by a member of the Saudi royal family, the Federal National Council in the UAE sanctioned proposed new legislation to regulate the media, which would increase significantly the fines imposed on journalists who criticise the ruling families and “harm the economy”. The two events are connected because they go to the heart of the relationship between the general public and those who govern them. In a well ordered society it is the duty of a responsible press and media to represent the public interest. They cannot do that if they have to operate under a perpetual cloud of threatened legal action from a vague and unclear law. The parliamentarians could have taken a page out of Saudi Arabia’s book regarding the polite and respectful criticism of a senior ruler published on government-sanctioned websites.

    It is imperative that the UAE remain a country of equality, rather than one that tolerates elitism under any guise. The decision by the Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, to prohibit the jailing of journalists was a welcome step. However, enacting a law that effectively instils a separation in the minds of people between themselves and the Government will surely lead to resentment.

    Also, the proposed new law assumes that it is only one category of society that deserves protection. It is unacceptable in the Arab Gulf states that some members of society are given ample time live on TV to freely criticise, while others would be fined for doing the same.

    After all, respect is not a one-way boulevard but a two-way street.

    Sultan Al Qassemi is a Sharjah-based businessman and graduate of the American University of Paris. He is the founder of Barjeel Securities in Dubai

    This article first appeared in The National newspaper on Tuesday January 27 2009

    http://blogs.zawya.com/sultan/090127070812/

     

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Respect is not a one-way boulevard but a two-way street.

    Decline in Abu Dhabi property prices drives speculators out

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 2, 2009


    we have started to compensate the clients who bought our property on the map when prices were very high and prices of cement, wood, steel and other building materials were at their peak… when there was a decline in the fourth quarter, we refunded them… we did so as a moral commitment as we are not bound by the law to do this… I hope other companies in the market will follow suit.”

     

    http://www.business24-7.ae/Articles/2009/2/Pages/02022009_006c51b414d0406bbc4f0df65e16b2ff.aspx

    A decline in property prices in Abu Dhabi after two years of rapid increase is forcing out short-term speculators and this will help stabilise the real estate market this year, a property company chief said yesterday.

    Wael Al Taweel, CEO of Bani Yas for Investment and Development, said Abu Dhabi’s property market has remained strong despite the decline but added that it has entered a “wait-and-see” stage because of the global financial stress.

    In an interview with Emirates Business, Taweel said the decline in property prices had prompted his Abu Dhabi-based company to refund some customers and urged other property developers to follow suit.

    He said the real estate market in the emirate, which has one of the highest GDP per capita incomes in the world, had been controlled by three main players – the real investor, organised speculators and unorganised speculators.

    “The difference is that the organised speculators are involved in healthy activity… they have strong financial adequacy and the capability to engage in large investments… the unorganised speculators lack sufficient adequacy and are interested only in making quick profits, which is not a healthy practice and was one of the main factors for the surge in property prices last year,” he said.

    “Those unorganised speculators are exiting the market following the decline in prices and this is one of the main reasons that make me believe the real estate market in Abu Dhabi will record relative stability this year… but I think some companies that were involved in malpractices will suffer a fall in their prices.”

    According to Taweel, the sharp rise in property prices during 2007 and 2008 did not reflect the real demand-supply balance and was mainly caused by speculation. He said a drop of nearly 20 per cent in prices in the last quarter was caused by lower construction costs and global commodity prices.

    “Another reason of the decline in prices in the last quarter is that there has been exaggeration property estimation and over-pricing by some companies and investors,” he said.

    “As for our company, we set a price of Dh850 per square feet in mid-2008, when we launched operations… our prices followed the general trend and increased to Dh1,150 later… today, we are selling at Dh950 but, of course, we have started to compensate the clients who bought our property on the map when prices were very high and prices of cement, wood, steel and other building materials were at their peak… when there was a decline in the fourth quarter, we refunded them… we did so as a moral commitment as we are not bound by the law to do this… I hope other companies in the market will follow suit.”

    Taweel shrugged off recent comments by real estate experts the property market in Abu Dhabi is weakening because of the global crisis.

    “I don’t think the market is weakening. On the contrary it is still very strong and the decline in prices is making it more tempting for investors… despite the crisis, I believe there is a lot of liquidity in the market and those who believe prices are now suitable will enter the market.”

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Decline in Abu Dhabi property prices drives speculators out

    Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah Prices Plummet as Crunch Sets In

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 2, 2009


    http://www.zawya.com/story.cfm/sidZAWYA20090202093041

    Dubai, February 2, 2009: Property prices on the Palm Jumeirah, the island dubbed the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, have fallen by over 50 per cent since September 2008 amid fears the global credit crisis is stalling the emirate’s economy.

     

     Four-bedroom garden homes on the Palm are now selling as low as Dh6.5 million, down from Dh14 million in September 2008 according to sales agents PowerHouse Properties.

     

     Ian Hainey, Palm sales specialist for Dubai brokerage, PowerHouse Properties, said: “We’ve seen a steady stream of bargain hunters in the market shopping for these prestigious addresses, with many motivated primarily by price. Many end-users who previously could not afford to live on Palm Jumeirah are also now turning their attention to the bargains currently on offer.

     Palm signature villa prices have also fallen, with even the most popular styles that were selling for over Dh30 million six months ago now appearing on the market for under Dh15 million.

     

     However, there has been a noticeable increase in Palm Jumeirah buying activity during the month of January.

    Sales are still being made on the island, with an upsurge in those buying to rent, taking advantage of the bargain prices while still capitalising upon the high rental yields. Garden homes are renting at over Dh400,000 and furnished signature villas still commanding rents up to Dh1 million.”

     

     Reports show property prices in Dubai dropped 8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008, the first quarterly decline since foreign ownership became legal in 2002. The report stated sales volume also dropped by 45 per cent in the last quarter, providing fresh evidence of the global credit crunch hitting the emirate.

     

     When work started on the Palm in 2001, the villas were quickly snapped up at prices from Dh2.8 million each, with celebrity buyers including David Beckham and Michael Schumacher. The Palm Jumeirah quickly became one of Dubai’s most desired locations and prices rocketed as the hype surrounding the island grew.

    As 2008 drew to a close, the decision to halt work on Palm Jumeirah’s Dh2.9 billion Trump International Tower is one of the more notable effects of the economic downturn. Nakheel  has already announced delays on some of its other projects, such as aspects of the Palm Jebel Ali. There is a connection between the lack of finance available, slowdown in projects and the intense downward pressure on property prices.

    Dubai-based mortgage advisor Jack Czechowski from propertyfinancelink.com explained: “There has been a marked reduction in people seeking to buy properties on the Palm Jumeirah, and therefore obtain finance, but this is true in developments throughout Dubai

     

     “Those who are still looking to buy are finding it very challenging to obtain finance at the moment. Banks have tightened their policies, reduced lending ratios and increased interest rates. Most lenders have reduced their maximum borrowing ratios from 90 per cent to less than 80 per cent.

     

     

     Interest rates have increased from approximately 6.5 per cent to 8.5 per cent and banks will generally no longer lend to non-residents or people employed in the real estate sector. Unfortunately this is preventing many potential buyers from being able to purchase.

     It is difficult to make an accurate prediction on the immediate future, as Dubai has never faced this problem, but it is quite possible banks will review their policies early in the year.”

     Middle East construction and development in Dubai has slowed down over the past few months. Reduced lending from banks and falling confidence about the future of the market have combined to slow down both the primary and secondary property market.

     The Palm Jumeirah was built as the flagship part of Dubai’s ambitious ‘Universe’ development, which planned to extend Dubai’s coastline to around 625 miles, around 15 times its natural size.

    PowerHouse Properties currently specialises in end-user properties such as Emirates Hills, Greens, Views, Palm Jumeirah, Springs and Meadows. Based in Al Barsha, PowerHouse has 13 sales professionals from Europe, USA and Australia.

    Official figures published recently by HSBC showed the first signs of downward pressure in property prices, falling estimates that property prices fell four per cent between September and October. This is the first fall in the six years during which the market has been open to foreigners.

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    Investors in a dilemma – Aspire Real Estate is handing over his company`s project Jehaan to a third party

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 2, 2009


    http://www.zawya.com/story.cfm/sidGN_31012009_10280558/UAE%3A%20Investors%20In%20Dilemma%20As%20Jehaan%20Project%20Changes%20Hands

    Saturday, Jan 31, 2009

    Gulf News

     

    Dubai: Owner and chairman of property developer Aspire Real Estate , Harry Kantaria, is handing over his company’s Dh530 million Jehaan project to a third party.

    Kantaria told investors that he has sold the Jehaan project, which has been beset with problems.

    He owes an undisclosed sum to investors in refunds, according to people who bought units in the project.

    “One investor heard that Harry has sold the project to a third party investor. So I texted Harry and he confirmed the same to me,” one investor told Gulf News. Kantaria later confirmed this to Gulf News on Thursday.

    “The project is in the process of being handed over to another party who has shown keen interest and has also met the land department regarding the same,” Kantaria said in an email.

    While the details have yet to be ironed out, the handover will hopefully spell good news for the project’s patient investors who have been battling with Kantaria for months over promised refunds.

    They have been requesting refunds for Jehaan in Jumeirah Village South which was supposed to be ready by January 2009 but construction hasn’t even started. Some investors have even paid in full and yet received no contract. And genuine refunds have been scarce, investors said.

    However, those who did receive their money back found that the cheques bounced and one investor said she was informed by Kantaria’s bank that there is no money in his account.

    “The man at the bank told me that his account exists but there is no money,” the investor said.

    Kantaria told Gulf News back in December that the project’s escrow account was set to be in place by January.

    Calls made to the Aspire  offices went unanswered.

    original published GulfNews

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    Dubai Allows Villa Sharing

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 2, 2009


    02 February 2009
    DUBAI – More than one family will be allowed to share a villa as long as the property is not overcrowded, the head of the Dubai MunicipalityDubai said on Sunday.

    The statement, from Director-General Hussain Nasser Lootah, comes as an important revision of the original terms of the ‘One Villa, One Family’ campaign.

    The policy saw thousands of people living in low-income areas of Dubai having water and electricity supplies cut. The cuts were made to villas where inspectors found several families living together in crowded conditions.
    “In some places we see 20 people living in a five- or eight-bedroom villa. These houses simply weren’t designed for so many people to live,” he said.

    “It causes problems with the Internet, Dewa (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority)UAE | Power and Utilities and sewage facilities in the area. I have been having complaints from various departments over this issue.”
    However, Lootah told Khaleej Times that more than one family could occupy a villa if it was not overcrowded.
    “The main issue is overcrowding. As long as they are within the building regulations, we don’t mind for more than one family to share a villa.”
    He did not elaborate on what constituted overcrowding.

    Thousands of people have been made homeless due to the ‘One Villa, One Family’ campaign and many have complained of a lack of affordable accommodation.

    Lootah said families living in a villa who have their utilities disconnected because of the campaign can negotiate with the municipality if they feel they have been unfairly impacted.

    He confirmed that the municipality had supplied land to private and government developers to create low-income accommodation in the Al Quoz and Al Qusais areas of Dubai.

    “Construction is almost complete and the accommodation will be for low-income workers,” he said.

    Up to 4,200 villas in areas ranging from Al Rashidiya to Al Wasl were identified as early as in October 2008 as violating building regulations.

    Omar Abdul Rahman, head of the municipality’s Building Inspection Section, who is in charge of the campaign, previously said that his team was cutting utilities to as many as 200 villas a week.

    On Sunday, he confirmed that there were fewer cases of utilities being turned off, but was unable to give exact figures.

    One resident, who had utilities cut to her property, told Khaleej Times on condition of anonymity that she had moved to a similarly overcrowded villa in the same area. “I am looking for a flat, but rents are very high,” she said. “I have moved now to a different villa, although we are still worried that the Dewa will be cut again.”

    No Overcrowding in some places 20 people live in a five- or eight-bedroom villa it causes problems with the Internet, Dewa and sewage facilities in the area land given to developers to create low-income accommodation
    By Martin Croucher

    © Khaleej Times 2009

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    Dubai hotel tests for Legionnaires’ after guest dies

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 2, 2009


    DUBAI, Feb 02, 2009 (AFP) – A five-star hotel in the Gulf business and tourist hub of Dubai said on Monday it is running tests for Legionnaires’ disease after a guest reportedly died from the illness.

    The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi said it is conducting the tests in coordination with the Dubai health authorities after the death on Friday of British cricket commentator Bill Frindall.

    “No evidence of legionella has been found to date at the hotel based on initial testing,” the hotel said in a statement. “Hotel management is continuing to monitor the situation.”

    The hotel said two other guests had been reportedly diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia caused by potentially lethal airborne bacteria.

    mh/mna/txw

    Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Dubai hotel tests for Legionnaires’ after guest dies

     
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