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      Criminal Complaint filed in Germany against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum CEO of Dubai Developer Al Fajer Properties The Dubai Sheikh who mislead and extort a German Couple  Germany – Dubai 2011 A German elderly couple , today 80 + 50 years old who have been Dubai Tourists since a decade, bought in 2005 an apartment at Nakheel´s Dubai Residen […]
    • UAE: Human Rights Blogger, Sorbonne Lecturer Charged With ‘Humiliating' Officials
      source Human Rights Watch www.hrw.org (Beirut) - The United Arab Emirates attorney general should immediately drop all charges against five pro-democracy activists to halt their trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The charges of "humiliating" top officials relate solely to the defendants' peaceful use of speech to criticize the UAE governmen […]
    • Nakheel Dubai Sunland Case
      June 5, 2011After 21 hearings, Chris O'Donnell, the Australian chief executive of Dubai's major developer, Nakheel, came to the defence of his former colleagues Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee. Mr Joyce and Mr Lee are accused of profiting from the sale of land that had been earmarked for a colossal high-rise development, which was to include the futur […]
    • Dubai Nakheel CEO decided to leave the company
      Dubai June 7, 2011 Nakheel said on Wednesday that its CEO Chris O'Donnell had left the company "after completing his contract terms". O'Donnell, an Australian who joined the developer in 2006, said he had decided to leave Nakheel following five years spent with the company, the statement added. O'Donnell has overseen a traumatic time […]
    • Owner of Dubai Developer Damac Hussain Sajwani files case against Egypt corruption ruling
      Dubai property developer Damac said on Tuesday it had filed an international arbitration case against Egypt over a land dispute and the conviction of its chairman and owner, Hussain Sajwani.A Cairo court last week sentenced Sajwani in his absence to jail and ordered him to pay a $40.5 million fine in connection with his 2006 purchase of land at Egypt's […]
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      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 March, 2009

Chechen former military commander assassinated in Dubai on Saturday was not a man without enemies

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 31, 2009

source The National

The Chechen former military commander assassinated in Dubai on Saturday was not a man without enemies.

Sulim Yamadayev was deeply entrenched in the complicated loyalties and violent feuds that have characterised the Kremlin’s turbulent and bloody pacification of Russia’s volatile Muslim republic of Chechnya.

Having studied business in Moscow and military tactics in Afghanistan, Yamadayev, together with his brothers, Ruslan and Dzhabrail, fought with Chechen rebels against Russian forces in the bloody 1994-96 war that ended with de facto independence from Moscow for the rebel government.

However, when Vladimir Putin, then the Russian prime minister, sent federal troops to retake Chechnya in 1999, the entire Yamadayev clan switched sides and were subsequently rewarded by the Kremlin.

Yamadayev led the elite special forces Vostok battalion following his brother Dzhabrail’s death in a car bombing in 2003. The unit gained an unsavoury reputation for involvement in criminal cases of extortion and murder, and was alleged to have committed war crimes, including the murders of civilians, rape, torture, and severing the heads of their victims.

Following the appointment of the former boxer and militia leader Ramzan Kadyrov as president of Chechnya in 2007, Yamadayev’s unit, which according to the Moscow Times answered directly to the Russian defence ministry’s main intelligence directorate, continued to be the only militia operating outside Kadyrov’s control, and the two men became bitter rivals.

Tensions between the two clans came to a head in April 2008, when Vostok battalion vehicles refused to yield to Kadyrov’s motorcade, leading to a gun battle that reportedly left two people dead.

The road standoff marked a turning point in the feud, as Kadyrov publicly began accusing the Yamadayevs of crimes including kidnap and murder, and Chechen prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Sulim Yamadayev.

However, there was no attempt to arrest Yamadayev, despite the fact that Russian authorities clearly knew where he was.

In August last year, Russian and international media reported that Yamadayev and his men had fought on behalf of the Russians during the week-long conflict with Georgia over the breakaway Georgian republic of South Ossetia. He was relieved of his command soon after the clashes.

In September, Ruslan Yamadayev, who had become a member of the Russian parliament after the war, serving in the party of Mr Putin, was assassinated near the central government headquarters in Moscow in an audacious drive-by shooting.

Rumours immediately spread that Kadyrov might have been behind the killing, although Russian officials and Kadyrov himself were quick to deny those suggestions. To date nobody has been arrested for the murder.

Yamadayev is the latest in a series of Chechen exiles to have been murdered in recent months.

Last month, the former deputy mayor of Grozny, Gilani Shepiyev, was shot outside his Moscow apartment, while in January, Umar Israilov, who had been Ramzan Kadyrov’s bodyguard before falling out with the Chechen president and accusing him of kidnapping and torture, was shot dead in Vienna, where he had been granted political asylum.

In December last year, Islam Dzhanibekov, a former Chechen rebel, was killed in Istanbul, where he had been living for the past six years. He was the third Chechen in six months to have been murdered in Turkey.

Members of the Chechen community have little doubt who they think is behind the killings, according to Yavuz Selim Kurt, who runs the Economic and Social Research Centre think-tank based in Istanbul.

“They suspect Kadyrov is responsible for all these assassinations, with the co-operation of the Russian intelligence services,” he said.

“People are very worried. There are more than 20,000 Chechen refugees in Turkey, and they fear for their safety.”

However, there may be signs that the previously close relationship between Kadyrov and the Kremlin is starting to fray. Earlier this month, the Moscow Times reported that Putin and his former protégé had “traded thinly veiled barbs” over whose responsibility it was to pay for the rebuilding of Chechnya, which is impoverished after more than a decade and a half of war.

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Sulim Yamadayev shot and killed outside Jumeirah Beach Residence

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 31, 2009

source The National

Dubai // The man shot and killed outside his flat in Jumeirah Beach Residence on Saturday was confirmed yesterday by the Russian government as a notorious militia commander from Chechnya.

Russia’s consul in Dubai, Sergei Krasnogor, said relatives of the dead man had identified him as Sulim Yamadayev, 36, who also until recently led a Russian special forces unit that has been accused of war crimes.

“I just received confirmation from the Dubai Police that he was killed,” Mr Krasnogor said, according to a report from the Reuters news agency.

“We haven’t personally seen any papers or a passport yet.”

The men responsible for murdering the 36-year-old took his BMW car after shooting him dead in the car park of his building, according to police.

Police sources said the killer was still at large and that no one had been charged with his murder, despite reports claiming that a man was being held in connection with the shooting.

The killing has attracted attention from high-ranking officials, according to the government news agency WAM. Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the chief of Dubai Police, and his deputy, Major Gen Khamis Mattar al Mazinah, both visited the crime scene, together with a third official identified as the head of the Directorate General of State Security.

“A team of national security and CID officers has been formed to lead a murder investigation,” said the police source.

“The victim was shot multiple times in the car park and the killers took off with his vehicle, a BMW. It is not clear why the car was taken but they could have done so to search the car or to dispose of it in their own way.”

Meanwhile, international and local media continue to speculate on the circumstances surrounding the murder. One Russian newspaper claimed the victim had survived the shooting but that he was seriously injured and being treated in a Dubai hospital.

Police sources dismissed such reports yesterday. One said: “He is definitely dead.

Sources also hinted there were no bodyguards present at the time of murder. “If there were bodyguards with him, where would they go, and how would the car get stolen?”

Yamadayev’s brother, Ruslan Yamadayev, was shot dead on Sept 24, 2008 on Smolenskaya Embankment in Moscow.

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Chechen National Shot Dead outside Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai – The Victim may have been on the Hit-list for Rebels

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 30, 2009

source KhaleejTimes

DUBAI – Chechen national Suleyman Madov, who was shot dead near his apartment in Dubai Marina on Saturday, may have been on a hit-list containing the names of 2,000 Chechen rebels, experts warn.

Russian experts say that four exiles of the former Soviet republic killed over the past year had their names on the hit list. The list, which includes many opponents to the pro-Russian Chechen president, Ramzan Kadyrov, has since been published on dissident website Chechenpress.

Yury Federov, Russian political expert at UK think tank Chatham House, said that he had seen the list but could not confirm its content. “I cannot say for sure whether he was killed as an opponent of Kadyrov, but this is a very suspicious case,” he told Khaleej Times.

Dissident websites have also been quick to connect his death with that of Umar Israilov, a former Chechen rebel who was shot dead in Vienna in January. Prior to being shot, Israilov was reported to have told his family that he was on a “death list”.

In January, Austrian Interior Minister Rudolf Gollia said that officials were contacting individuals named on the list, in an interview with German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur.  A copy of the list in English was not immediately available. Dubai Police would not confirm whether they were working with Austrian authorities on the issue.

Police have also declined to give details of the exact location of the murder. However, the official UAE news agency Wam, in a statement on Saturday night, did quote the police as saying that Madov had been “subjected to close monitoring” prior to his death.

Residents of Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) claim that the killing took place outside of Rimal building – the same building in which Suzan Tamim was killed in July last year. No one from the developer, Dubai Properties, was available for comment.

“Security should have increased since last year,” said Hamid Hamri, chairman of JBR owners’ association. “The security staff have had no training. They should employ Nepalese gurkhas as security guards, like they do in places like Hong Kong.”

Antagonists to Kadyrov’s regime have been accused of terrorism and Chechen Islamist websites such as kavkazcenter.com are blocked in the UAE.

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Corruption cases mushroom as Dubai bubble bursts

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 29, 2009


DUBAI (AFP) — Faced with a sudden economic slowdown, Dubai is trying to combat the fraud cases that surged during the past years of rapid economic growth in a bid to boost its status as a regional business hub.

But the clean-up drive has stirred controversy as several former executives of major firms, suspected of embezzling sums which total hundreds of millions of dollars, have been held for months without charge.

The economic boom of the past several years appears to be the main culprit.

“It was a boom market. Everybody gets greedy and you have corruption,” economist Eckart Woertz of Dubai-based Gulf Research Centre told AFP. “You have the opportunity to cash in some bribes, and you do it.”

The economy of Dubai, which is part of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, had been growing at a breakneck speed.

The main engine has been the real estate sector, after foreigners were allowed to own freehold property in 2002, while oil prices shot up last year to unprecedented records, creating a massive cash surplus in the region.

But the global financial crisis threw the spanner in the works of Dubai’s economy, as a liquidity shortage and weak confidence applied the brakes on growth in the realty sector.

Most of the recorded and alleged corruption cases are linked to this sector.

Earlier this month, seven men appeared in court in two trials against former business executives charged with demanding bribes — the first corruption trials since the fraud cases surfaced last year.

One case involves four former executives from Sama Dubai, a property developer belonging to the vast Dubai Holding conglomerate, and an executive from Damac Properties.

The other case embroils two former sales executives at the government-controlled giant property developer Nakheel, according to press reports.

Bribes in the case of Sama Dubai executives amounted to 8.35 million dirhams (2.28 million dollars), while they amounted to 5.14 million dirhams (1.4 million dollars) in the Nakheel case.

Nakheel, contacted by AFP, declined to comment on the case.

In February, police reportedly arrested three other senior managers at Nakheel — the company which shot to world fame for its projects to develop three palm-shaped islands and a world map-shaped cluster of islands off Dubai.

The longest-serving top executive in police custody is former Deyaar chief  executive, Zack Shahin, an American of Lebanese origin, who has been held since March 2008 without formal charges.

Dubai’s prosecution charged in late February that Shahin and other suspects had embezzled more than 98 million dirhams (27 million dollars).

An Internet website called “Save Zack Shahin” says the man has been tortured in custody and it has posted photos of him in hospital.

But the largest corruption case appears to be an alleged scheme to defraud the Dubai Islamic Bank of 501 million dollars, over which seven persons have been charged, according to court documents.

Two of the suspects are still at large.

The alleged fraud was committed between 2004 and 2007 and involved two former DIB executives and five businessmen linked to a trade finance company and a real estate project in Dubai.

Meanwhile, the Dubai prosecutor’s office has issued an arrest warrant against a top executive of Dynasty Zarooni, according to a local daily.

Al-Shaali law firm, which is acting on behalf of investors in Dynasty Zarooni projects, told AFP it has lodged complaints worth a total of nearly 82 million dollars.

The clampdown has rocked the business environment in the emirate.

But “it is to their credit that the (Dubai) authorities have decided to forcefully attack this problem, despite any negative publicity,” said Ali Shihabi, CEO of Rasmala investment bank.

“The traditional Arab approach is to sweep such issues under the covers or ignore them completely … These actions against corruption will strengthen the quality of the business environment in Dubai,” he said.

Some UAE newspapers have been active in reporting corruption cases.

But the freedom to cover the cases could be curtailed by a proposed media law which would penalise the press for publishing “misleading news that could harm the national economy” in the Emirates.

“I would seriously advise them against it (passing the law) … It won’t achieve the aim of impeding negative reporting… You will have blogs,” said Woertz of the research centre.

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Property Investors take heart from Dubai court ruling – but ..Courts in Dubai are not bound by precedent or previous decisions

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 29, 2009

source The National

The Dubai Property Court is emerging as a champion of the small investor following its inaugural ruling last week, lawyers say.

On Monday, the Property Court ruled that Mizin, a development arm of the government-owned investment company Tatweer, had to pay back Dh7.4 million (US$2m) and 9 per cent interest to an investor because Mizin did not register the transaction with the Dubai Land Department within 60 days under a new law.

The ruling has triggered discussion among investors and lawyers who believe the court is planning to take a literal interpretation of laws relating to the property sector, which could mean many investors getting their money back.

“My phone has been ringing off the hook,” said Jonathon Davidson, the managing partner of MAC Davidson and Associates in Dubai. “The result of this is that the clients who were sitting on the fence or who didn’t have faith that the Property Court would provide closure are now taking an entirely different view. They want to file cases.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Tamweel Dubai chief wants urgent property aid

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 29, 2009

source The National

The Government must urgently add liquidity to limit the drop in property prices and revive the economy, the chairman of Tamweel, the country’s second-argest home finance provider, said yesterday.

The fall in property prices is bringing “huge losses” to investors in the country, Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed said.

“Unless we bring in financing for the real estate sector, I do not think the economy can be revived,” Sheikh Khaled said on the sidelines of a Dubai Economic Council conference.

“The Government has to intervene and provide funding for banks to come back and lend.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Comment of the day

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 28, 2009

by Robert to 7StarsDubai

Until recently I worked in the ‘legal’ department of a major property developer in Dubai. These investors are 100% correct. The unscrupulous practices being carried out by Developers in Dubai in order to defraud investors of the money they’ve handed over in good faith is quite incredible.

It’s a massive scandal just waiting to be revealed. I just hope these investors are sucessful in their quest to reveal the extent of the scandal. We are talking about billions of dollars of investors money, not millions.

These developers have taken the money from investors, spent it and now cancelled the projects to which the money relates. The crux of the problem is the companies won’t now refund investors their money back as they simply don’t have this money anymore. They’re broke. If they were in an western country we’d say they were Insolvent or Bankrupt. They simply shouldn’t still be trading.

They can’t now give the investors the money back and they’ve spent it (or hidden it away in accounts in far off places). All these developers were relying upon is the ‘Pyramid Scheme’ they’ve been operating wouldn’t come to an end. Sadly the credit crunch arrived and their income gravy train has come to a sudden and abrupt halt. Now blind panic has set in amongst these developers and investors quite rightly ask for their money back in relation to the numerous cancelled projects. The scandal is that the developers are doing every trick in their big sordid book of malpractices in order to avoid having to refund such money, for the reasons I’ve said.

The Dubai Government and the so called ‘Real Estate Regulation Authority (RERA)’ are doing next to nothing to stop these sharks. They shouldn’t be surprised therefore that the pack of cards they’ve tried to build in Dubai over the last few years is now going to come tumbling down around their sorry, sordid ears. You reap what you sow.

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After the gold rush: Getting paid in Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 27, 2009

source building UK

It is claimed that the average contractor is owed £50m, while some consultants’ fees are being slashed in half. Roxane McMeeken finds out just how bad Dubai’s payment problems have become

Dubai is looking more and more like a place with a great future behind it. You can see that most clearly on the billboards erected beside empty sites and motionless tower cranes. “Ordinary is for other people” says the one where the Trump Tower was to have gone. Well, nemesis follows hubris: at least half of the emirate’s construction projects are “on hold” according to research firm Proleads, and nobody knows when, or if, they will start again.

New signs of the desperate state of Dubai’s developers are emerging every day. To look at the top three of them is telling: Union Properties has admitted it would welcome a merger after shelving its flagship £320m Formula One theme park in Dubailand. Emaar recently announced yet more cancelled projects: Asmaran (a 70 million ft2 , £17bn mixed-community scheme billed as “a jewel in the desert”), Maysan (three residential towers, also covering 70 million ft2) and Warsan (500 villas covering 3.4 million ft2). Meanwhile, Nakheel is facing a fraud investigation and has put its £2bn mall expansion plan on hold. It has also been hit by the halving of property prices on its celebrated Palm Jumeira project. Four-bedroom garden homes on a frond are going for £1.2m compared with £2.6m in July.

Where does all this leave the British consultants and contractors who count these developers among their top clients?

The short answer is, cash-strapped. Some are seeing their fees slashed – a Building survey of more than 150 people working in the UAE found that two-thirds of them have been asked to drop their prices recently. Others have been waiting for payments for six months and many are considering legal action.

What went wrong?

The first problem was that many developers were reliant on bank credit rather than oil revenue, as is often thought. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, has about 10% of the world’s oil, but Dubai has almost none. Banks were happy to keep lending to its developers as long as property prices were going up, and could act as collateral for more lending and more construction. But when property prices started tumbling, this virtuous circle turned vicious and clients ran out of money to pay consultants and contractors.

Abu Dhabi’s $10bn (£7bn) loan to Dubai announced in February appeared to offer a glimmer of hope, especially when the Dubai government said this money would mainly go to state-linked developers. But questions are being raised about how far it will go. For one thing, Dubai has declared that it owes at least $80bn (£56bn), of which almost a quarter falls due for repayment this year. The boss of a UK consultant with a large presence in Dubai says: “The $10bn won’t even cover developers’ interest payments.” He adds that compounding this is the fact that Dubai has so few ways to make money. Last year, 65% of its GDP was from real estate. He adds: “And there is no oil, no exports, no tax and 80% of the population are expats, many of whom are leaving.” Now the fee cuts are spreading to Abu Dhabi, where developer Aldar has written to consultants to ask them to cut fees – on live projects by up to 20%.

Late payments and fee cuts

So how bad has it got for UK firms? Certainly there is no sign that the government cash is filtering through. A senior source at a UK contractor in Dubai is fuming. He says: “The average contractor here is owed about £50m.”

A source at a UK project manager says some payments from Dubai developers are up to six months late; Mace and EC Harris are saying openly that it is taking at least three months to get paid. WSP is estimated to have set aside £4m to cover bad debts and project management consultancy Blair Anderson now employs someone full-time solely to chase payments in Dubai.

Meanwhile, the head of a British specialist working on a major project that stopped in October says his firm was paid 20% of what it was owed in January. He said he has no idea when he will get the rest, although he believes it will come through eventually, as his client is linked to the Dubai government.

Then there are the fee cuts, which are affecting most firms. Evan Anderson, group director of Blair Anderson, says the firm’s fees are between 20% and 30% lower than six months ago. But he is still better off than many architects, whose fees Anderson is renegotiating on behalf of clients. He says: “We are doing a lot of reverse briefing of designers. We’re asking them to cut their fees by up to half and to change the materials they’re specifying to bring down costs by about 30%.”

Contractors across Dubai are having to renegotiate tenders, typically resulting in 15-20% being lopped off their money. The senior contractor says: “Contractors here had been enjoying margins of seven, eight or nine per cent. Now clients are trying to get us to take margins as low as three or even one per cent. They also want to lengthen programmes so that cash flow is less onerous. It’s chaos.”

More pain for consultants is arriving in the form of deferred payment plans. Mark Prior, head of the Middle East for EC Harris, says: “We are discussing deals that would mean we will be paid in six months’ time – or half of what we’re owed in three months and the rest in six.”

Other companies are understood to have been forced to accept payment in the forms of stakes in a development. George Grant, operations director for infrastructure at M&E specialist Drake & Scull, says: “We have no experience of taking equity instead of cash but we would consider it. Our view is we want to work with the clients if it means that work goes ahead.”

“We are doing a lot of reverse briefing of designers. We’re asking them to cut their fees by up to half and to change the materials specified”
Evan Anderson, Blair Anderson

Others are more wary. Anderson has refused payment in shares: “They offer you 1% of a development that you have had no involvement on and no idea how it works. If you invest in something you want to do detailed research on it.”

Meanwhile, the old model of developers paying contractors with money from sales of units in buildings before it has been completed is a thing of the past. Projects launched on this model are being refinanced. Under the new deals institutional investors are brought in and contractors are forced to accept deferred payments.

Anderson says: “The previous model based on off-plan sales is no longer viable, so total financing is being done by investment, and selling is happening when the building is under construction.”

As a result, development is less gung-ho, he adds, which in turn means people are earning lower fees over a longer period. Developments are being built in phases. “Before, a developer would build three high-rises at once; now they are building them one by one. They build a tower, sell it, then use the proceeds to build the next one.”

Such is the state of the market that those who are actually getting paid do not want to admit it. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the head of a British architect’s Dubai office said: “I would rather you didn’t put my name in your article because if other people working for my client find out that I’ve been paid, they’ll be demanding that the client pays them too, and then I’ll have to answer to the client.”

He says at the moment you have the best chance of being paid if you are needed to help with the process of putting a project on hold. “If you are not essential – that is, if you are not putting remedial works in place so the client can put work on hold – you will not get paid.”

Will developers ever pay?

The gravest concern of all is caused by rumours that some developers are about to go bust. Despite their government links, there is no guarantee the state will step in to save these firms. A source at a project manager in Dubai says: “It’s impossible to say whether the government will pay developers’ debts or not. State sponsorship is relatively loose here. Nobody knows whether certain developers are going to be mothballed, merged or go bust.”

Drake & Scull’s Grant, a Middle East veteran, says: “There’s no doubt some clients have run out of money and will disappear. Not the big names though, they need to renegotiate their finance deals but they will carry on.”

He may be right, but the question of when they will pay is still causing UK firms to fret. Emaar, to take one developer, has just had its debt downgraded by Standard & Poor, the ratings agency, from –A to BBB+. It made a loss of 1.6bn dirhams (£304m) in the last quarter of 2008. Meanwhile, the government has warned that the economy may shrink in the second half of 2009.

Most developers are declining to comment on the payment issue, including Nakheel. A spokesperson from developer Limitless did speak to us and insisted that all creditors would be paid. She said: “We’re renegotiating some payment plans, but not all, as part of our overall response to the global situation.”

An Emaar spokesperson also sent the following statement: “Payments for contractors and consultants are based on a credit cycle and set deliverables agreed with them. All payments that meet the criteria have been honoured and will continue to be cleared, in line with our agreements.”

But for those still waiting to be paid and suffering, what recourse is there? Another source says: “Historically, if you’re not getting paid here, you don’t rock the boat; the last thing you do is resort to litigation. But now people are getting highly emotional. If you’re working on a huge project and you recruited a huge team to do it, and you’re owed millions, well maybe it is time to sue.”

He adds that he expects to see “some big disputes in the next three months”, which is perhaps ironic considering that Dubai is aiming to become a regional dispute resolution centre. Prior is among those who admit that “litigation is an option we have our eye on”. It’s a statement that would have been unthinkable in Dubai a year ago.

As the legal cases loom (see box, previous page), it’s clear that relations between clients and project teams are strained to the limit. The head of another UK consultancy, who asked not be named, revealed a conversation he had with a senior emirati working for a big developer. “I said to him, if I don’t get my money, I will sue. He said, you will never work in Dubai again. I said, why would I want to?”

Disputes in Dubai

Dubai’s legal system is facing a sudden rush of disputes, and there are doubts about how well it is going to handle them. The first problem is the absence of adjudication. Paul Taylor, a partner at lawyer HBJ Gateley Wareing, says: “Unlike in the UK, there is no quick fix in Dubai. Here, arbitration and litigation, are the only ways to get your money.” Even worse, arbitration in Dubai takes up to two years – even longer than in the UK.

Another problem is certification. Of course, getting an engineer’s certificate proving you have done the work and are therefore entitled to be paid is an important piece of ammunition in the fight for your fee. However, in Dubai, Taylor says many contracts include a clause saying that an engineer cannot approve a piece of work without the client’s sign off. “These clauses are being disputed, but it’s still tough.”

People are looking at alternative methods of resolving disputes. Next month a “mediation centre” is being set up that will fast-track dispute resolution through an independent party. Taylor says it is a mid step between amicable settlement and arbitration and could resolve a dispute in two or three weeks. The problem, though, is that it will only work if both parties voluntarily accept the verdict.

Most projects are on the FIDIC contract. The 1999 version contains a clause that allows the use of a dispute resolution board, which can take six to 12 weeks. Earlier versions of the contract do not tend to offer this option.

Even if you do resolve a dispute to your satisfaction, then you have the problem of enforcing the decision. Taylor recommends a “more commercial” way of tackling a dispute. “Knock on the client’s door and try to explain your difficulties face to face. And get your local sponsor to act as an intermediary.” As a last resort, you can threaten to terminate the work you’re doing for the client – an approach that will only work if the project is continuing.

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UAE Laws to Address New Types of Financial Crimes Planned

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 27, 2009

source KhaleejTimes

27 March 2009
Dubai – Dr Hadef bin Juaan Al Dhaheri, the UAE Minister of Justice, said on Thursday that the new laws are being mulled by his ministry to address the emerging and relatively new kinds of financial crimes and irregularities as well as public debt, interest rates and credit in the country.

“We are having a look at international laws and financial legislations to come up with laws that would best suit our judicial system here. We are interested in enhancing our practices and standards and, unifying the judicial systems of different emirates.”

He said, “We have a strong system of accountability to bring to justice whoever breaches the law and goes beyond his duties whether by accepting bribes or being involved in corruption.”

The minister was speaking on the sidelines of the Third Judicial Congregation organised by Dubai Courts under the theme ‘Experiences and challenges pertaining to real estate and litigious lawsuits and financial corruption’.

He lauded the forum’s importance as ‘it gives an opportunity to share with the rich and developed countries’ expertise.”  He said the cases of corruption even though they were increasingly emerging in the UAE, were still within reasonable limits.

“The corruption cases we are witnessing in the UAE are similar to others in the world. It is in someway the product of the real estate and construction development boom in the UAE and Dubai in particular,” he said.

Dr Ahmed Saeed bin Hazeem, Director General of Dubai Courts, said a mechanism would soon be in place to find alternative solutions for settlement of disputes before the prosecution and it would mostly benefit the real estate cases.

Hazeem said, “In the last 50 years we have been witnessing new kinds of corruption and crimes. We are constantly working on improving the human resources and the cadre skills to reach up to the highest international standards of judicial practices. The Third Forum is a further step in the path of promoting the judicial work in the UAE.”

Dubai Attorney-General Essam Eissa Al Humaidan pointed out that some of the financial irregularities are still under investigation and indicate the misconduct of individuals and do not express flaws or collective ill practices of the institutions.

Humaidan said, “The investigations take a long time in some cases due to pending technical reports or necessary witness statements.”

He said there was no time limit for the detention of any suspect in connection with investigations in any case.

“A suspect is detained at the beginning of the investigation for 21 days, after which we refer the case to the relevant judge and he decides whether to extend the detention or not, based on our findings. Each detention can be extended for one month at a time. After the end of that month, we have to file for another one-month extension.”

Asked about UAE businessman Abed Al Boum and former American CEO of real estate developer Deyaar, Zack Shaheen, who have been detained for many months now, the attorney general said that an announcement would be?made soon. “Within 10 days the Public Prosecution will take action regarding Shahin’s case as we have completed most of the investigation. We have been?seeking data and gathering pieces of evidence from external banks and financial institutions.”

He added the Public Prosecution would also take a decision on the Al Boom case within a few weeks.


© Khaleej Times 2009

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Property Disputes Dubai – Mediation Centre

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 27, 2009

source The National

Dubai has created professional groups and a mediation centre to resolve the hundreds of disputes that have arisen among investors and developers as the property sector soured in the global economic downturn.

The initiative, an effort by the Dubai Land Department and the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera), is designed to integrate the main participants in the property industry into a regulatory framework headed by Rera.

A mediation centre was established to help resolve disputes faster, away from Property Court. Currently, more than 500 cases are said to be pending with the court.

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The British government is being asked to help U.K. investors in Dubai who fear losing millions of dollars in the sheikdom’s collapsing property market.

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 27, 2009

source WallstreetJournal by Stefania Bianchi

A group of investors based in the U.K. have sent a petition to Prime Minister Gordon Brown asking him to intervene in what they claim are “harmful real-estate practices” in the United Arab Emirates.

“We as investors have recently discovered the blatant embezzlement of our money by unscrupulous developers,” the petition, seen by Zawya Dow Jones, says. The petition was referred by Downing Street to the Foreign Office.

“We have been contacted by individual investors,” a spokesperson for the U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office told Zawya Dow Jones. “The FCO takes this matter seriously.

A near 50% fall in real estate prices in some parts of Dubai has spurred a rash of increasingly ugly real estate disputes between developers and investors. The industry accounts for 30% of the emirate’s economy.

The Dubai Land Department estimates that British investors own property worth 4.7 billion U.A.E. dirhams ($1.3 billion) in the emirate. British buyers now account for 12% of international property investors in the emirate, behind Saudis and Indian buyers, according to regional investment bank EFG Hermes.

The involvement of the British government on behalf of disgruntled property buyers will further damage the reputation of Dubai as it struggles to clean up its financial image and attract foreign investment that’s vital for its economy.

The Foreign Office spokesperson said that while the British government would advise investors on how to resolve disputes “ultimately this is a legal matter between the interested parties.”

Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority, the government watchdog, didn’t respond to written questions from Zawya Dow Jones, but Thursday said it plans to set up new “real-estate communities” to increase transparency.


British national Nick Jasani is one of a group of investors who is lobbying parliamentary representatives to put pressure on Downing Street to intervene in the rising number of disputes on their behalf.

Jasani, who bought a commercial unit from a developer in Dubai’s Business Bay district for AED2 million in early 2007, is worried because construction at the project hasn’t started, even though he’s already paid AED640,000 or 30% of the unit’s value.

He said the Dubai-based developer is still demanding payment installments even though they’re not working on the project.

A letter seen by Zawya Dow Jones and sent by a number of individual investors to Members of Parliament states that “even though projects have no hope of going ahead due to the current financial climate, the money (investors) they have put down may not be refunded.”

As the bottom falls out of Dubai’s once-soaring property market, developers are scrambling to respond. Many are being forced to cancel or delay projects amid falling sales and property prices.

Last month, a report by investment bank Morgan Stanley (MS) said the United Arab Emirates is delaying or canceling real-estate projects worth more than $260 billion. An earlier HSBC PLC (HBC) report said Dubai is delaying or canceling almost 60 projects worth $75 billion.

Amid growing uncertainty about whether they’ll see their money again, investors are organizing themselves to take on the emirate’s sometimes unscrupulous developers and convoluted real-estate regulations.

This week a group of more than 100 investors delivered a petition signed by more than 350 investors to Dubai developer Nakheel’s office urging the firm to reschedule payment plans for villas on Palm Jebel Ali because of delays.

This followed a petition to Emaar Properties (EMAAR.AI), the Middle East’s largest developer, requesting the cancellation of three of its projects.

Nakheel didn’t respond to questions from Zawya Dow Jones.

“There are certainly a number of investors who seem to have claims with merit. Others simply have been caught out by a falling market and insufficient contractual protection,” said Matthew Hooton, head of real estate in the Middle East for law firm Ashurst.

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Dubai – Third Judicial Congregation to discuss issues pertaining to real estate cases and financial corruption in UAE

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 26, 2009

Dubai Courts aims to strengthen collaboration among Directors of Courts and Public Prosecution and further enhance UAE’s judicial standards


Dubai Courts has announced that it will host the Third Judicial Congregation for the Directors of Courts and Public Prosecution in the UAE tomorrow (Thursday, March 26, 2009) at the Grand Hyatt Dubai. Organised with the theme “Experiences and challenges pertaining to real estate and litigious lawsuits and financial corruption,” the Third Judicial Congregation is an initiative that seeks to further enhance judicial standards, identify best practices and develop the judicial system in line with the UAE’s socioeconomic achievements.

 Held under the patronage of Dr. Hadef bin Joaan Al Zahiri, the UAE Minister of Justice, the Judicial Congregation serves as a venue for federal and local courts in the UAE to discuss key issues and collaborate in identifying solutions to emerging judicial challenges.

Dubai Courts has invited experts to discuss German expertise concerning financial corruption, property rights, mortgage, and judicial proceedings in real estate litigious lawsuits, while an Iraqi delegation headed by the President of the Supreme Council of the Iraqi Judiciary will likewise be attending the event.

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The Case Dynasty Zarooni – Dubai Prosecutors Rejected Bail of Kabir Mulchandani

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 25, 2009

source WallStreetJournal 7starsdubai

Dubai prosecutors Sunday rejected a bail application from Dynasty Zarooni‘s Chairman Kabir Mulchandani who is being held by police on 450 million U.A.E. dirhams ($123 million) fraud allegations, according to documents seen by Zawya Dow Jones.

Mulchandani, who couldn’t be contacted by Zawya Dow Jones, has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Ayman Merdas, a lawyer for Global Advocates & Legal Consultants representing Mulchandani declined to comment when called by Zawya Dow Jones Monday.

Mulchandani applied for bail on March 11 but was refused March 22, according to the Public Prosecution document seen by Zawya Dow Jones.

The Dubai public prosecutor handling the Dynasty Zarooni case couldn’t be reached Tuesday.

-By Stefania Bianchi, Dow Jones Newswires, +9714 364 4967 Stefania Bianchi@dowjones.com

more about this case from Archive 7StarsDubai

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Dubai Property Court – Developer must repay 7.4 Million AED

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 25, 2009

source The National

25 March 2009

DUBAI // A property developer has been ordered by the Dubai Real Estate Court to return Dh7.4 million (US$1.38m) on the sale of several apartments to a buyer after failing to register the sale with the Dubai Land Department’s property register.

The court ruled the sale null and void yesterday and ordered the developer to pay nine per cent interest to the buyer on the money from the date of the sale last April. The developer must also pay the full court costs.

According to a statement issued by the Dubai Courts Department, the ruling is the first of its kind to cancel a property sale since the court was established last August.

In his summary, the presiding judge, Omar Miran, said the law stipulates that any transfer of ownership or other property transaction not registered in either the land department’s property register or its preliminary property register is null and void.

The law gives developers a 60-day grace period to register all property sales concluded before that date. Failure to do so also renders the sale null and void.

The sale in this case was concluded on April 8. The buyer filed his case on Jan 21 this year, asking the court to order the developer to refund the money he had paid for the apartments plus 12 per cent interest.

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UK mother Marnie Pearce – jailed in Dubai – loses child custody fight

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 24, 2009

source The National

DUBAI // A British mother jailed for adultery has been refused custody of her two sons as she awaits deportation.

Marnie Pearce, 40, was hoping her children, aged eight and four, would be returned to her, despite her conviction. Adultery is a criminal offence in the UAE.

But after two failed appeals in the criminal courts, Dubai’s family court yesterday decided to award full custody of her sons to their father, Ihab el Labban, 42.

She will not be allowed to remain in the country after completing her three-month sentence in April.

British embassy officials have asked the Attorney General to review the case and waive the deportation. Amnesty International and Fair Trials International have also backed her, saying the interests of the children must come first.Mr el Labban was not available for comment.

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More than 350 investors in Nakheel’s Palm Jebel Ali have signed a petition – Delays prompt Nakheel investors to act

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 24, 2009

March 23. 2009 9:44PM UAE / March 23. 2009 5:44PM GMT

source The National

More than 350 investors in Nakheel’s Palm Jebel Ali have signed a petition urging the developer to reschedule their payment plans because their villas will be ready four years late.

While land reclamation on the development, the second of Nakheel’s Palm trilogy, is complete and infrastructure work is under way, construction of the villas is yet to begin.

Investors were told in January the handover of property had been changed to 2012, having initially been scheduled for last June.

The letter referred to other developers who had revised payment plans because of the global economic crisis and said “as Nakheel is the region’s biggest developer, we expect the same or better”.

A Nakheel spokesman said the company was addressing the issue and working with the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) for a solution. This could involve a restructured payment plan. The spokesman told investors Nakheel would respond to the petition in “two to three days”.

“I was disappointed that we could not meet with the real decision makers, who we requested an appointment with,” said Saqib Iqbal, a representative of the investors group.

“We have paid for the last three years, so we wanted to get answers to our concerns.

The project has already been delayed by four years and there is no guarantee that even after four years it will be delivered.

So why, if something has been delayed for so long, are they still collecting payments?
It’s completely irresponsible.”

Mr Iqbal has bought one of more than 1,300 villas planned for the development. “I’m an end-user and I want the project to be successful, but I also want it to be very transparent that if I’m making a payment, it is going towards constructing my villa.”

In response to the slowdown in the property market and liquidity shortages, RERA announced this year that the first 30 per cent of the sales price of a unit would be “up front” and not connected to construction, but the remaining 70 per cent of payments would be linked to construction progress.

The move was expected to remedy a widespread situation in Dubai where a buyer may have paid a significant percentage of the price to the developer when construction had only just begun.

RERA is also encouraging developers to adjust their payment schedules to allow buyers more time to pay and reduce the risk of default. Firms including Deyaar Developments, Union Properties and Emaar Properties have already announced new payment plans.

Villa prices at Palm Jebel Ali fell about 45 per cent during the last quarter of last year, with some “distressed sellers” now selling their units at Dh800 per square foot, compared with more than Dh2,000 when the project was launched.

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Dubai’s new code of conduct

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 24, 2009

source Kippreport

Last week, the Dubai Executive Council (DEC) caused a stir in the city when it reportedly launched a new code of conduct, defining what it is inappropriate behavior in public. According to an article in Al Arabiya, which was based on a document leaked to the Arabic-language daily Al Emarat Al Youm, playing loud music, dancing, nudity, kissing, holding hands, wearing revealing clothes in public and being under the influence of alcohol in public will be considered offenses, and may result in fines or prison terms.

While reactions to the report were mixed, many were angered by it, as reflected in our poll; more than 52.5 percent of our respondents think the new code of conduct is ridiculous. However, more than 22 percent feel that the rule is justified, and that expatriates should respect the local culture. Another 16 percent agree that the rules are too strict, but said that they accept them.

Only 9 percent of our respondents answered “What code of conduct?”

Kipp wrote a commentary on the ambiguities of the code last week, and asked the DEC to clarify a number of the rules; the DEC, however assured us that when published, the report will clarify all the details. We have yet to see the document.

The code of conduct highlights Dubai’s torn image, which at times appears to condone extreme openness, and at others promotes the emirate’s conservatism. The code also compels us to ask: how will the city continue to pull in tourists if authorities tell them not to hold hands in the public?

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Union Properties Dubai continues to pressure residents of Up Town Mirdiff

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 24, 2009

source Kippreport

Union Properties (UP) has failed to respond to requests made by Kipp for updates on service charge increases in one of its developments, Up Town Mirdiff. Email and phone conversations with the company public relations officer revealed that UP is in talks with Rera, but the officer declined to provide updates.

The developer hiked service charges by almost 50 percent in 2009, in spite of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority’s (Rera) ban on all service fee hikes, unless approved by the authority.

Notwithstanding its discussions with Rera, the developer has warned residents in a letter dated March 3 that those who do not meet the it’s deadline to pay the increased service charge will be slapped with fines.

Kipp reported earlier that the management at Up Town Mirdiff does not believe that the project, which is classified as a leasehold and not freehold, is required to be registered with the Land Department, and is therefore not subject to Rera’s laws.

Rera, however, says otherwise. The authority’s CEO, Marwan bin Ghalita, said to Khaleej Times that “Rera regulates all real estate in Dubai, and the Land Department registers all real estate rights and transactions.”

“The law is clear and anyone who says anything different should write to us for clarification,” he added.

Meanwhile, residents at Jumeirah beach Residence (FBR) have succeeded in pressuring the development manager, Salwan Property Management, to reduce the hiked service charges, reports Emirates Business 24-7.

“We have reviewed the situation and will be revising our service charge shortly. We will issue a formal statement, but in the interim, I can tell you that the rates will drop,” the spokesperson said.

The JBR Resident Association filed a complaint with Rera challenging the 129 percent increase in service charge issued by the property manager.

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Shaikh Ahmad Bin Juma Al Maktoum passed away on Monday in Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 23, 2009

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Juma Al Maktoum passed away on Monday in Dubai

The palace of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is mourning the death of Shaikh Ahmad, WAM reported.

A statement from the Ruler’s Court said the burial will take place in Umm Hurair Graveyard in Bur Dubai following the performance of Al Asr prayers in Nad Al Sheba mosque.

Local radio stations are playing the Quranic verses as a sign of mourning.

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Jumaa Al Maktoum was born in 1936, and had several children.

His daughter Shaikha Rodha Bint Ahmad Bin Jumaa is married to Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai.

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European investors seek RERA and government intervention in protracted dispute with Jumeirah Waves Business Towers project – Al Tayer

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 22, 2009

source Zawya

a-letter-to-dubai-falconJumeirah Waves Business Towers project in Jumeirah Village South remains undeveloped more than two years after investors purchased units from developer.

in Dubai who have bought units in the Jumeirah Waves Business Towers (JWBT), a commercial development project comprises 3 identical towers located in Jumeirah Village South (JVS), are urging government authorities in Dubai, Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) and master Developer of the JVS project, Nakheel, to intervene in an ongoing dispute with the project developer High Rise Properties, a protracted conflict that the complainants claim could potentially hurt the overall investor confidence in Dubai and ultimately deliver a negative impact on Dubai and the United Arab Emirates’investment landscape. A number of European investors revealed that the developer has not started any substantial work on the JWBT developments and has also been unwilling to entertain requests by investors for a refund and compensation since selling to them the units almost two and a half years ago.

The affected investors claimed that up to 50 per cent of the entire units in the 3 towers have been sold out, while buyers have paid between 15 to 60 per cent of the total amount of their respective units. The complainants further said that they do not believe that the delay in the start of construction of the JWBT has been caused by the ongoing global financial crisis since construction work on the project was actually supposed to have started more than two years ago – at the height of the real estate boom in Dubai and the region.

“It has been more than two years since our group and other investors have purchased units in the JWBT development; but until now the project area is still undeveloped and the developer –High Rise Properties- has remained elusive and unable to give us a reasonable time table for the development. There is certainly a breakdown in transparency and accountability somewhere and we urge the concerned government authorities in Dubai, mainly RERA and Nakheel, to step in and resolve this problem before it goes out of hand and negatively affect investor confidence in Dubai,” said Richard Moore, a representative of the affected European investors.

“High rise Properties have given a lot of excuses and promises, but nothing concrete has been done to at least make the investors feel that their investments are being safeguarded. It is not just the money that we have invested in this project that”s at stake here; this kind of attitude by a developer will certainly cause further damage to the reputation of Dubai”s real estate sector at a time when the industry is supposed to be consolidating its forces and building its image to limit the ill-effects of the global financial crisis,” added Moore.

The investors further pointed out that the JWBT developer, High Rise Properties, a company controlled by the influential and powerful Al Tayer family, has earlier made several excuses for being unable to start the project, including an alleged two-year delay in the turnover of the allocated land. The investors also claimed that the project has been registered with RERA, which makes the developer and its owner Abdul Hakim Al Tayer, fully accountable to the government. However, the complainants have urged concerned authorities to act swiftly and with full transparency on the matter as they fear that Al Tayer family may use its clout to influence the result of any investigation that may arise.

Abdul Hakim Al Tayer and the management of High Rise Properties have been uncooperative and we are left with no other resource but to ask the government to help us settle this issue. Naturally, we can”t allow our investments to lay idle for an extended period without knowing what the future holds for the project. Moreover, there is obviously something wrong within this organisation considering it has been two years and they have not made any effort to push this project or reach a settlement with affected investors. Surely, the government must take a look at this case, considering its potential impact on the future of Dubai”s investment climate,” concluded Moore.

For further information and queries pls contact:
Richard Moore
Representative of a group of European Investors in Dubai
e-mail: EuroInvestInDubai@gmail.com

To contact RERA:
Call Center : +971 – 4 – 222 – 1112
Fax No : +971 – 4 – 222 – 2251 ,
Phone No : + 971 – 4 – 222 – 2253
Dubai Land Department,
Real Estate Regulatory Agency

To Contact High Rise Properties:
Telephone: + 971 4 3212120
Fax: + 971 4 3212128
P.O.Box: 11559 Dubai, U.A.E
Email: info@highrise-re.com
Toll Free: 800 HIGHRISE (44447473)

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UK Police Quiz Emirates Passengers On Security Threat

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 22, 2009

source WallStreetJournal

DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)–U.K. police are questioning all 164 passengers from an Emirates Airline flight from Dubai to London’s Gatwick airport after a note implying a security threat was found on the aircraft shortly before landing this morning.

“A note implying a security threat was found today on EK 011 from Dubai to London Gatwick by a passenger, ten minutes before landing,” an Emirates’ spokeswoman said in an emailed statement to Zawya Dow Jones.

“The aircraft is now being thoroughly inspected and the passengers are being interviewed by the local authorities,” the spokeswoman said.

The security alert is the second incident to have hit Emirates, the Middle East’s largest passenger carrier, in the last 48 hours. One of the airline’s planes carrying 225 passengers was forced to make an emergency landing late Friday in the Australian city of Melbourne after its tail struck the tarmac during take-off.

Julie Ayres, a spokeswoman for Gatwick airport, said there was no information on how serious the threat was and that they aircraft is being held in a safe area while its being searched.

Ayres said 164 passengers and 18 crew were onboard the jet and that all had been safely evacuated.

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

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Al Fajer Properties Investors asking Maktoum Hasher” where is our money” – Headlines from Sweden told – Maktoum Hasher Maktoum buys into Saab

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 19, 2009

source Sweden Press

by google translated version

Chinese Geely need money to buy Saab.

Shekh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum al Maktoum.
GT can today reveal the name of a very likely co: Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum al Maktoum

More from the archive Al Fajer Propertie

critical discussion about the Saab Deal

and Saabunited.com

Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Good Times end in Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 19, 2009

source Fiancial Times

including a video

Dubai’s Hot 100 party last month was a reminder of the city’s high-rolling times before the credit crunch. The annual celebration, laid on by a magazine profiling the United Arab Emirates’ smart set, drew a crowd of boldfaced names: Thaksin Shinawatra, former Thai prime minister, mingled with developer Sulaiman al-Fahim, who brokered the sale of Manchester City football club to an Abu Dhabi sheikh.

But among the employees of ITP, the magazine’s publisher, the free drinks were going down with more than the usual gusto. That week ITP cut its staff by about 10 per cent. “People knew the sackings were coming, and sure enough it was rough,” says one of those axed.

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Dubai cheque fraud – Dubai’s police chief: “Communism failed, now capitalism has failed, so I believe now is the time for Islamic finance,” he said.

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 19, 2009

source Financial Times

Dubai’s police chief called yesterday for an easing of regulations on cheque fraud as the emirate’s jails fill with people guilty of bouncing cheques, which are still widely used across the Gulf.

Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan al-Tamim’s call came as the financial crisis plunges rising numbers of residents into unsustainable debt after a lending rampage by “irresponsible” banks.

“We warned them, but banks lent too easily and too broadly,” he said on the sidelines of a conference at Dubai police college. “Banks said it wasn’t our business . . . but we knew in the end it would come back to us.”

Defaulters are treated as criminals if a complaint is issued by a creditor. Prison officials say that about 20 per cent of the city’s 2,400 inmates have been convicted of cheque fraud.

Lawyers say the number of financial-related cases and convictions is ballooning as the slowdown and a property crash combine with disappearing credit lines.

Lt Gen Khalfan said people who have failed to maintain payments on cheques used to underwrite debt – for example, on housing or cars – should be pursued in the civil courts. But those who write bad cheques to acquire goods or services should still be prosecuted as criminals.

Dubai, he said, should play an important role in restruc-turing the global financial architecture, and a solution would be sharia-compliant finance. “Communism failed, now capitalism has failed, so I believe now is the time for Islamic finance,” he said.

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Dubai closed Beach – Jumeirah Beach Test

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 19, 2009

source 7days Dubai

Dubai: The results of water samples collected from Jumeirah Beach to deter-mine whether industrial waste is flowing into the sea have not yet come back from the lab. Dubai Municipality collected water samples on Tuesday and is testing to find out if it contains heavy metal.
“At the moment we have kept the beach closed and will only open it after getting reports that the beach is safe,” said Mohammed Abdul Rahman Hassan, Head of Marine Environment Unit.

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Al Fajer Properties Case opened on Wednesday – lawsuit also targets Sheikh Hasher Maktoum`s daughter as a partner of the firm and the son, Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Maktoum

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 17, 2009

DUBAI, Mar 11, 2009 source Zawya

An Iranian businessman ( Shahram Abdulla Zadeh )  is suing members of Dubai’s ruling family for close to two billion dollars over real estate investments, in a case which opened on Wednesday.

Shahram Abdullah Zadeh, former CEO of Al-Fajer Properties
who was fired in 2008, has filed the lawsuit against the firm and its owner Sheikh Hasher Maktoum bin Jumaa al-Maktoum, a brother-in-law of the emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

The lawsuit also targets Sheikh Hasher’s daughter as a partner of the firm and a son, Sheikh Maktoum, who has since been appointed president of Al-Fajer, according to legal documents obtained by AFP.

The case demands the “recovery of all material assets of Al-Fajer Properties
which gave no immediate reaction to the opening of the case.

Zadeh insists he was the real owner of the company and the only investor.

He had used Sheikh Hasher’s name to obtain the firm’s licence, as foreigners are not allowed to register real estate companies under their own name in the United Arab Emirates.

“I was the sole investor. Al-Fajer Properties
is my company. Sheikh Hasher’s only contribution has been the real estate licence as a sponsor,” he told AFP.

Zadeh is demanding seven billion dirhams (1.9 billion dollars), which “includes the plaintiff’s investments and the return on them,” his lawyer Salem al-Shaali said.

“We have enough documents to prove he was the sole investor,” he added.

Only a representative of the plaintiff’s lawyer was in the Dubai court of first instance for the hearing, which lasted a few minutes. The court’s list named Al-Fajer as the defendant, with no mention of the Maktoums.

The judge referred to them by numbers before the hearing was adjourned to April 8.

Zadeh has said he was detained by Dubai police without charge for 60 days last year, at the same time as he was dismissed, and that his passport was confiscated for a year, without an explanation.

The civil case comes as several executives from high-profile Dubai firms are held on suspicion of embezzlement and as the once booming regional business and tourism hub struggles to stave off the impact of the global economic slowdown.


also pulished in Press TV

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Marnie Pearce jailed in Dubai – Save me and my children

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 17, 2009

marnie-pearce Save me and my Children official Website Marnie Pearce

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Worst Case – You need a lawyer in UAE ? …. Lawyers in UAE are highest paid in the world

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 17, 2009

source business 24/7 ae

Lawyers in the UAE are the highest paid – not just in the region – but across the world, say experts.

As per the figures provided to Emirates Business by Acritas, the legal sector researcher based in UK, the average hourly rates for lawyers in Dubai are the highest.

In the UAE, it’s $610/hour (Dh2,240) and within the country Dubai lawyers charge more ($663/hour) when compared to Abu Dhabi ($551/hour).
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The New Tourism Campaign – The Dubai Executive Council has issued a strict code of conduct, making holding hands and dancing in public illegal

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 16, 2009

The Dubai Executive Council has issued a strict code of conduct, making holding hands and dancing in public illegal. How will Dubai reconcile its reputation for being the region’s party town with the government’s behavioral code?

Mar 15th, 2009 source Kippreport

The Dubai Executive Council (DEC) has launched a campaign against what it considers inappropriate behavior in public, reports Al Arabiya, based on a document leaked to the Arabic-language daily Al Emarat Al Youm.

According to the report, playing loud music, dancing, nudity, kissing, holding hands and being under the influence of alcohol in public will be considered offenses, and may result in jail time and hefty fines.

Furthermore, wearing revealing clothing in public, including short skirts and shirts that expose shoulders, will also be considered offenses.

Kipp called the DEC to get a copy of the list, but the communications director insisted the list had not been published yet. He also noted that the list will be released to the public by Monday, March 16.

When asked if the government will answer questions about the appropriateness of the new code of conduct, he assured Kipp the public announcement will settle all doubts about the code’s viability.

Kipp, however, remains unconvinced. Especially when you consider the explanation the UAE government gave for its comically named campaign against homosexuality – lesbianism in particular – “Excuse me, I’m a girl”.

According to the BBC, the UAE government has launched a series of workshops, lectures and television programs against what it calls ‘delinquent behavior’.  Awatef Al Rayyes, a social worker heading the campaign, explained that the behavior was first identified in special care homes, but spread across Emirati society due to the poor treatment of women by their husbands, and a lack of mingling between the sexes.

The government, however, failed to produce studies showing the extend of the ‘problem’ in the UAE, but insisted the ‘behavior’ is common in all-girls’ schools.

If the DEC’s explanation of its code of conduct is as colorful the UAE government’s explanation for its campaign against lesbianism, then we expect that the emirate’s expatriate population may take no comfort in the DEC’s soon-to-be-published statement.

Conversely, however, it is unlikely many will begrudge the government its attempts to impose its culture and norms on those who live in the UAE. This is their country, after all. However, unlike other nations, 80 percent of the UAE’s population is expatriates, many of whom choose Dubai out of all the GCC nations and emirates because of its tolerance towards foreigners and its relative openness.

Nevertheless, it is probable that the code of conduct may scare off the already shaken expatriate majority. Which brings us to the next point: is this the best time to tell people they can’t hold hands? We’ll grant the DEC nudity. We’ll even grant them revealing clothing. But dancing in public? Loud music? Isn’t loud music a feature of Emirati weddings? What about events held outdoors, such as public relations events and concerts, are they allowed to be loud? Does the rule only apply to expatriates who are not involved in commercial ventures, or does it apply to everyone, at any time?

And what about holding hands? Why would Dubai continue to attract honeymooning couples to pay AED2,000 a night to stay in one of the emirate’s luxury hotels if they can’t hold hands?

In fact, why would any couple visit Dubai if they knew that they could be arrested, fined and jailed if they played loud music, held hands or (heaven forbid) danced in public?

And what about being under the influence of alcohol? According to the article in Al Arabiya, those found with even a minimal amount of alcohol in their system in public will be arrested. What does that mean for those who meet friends at a bar? At some point, they need to walk outside in order to get a cab. Is that illegal?

On the one hand Dubai insists it is a cosmopolitan city. It banks its commercial success on attracting tourists and expatriates keen on experiencing the emirate’s luxuries However, many expatriates and Emiratis will explain that these luxurious are at odds with the emirate’s traditions.

Kipp isn’t breaking new ground here. It’s a problem that’s been plaguing this emirate for years. But it is also a problem that has not been addressed yet, and given what we know about the new code of conduct, it does not seem it is being addressed by the DEC either.

The question remains: how can the local government impose a code of conduct on an emirate that has built its reputation on being the region’s party town?

If the DEC’s statement answers that question, a Dubai riddle would’ve been solved.

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Dubai Court : Bribes for developers were not illegal, claim lawyers – Four former employees of Sama Dubai, one former employee of Damac

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 16, 2009

source TheNational

March 16. 2009 12:42AM UAE

DUBAI // Lawyers for seven former property executives accused of taking bribes and illegal commissions claimed yesterday that there was nothing in UAE law that prohibited what their clients had done.

Four former employees of Sama Dubai, the property arm of the government-owned Dubai Holding, and one former employee of Damac, one of the UAE’s largest private property developers, appeared before the Criminal Court of First Instance to plead not guilty to taking illegal commissions from the sale and resale of land owned by the Government.

Judge Fahmi Mounir granted a defence application for an adjournment but all five men were denied bail. The hearing will resume on Sunday.

At the start of a separate trial, two former employees of Nakheel, the Dubai development company behind such projects as the Palm trilogy, the World and Waterfront, were charged with accepting illegal commissions by charging an extra two per cent for themselves on the sale of land on the Palm Jebel Ali development.

They too pleaded not guilty and were denied bail; the trial was adjourned until March 29.

The men appeared in court yesterday in the first two of what are expected to be a series of trials linked to wide-ranging corruption investigations.

Arrests began more than 10 months ago and as many as 30 executives from several companies are believed to be in custody. Most have yet to be charged.

Details emerged at the hearings of some of the alleged business practices at the heart of the investigation.

In one case, a cash bribe of more than Dh5 million (US$1.36m) was allegedly delivered to a defendant’s home in a black suitcase.

In the Sama case, the former CEO of The Lagoons project, AM, 42, is accused of having accepted five apartments, worth Dh2.69m, and Dh200,000 in cash from a company seeking to delay payments on seven properties it had purchased in The Lagoons.

He is charged with failing to terminate the company’s contract for defaulting on its payments and allowing the resale of the properties on its behalf.

His actions, prosecutors said, resulted in a loss of Dh137m that Sama could have made had it sold the land to another investor. The company also lost Dh4.63m in transfer fees.

An expert from the Dubai Financial Control Department said in a statement that AM had registered four of the apartments in his name and one in his wife’s.

MA, NA and MB, a 41-year-old former sales manager, a 23-year-old sales consultant and a 28-year-old sales executive with Sama Dubai, who all also worked on The Lagoons project, are charged with making Dh4.85m in illegal commissions from three separate property deals.

It is alleged that in one they asked for a one per cent commission for reselling land owned by a private company, worth Dh1.35m, through Sama. They are also accused of asking for a commission of Dh1.11m for the resale of land belonging to a sheikh.

In a third deal, they allegedly asked for Dh2.37m from Damac for the resale of three plots of land it owned in The Lagoons.

Farhan Faridoni, the CEO of Sama, said in a statement that company policy did not allow employees to operate as property middlemen: “The role of employees is merely to facilitate financing procedures in case investors wished to transfer their property to another investor.”

All four defendants are also charged with revealing company secrets in the form of price lists and the names of owners.

This, added Mr Faridoni, was in breach of a “secrecy clause” in their employment contracts and in agreements between Sama and its client.

A fifth defendant in the Sama case is charged with accepting a bribe of Dh650,000. AH, a 32-year-old Syrian and former manager at Damac, is also charged with conspiring with MA and MB to take illegal commissions from Damac over the resale of three plots.

Hamdi al Shiwi, MA’s lawyer, told the court the men’s actions “were permissible and legitimate as they are not criminalised by a specific legal text”.

His application for his client and co-defendant to be released for any bail terms the court saw fit was refused.

My client has been detained for all these months for actions which are not criminal acts, therefore precautionary detention is not justified,” he said. “He is an Emirati and a resident of Dubai, therefore there is no risk of flight.”

The men, he said, had deserved the commissions, which had been earned outside their official duties and in a personal capacity. Lawyers for the four other defendants agreed and asked the court for time to examine the 4,000-page prosecution case file.

In the second trial, two former executives with Nakheel were charged with asking for a bribe in the form of an extra two per cent commission for themselves on the sale of land on Nakheel’s Palm Jebel Ali project.

KM, 28, an Egyptian former sales executive, and WJ, 32, an Emirati former sales manager, are said to have taken a commission of Dh5.13m on a deal worth Dh265m. This was in excess of the commission charged by Nakheel that was included in the price.

Mr al Shiwi, who also represents KM, applied in vain for his client’s release on bail, claiming there was a lack of compelling evidence. “My client has been in custody for 10 months while investigations continued, no evidence was shown by prosecutors,” he said. Sameer Jaafar, WJ’s lawyer, also pleaded for his client’s release on bail; he was an Emirati, a senior manager and his place of residence was known. He had already spent seven and half months in detention.

The prosecution’s key witness, an American sales consultant at Nakheel, said in a statement that in June 2008 he learnt that WJ was prepared to sell several sea-facing plots of land on the Palm Jebel Ali that had been reserved for a five-star hotel. In return for the sale, WJ was asking for an extra two per cent cash commission for himself and KM. AD, 31, said he pretended to go along with the men’s plans but later told officials at Dubai Holding what was going on.

more on 7days ” Briberiy trial”

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The heartbreaking moment in Dubai – Marnie Pearce might be never see their children again

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 15, 2009

Source The SUN UK

dubaimum2009Blonde Marnie Pearce, 40, had been on the run since an arrest warrant was issued against her in the Arab emirate.

The teaching assistant denies her ex-hubby’s claim she committed adultery, a crime in the strict Muslim country.

But Marnie gave herself up and is serving a three-month sentence in a harsh jail before being deported.

Her friends released the heartbreaking video of the mum handing over her sons to their Egyptian dad Ihab El Labban on the steps of the court.

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Dubai`s Business Culture in Question – A Business Culture of Keeping Quiet

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 11, 2009

original published 11 Mar 2009

Being a business journalist has never been easy in the notoriously tight-lipped UAE. But will investors tolerate Dubai & Co’s culture of keeping quiet amid a global financial crisis, asks Dana El-Baltaji for Arab Media & Society.

A few months ago, I conducted a small experiment. I sent out emails and faxes to over ten companies in the GCC, asking the investor relations officers to reply with information on their disclosure policies.  I wanted to see how many would send me what is widely regarded as public information. I got exactly one response, and it was the wrong one. The officer sent me his company’s brochure. The experiment was a total failure.

But it proved something that I and many business journalists already know: Companies in the GCC, especially private and government-owned corporations, are not forthcoming about their company details.   This can include anything from earnings statements, to information on layoffs, new hires, or, as I discovered, their guidelines on what data – if any – to make public.

As a business journalist, all I need are numbers and the occasional interview to write my story. Without them, I’ll have to rely on rumors, outdated information or one of the press releases that flood my inbox to write on the UAE’s companies. Or if I’m lucky, I can rely on a friend who’s willing to leak information about her company in exchange for a free dinner (seriously).

But getting a hold of figures is a problem. And while some say it’s only a transparency issue, I disagree. It’s also a censorship issue, albeit an indirect one: companies’ lack of transparency means they don’t need the government to censor business news, because the necessary information isn’t available in the first place.

Journalists, then, rely on rumors. And as one PR executive at Nakheel told me a few years ago, local companies don’t respond to rumors.

In fact, local companies respond to very little. They have a culture of keeping quiet about big news, including arrests, layoffs and the cancellation of major property developments.  But there’s only so much negative news they can hold back from the public, especially now during the financial crisis, when the “Dubai dream” appears to be frying in its own oil.

A Culture of Keeping Quiet

Secrecy isn’t just a corporate phenomenon; it’s a national one. Many Emiratis don’t like to talk about their companies, their families, their society or their culture. They keep information to themselves across the board, which is why many expatriates living in the UAE know very little about their host country.

I decided, then, to look into the issue of national identity, and how it can lead to a lack of transparency in the corporate world. My research began with a meeting with Aisha Sultan, an Emirati writer and columnist, and part-time manager of political programs on Dubai TV.

Frankly, she caught me off guard. I was expecting to meet a woman who didn’t really want to talk about Emirati society, but felt she needed to. I was ready to coax her into talking, and warm up with small talk. Instead, Sultan, told me where to sit, positioned by dictaphone and told me to get rolling. She had grocery shopping to do, and she had a lot to say. “Let’s begin,” she said.

Sultan agreed to meet me to discuss the challenges the UAE is facing with its national identity. She also agreed to explain why, in spite of being one of the most visible cities on Earth, Dubai refuses to discuss societal, corporate and governmental issues in public.

“Our problem,” she explained, “is that our heads are stuck in the tribes, and our bodies are in the state. We don’t know who we are.” In the UAE, the challenges Emiratis face in determining their national identity is a basic one, a struggle to reconcile tribal and federal identities. Many Emiratis still identify with their tribe, and not with the state, causing more complications when determining what defines the UAE’s national identity. Interestingly, even among themselves, Emiratis do not reveal too much information about their families, businesses or their personal lives.

The national identity issues are further compounded by the presence of millions of foreigners in their country; according to reports, the UAE is made up of roughly 90 percent foreigners, although some government estimates are between 80-85 percent. Either way, Emiratis are a minority. And like most minorities, they tend to self-segregate and are increasingly worried about keeping their traditions and customs alive.

More importantly, however, the lopsided demographics have led Emiratis to feel at risk of losing their power over their nation. Consequently, they are not forthcoming about the UAE’s real population, and the government’s websites have outdated, and some say, inaccurate statistics about the nation.

“We don’t say anything,” Sultan adds. “We don’t talk about anything, and anyone who does is silenced immediately. It can be about something trivial, but because it has something to do with Emiratis, it’s not ok to talk about it. Even if it’s business.”

Not surprisingly, Emiratis’ unwillingness to disclose information about themselves has translated into being overprotective of data and figures. It’s a culture evident in corporations and the local government.

Disclose at Your Peril

Under current Emirati law, public companies must disclose their annual (and sometimes quarterly) results. In the future, they will also be obliged to publish their corporate governance practices.

Private companies, however, don’t need to be forthcoming, especially the multi-billion dollar, headline grabbing variety. Why? Because in the UAE, there are two types of big, local businesses: family companies, and government-owned corporations. They rely on their own credit to finance their deals and operational costs. Therefore, they have no obligation to disclose their financial dealings, how they practice corporate governance and whether they had a profitable year because they don’t need our money.

In fact, it’s their right to be as opaque as their tinted car windows. As one businessman — who wished to remain anonymous — told me at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Sharm El Sheikh, 2008: “It’s my business. No one can tell me how to run my business.”

The result of this approach is twofold. Professor Ludo Van der Heyden, a specialist on family businesses at INSEAD, a leading business school in France, explains: “It is difficult for people outside the [family] system to get in. Firstly, [outsiders] don’t understand the system, and secondly, they’re not invited in.

“One of the key principals in good governance is to have a good level of transparency and clarity,” he adds. “But what is clear to the family is not clear to outsiders. And they don’t want to be clear to outsiders.”

Consequently, private corporations, both family and government owned, are regarded with suspicion. And, not surprisingly, journalists can only assume that the corporations’ accounting books must read like best-selling fiction.

But Nabil Al Yousuf, executive president of the Dubai School of Government, has another explanation: “I think that the fact that we don’t have a tax regime means many companies are not asked to disclose their financials. Actually, this enforces that culture of being completely closed when it comes to information. There is this fear that if we disclose too much information we will be asked to pay taxes, or we will be asked to contribute[…]. So we just keep our numbers to ourselves as much as possible.”

But it isn’t just the numbers businesses are secretive about. They don’t reveal layoffs, arrests, deals, and how the corporations are run. And in the UAE, suspicions are further compounded with the power only a handful of families have in companies throughout the nation. There are some chairmen, like Emaar’s Mohamed Ali Alabbar, who are on the board of over 20 companies.

In the UAE, corporations do business with people they know, like family members. Multi-million dollar deals are agreed over cups of coffee and handshakes. According to the businessman I spoke to at the WEF, it’s how business is done in the region: “The local culture and the social norms are big factors here; businessmen cannot simply ignore them because they do not exist in the West.”

“We do business a certain way in the GCC; we have always conducted business this way, and there is no need to change it. Especially when you consider how few of us locals are working in the GCC. If I want to do business, I am bound to do business with a family member or an old friend. It’s not only because it is the way we have always done things in Dubai, but also because there are so few of us. It’s bound to happen.”

Blurring the Line

The insular Emirati commercial elite have also done extensive business with the government. They helped the federation build the UAE from scratch, forming long-lasting business ties and friendships with rulers and ministers. Ultimately, such close relationships blur the lines between the government and corporations, which is a point of contention for Aisha Sultan : “Why is the government and the corporate world so intertwined in the Emirates?” she asked. “Where in the world is this acceptable? Doesn’t this vagueness cause a conflict of interests?”

Indeed it does. Interestingly, the UAE government agrees. In the first week of December 2008, it released a law forbidding government ministers from conducting “professional work, commercial, financial or any trade deal with the federal government or local governments while on duty,” the official news agency WAM reported.

The law doesn’t do much to separate the state from the corporate world, but it’s a start.

Unfortunately, it’s a slow and late start. Ever since the real estate bubble burst in Dubai in September 2008, and soon after the arrests of Zack Shahin, former-CEO of Deyaar, Saad Abdul Razak, the CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank and Rifaat Othmani, the former VP for finance structure at Dubai Islamic Bank, investor confidence in Dubai’s and the UAE’s offerings plummeted. Ultimately, there are factors in the way business has always been conducted in the nation that need to change in order to restore investor confidence.

As credit dries up around the globe, investors in Dubai no longer trust the seemingly wild ambitions that local companies have for the nation’s future. And while local, private and government owned corporations might not need investor cash to stay afloat, Emirati businesses do need consumers to buy their products, tourists to fill their malls and hotel suites, and mental investments in their “vision” to sustain their image as an oasis of growth.

And because the Emirates was successful in attracting thousands of foreign investors who are used to dealing with companies that disclose their financial and corporate details willingly, it needs to give them what they want: an understanding of how local companies operate and how they are financed.

Assuming the Worst

Local companies’ lack of transparency has resulted in negative reports in the media that may blow market realities out of proportion, like news of dramatic drops in property prices in ‘hot’ locations like The Palm, Jumeriah. As many journalists know, one negative report — baseless or otherwise—  will instigate others, until finally enough negative press is written about a subject to shake investor confidence further, leading to more losses.

The irony is that because the UAE’s biggest companies are family and government owned, and because they are funded by federal and private capital, and (typical of family and government businesses in the region) have relied very little on credit, many companies in the Emirates have been relatively unaffected by the credit crunch.

In fact, according to Professor Ludo Van der Heyden, the credit crisis has exposed the strengths of family businesses: “The first reason is that families don’t like credit. They like equity. They don’t like heavy borrowing. They don’t have much debt,” he explains. “Secondly, family businesses like to understand what they are investing in, so they don’t like these financial instruments that are in trouble today. So, I think that private firms and family firms will come out of the crisis just fine.”

This isn’t to suggest that the UAE economy will remain unharmed by the credit crisis. What it does suggest, however, is that if companies were more forthcoming about their facts and figures, and investors had more confidence in the nation’s businesses and developments, the Emirates would not be losing as many investors as it is today. They’d know that the nation’s corporations have strong foundations, and that, in spite of the world economic meltdown, the UAE won’t go under.

Ultimately, what it all boils down to is transparency and accountability, and the perception that corporations in the UAE don’t respect the two. Without public disclosure of information, whether it be financial or managerial, journalists and the public are likely to assume the worst of any corporation. Who wouldn’t?

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Comment of the Week – to Al Fajer Properties Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 11, 2009

I am not a lawyer, but as a real estate investor I am familiar with the real estate license being registered in the name of a local because the laws do not permit a non UAE national to be the owner of a real estate company. Every single real estate company I know has done the same thing.

The big question is,



I don’t know any of the parties involved. I fail to understand why they have taken over Al fajer Properties when zadeh was detained without any charges for 2 months???? wHY THE AUTHORITIES ARE NOT REPLYING ABOUT THE 2 MONTHS JAIL WITHOUT CHARGES??This is going to damage dubai’s reputation and will hurt the rest of the real estate market because at the end, dubai will be regarded as a city that investors do not have the basic security. So what is the difference between Dubai and Zimbabwe? Mugabe did the same to my parents’ farms.

Very sad, because it affects all our businesses.

Dear John, I am sure sheikh hasher maktoum is an honorable man in your eyes but sheikh hasher and zadeh have to be treated equally under the law or we have to accept Dubai is Zimbabwe

read more about ….. Al Fajer Properties

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RERA Dubai Project Indicators now online

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 10, 2009

For more information click: RERA Dubai

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Dubai orders silence as the mirage fades

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 10, 2009

Published 2009-03-10 00:37  MetroInternational

Hoteliers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, have been banned from revealing how bad business has become, as rulers in the desert kingdom desperately try to hide how its economy has been hit by the recession.

The government-run Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) wrote to all hotel owners on Feb. 26, ordering them to make no statements to media, locally or internationally, about things such as room occupation, tourist numbers or revenues.

DTCM said it would “take the initiative of providing statements about the tourism in Dubai in general.”

This was “to ensure accuracy of the information published about Dubai” and to “avoid any misleading or conflicting statements,” the letter said.

The directive was issued following “statements in the mass media from some of the tourism industry members about the current situation of the tourism in Dubai.”

The letter was issued by Eyad Ali Abdul Rahman, executive director, media relations division and acting director, business development at DTCM.

Media outlets have reported hotel managers complaining that room occupancy in the emirate is at dire levels, and that the boom years, aimed at turning Dubai into a global tourism and trade center, were over.

Dubai faced humiliation last month when it had to beg its more powerful neighbor, Abu Dhabi, for a $10 billion bailout to service its obligations. 

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Dubai – The very special Hand Over Blues Made by DAMAC – Developer asks for extra 5 %

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 10, 2009

Dubai March 2009 Xpress4Me

Owners of the Lake View building at the Jumeirah Lake Towers by Damac Properties are up in arms after the developer asked them to pay an extra five per cent of their property value weeks before the final handover.

Owners of units in the Lake View building at the Jumeirah Lake Towers received a notice from Damac on February 9 stating that the floor space of their unit has been revised and that they have to pay between Dh30,000 and Dh55,000 extra on their final invoice, otherwise they will be charged a penalty or risk losing their property. The handover is this Sunday.

Ali Mohammad, owner of a two-bedroom unit, said Damac has turned down his request to have his apartment measured by a surveyor.

“They said I would have to pay the additional fees by the handover date. Only then would they reimburse me if any discrepancies were found with the measured size of the apartment,” said Mohammad.

Bank executive Salman Jawaid, who bought an apartment in September, said the fee was “unjustified” as the mortgage deal stipulated that “the first payment was to be made on the day of the handover”.

Roger Fleming, who bought a one-bedroom apartment, said he has been asked to pay Dh35,000 for an extra 54 sq ft.

Land fee

Fleming said he was puzzled by the two per cent shown in his invoice as “land fee”. “I contacted Rera (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) and found out the land fee is one per cent and that it should be paid directly to Rera,” he said.

Niall McLoughlin, Damac Senior Vice-President for Corporate Communications, has urged owners to be patient. He said the interpretation of Article Number 12 of Law 13 has yet to be clarified. “We expect Rera to shortly issue by-laws in relation to area variations. Obviously, we will adhere to any regulations issued by Rera.”

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According to reports, Dubai Inc may soon have a PR agency to help change its image in the media. Will it work?

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 9, 2009

Kippreport  Dubai , March 9 , 2009

It seems as though Dubai finally understands the need to be open, and to provide answers to legitimate questions. A senior delegation of Dubai’s financial and economic leaders went hunting for public relations firms in London last week, reports The National. They apparently wanted to find out the cause behind all the negative publicity that Dubai is getting in the international media, and what they can do to improve its image.

The paper also reported that soon Dubai Inc will select one firm from a shortlist of candidates to help the emirate spread the good news.

Good PR is something that Dubai needs at the moment; especially since the world’s press is reporting – sardonically – about Dubai’s hardships, and how the emirate’s party has ended. Lack of transparency in the city spawned numerous rumors that the government has not confirmed or denied, including reports of an increasing number of cars being left at the airport and the imminent downfall of the once ‘glamorous’ city.

Fixing Dubai’s PR woes, however, depends on the brief given to the PR agency, says Alexander McNabb, the group account director of Spot On Public Relations.

“Public relations is very much like being a doctor. If you come to me and say I’m not sick, then I can do nothing for you. If you come to me and tell me what is wrong with you, then I can help to work with you and diagnose what is wrong, and then work to put it right,” he says.

“If you come to me and say I have got the greatest company in the world, and I want you to make everyone believe that, my question is why doesn’t everyone believe it today?” he asks, adding that it is essential to test that greatness. “When we do that, we find that there’s stuff you need to fix in the company, its processes, in the way that the company communicates, what its assets truly are; it has to test those assumptions before you go and do the job of PR.”

If the brief being given to the agency is ‘work with us to work on this process’, then that’s a wonderful thing. But if the brief being given to the agency is ‘we want a positive media coverage for Dubai’, then I think it cannot work,” he says.

The first challenge PR agencies face is separating fact from fiction; to publicize an honest and accurate account of how Dubai has been hit by the financial crisis (because it has been hit by the financial crisis), before it begins to extol the ‘greatness’ of the city. They will need to give numbers and names, and then talk about how they will get back to normal, and what they’re doing to achieve that goal.

The last thing Dubai needs is more public proclamations on how rosy everything is in Dubai, which include statements from officials, such as Mohamed Ali Alabbar, the head of Emaar properties: “Our feet are firmly planted on the ground, and our eyes remain fixed on new horizons, on a future that remains bright.” The statement was made in November 2008, weeks before companies in Dubai went on a firing spree.

But McNabb says that while transparency is essential, it may not happen as quickly as one would want.

Bringing about a change in the perspective of Dubai Inc is going to take time, he says, “Because you want to build something enduring. It’s not about putting a sticky plaster over the negative media, but about building something that works […] across the long term, and that gives you long term value.”

“[…] That means investing in the process. Not just financially, but with resources, with intellectual capacity, with the guidance of people who are able to take decisions from the very top […] if it’s going to work.”

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Dubai – Industrial City official on trial for Dh17m fraud

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 9, 2009

March 09, 2009, 17:29     xpress4me

A senior executive at Dubai Industrial City (DIC) was arraigned on Monday morning on charges of fraud and abuse of public office at the Dubai Criminal Courts.

DIC’s sales manager, Abdel Razak A., 32, is the latest high-level official charged with fraud in the string of probe into white-collar crime by Dubai Public Prosecution in its fraud inquiry.

Abdel Razak is charged with embezzling Dh16.9 million in illegal commissions he allegedly took from companies renting and buying land at the DIC, near Jebel Ali Airport covering 560 million sq ft.

In his testimony to prosecutors, DIC Vice President Rashid Al Ansary said that between June 2006 and July 2007, Abdel Razak embezzled more than Dh30 million.

He added that Abdel Razak received a monthly salary of Dh23,250 in addition to commissions that were granted if sales and rental goals were reached.

Abdel Razak was discovered to have been allegedly informing prospective clients that plots were booked by imaginary customers.

He then informed the clients that a deposit has to be repaid in order to buy out the land from the previous owner and clients would send the money into the account of a mobile phones trading company named Online LLC, pocketing the money for him self.

According to Al Ansary’s statement to prosecutors, Abdel Razak was discovered to have received Dh800, 000 from Utmost Trading in 2007.

An internal investigation then revealed that Abdel Razak was monopolising the plot sales to individuals who paid him large amounts as commissions.

“We contacted directors of Utmost and met with them in our head office, they explained to us all the details of the transaction and when we questioned Abdel Razak, he confessed and paid back the full amount,” Al Ansary told prosecutors.

Abdel Razak was then suspended from work, and his personal computer was seized. Emails and documents were discovered revealing more illegal commissions.

Abdel Razak testified to prosecutors that he did receive Dh800,000 as commission and returned it at the request of his company but also said that this was the commonplace in the market.

“Every one is taking advantage of their company positions and making money but only if that does not affect the company negatively,” the suspect told prosecutors.

He also testified to prosecutors that he informed his clients that Online LLC was his company and he represented it while working at Dubai Industrial City, bringing in high-level clients who make deals worth Dh200 million.

He also stated that he blocked out prime real estate for his best clients and sold it to them, earning the company high profits.

Abdel Razak is due to appear in court again Thursday next week for more witness testimonies.

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Seven corruptors who reportedly swindled Dh1.8 billion ($501 million) from Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), being referred to court

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 9, 2009

GulfNews    March 09, 2009, 20:00

The authorities campaign against corruption continues, with the case of seven corruptors who reportedly swindled Dh1.8 billion ($501 million) from Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), being referred to court, Gulf News learnt on Monday.

This is biggest (in terms of amount of financial irregularities) and third corruption case that the Public Prosecution has referred to the Dubai Court of First Instance.

Gulf News earlier reported that the corruption cases involving Mizin and Sama Dubai had been referred to court.

According to the arraignment sheet, the Public Prosecution referred five businessmen and two former senior executives of DIB to court where they will be prosecuted facing different charges of swindling, forgery and bribery.

The Public Prosecution charged three businessmen, 36-year-old Turkish (who’s at large) A.I., 48-year-old British C.M. and his 54-year-old compatriot R.L. with defrauding $501 million from DIB.

According to the arraignment sheet, the Public Prosecution referred five businessmen and two former senior executives of DIB to court where they will be prosecuted facing different charges of swindling, forgery and bribery.

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Dubai Tourist Visa confusion: Don’t trust that stamp in your passport

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 9, 2009

The National

March 09. 2009 12:36AM UAE / March 8. 2009 8:36PM GMT

citytalk-bannerDUBAI // Some visitors to the UAE are facing heavy fines upon leaving the country because of erroneous official stamps in their passports.

Under the rule changes introduced last July, all visit visas are now valid for 30 days instead of 60. Yet a number visitors since then have been given stamps in their passports showing 60-day validity.

“I came in on Dec 28 and was given a visa at the airport that says ‘60 days from date of entry’,” said Anne, a British citizen. “I left 43 days later but was stopped at passport control and told that there were no more 60-day visas. The man said they were all 30 days, and I had to pay an Dh800 (US$218) fine. I wasn’t the only one; the people in front of me were having to pay Dh3,000. It was lucky that I had just enough cash on me or I would have missed my flight.”She said she was offered no explanation about when or why the rules had changed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Defence blames Tamim’s killing on ‘affairs – several Arab leaders and businessmen with whom the victim had affairs had motives to kill her.

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 9, 2009

Last Updated: March 09. 2009 9:30AM UAE / March 9. 2009 5:30AM GMT

A defence lawyer for the man accused of killing the Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim said yesterday that several Arab leaders and businessmen with whom the victim had affairs had motives to kill her.

Atef el Manawi, the lawyer for Mohsen el Sokari, 39, a former Egyptian police officer, disputed DNA and video evidence presented by the prosecution. The singer, 31, was found dead in her apartment in Jumeirah Beach Residences on July 28 last year. Read the rest of this entry »

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Khoie Properties, the developer behind a proposed Dh2 billion (US$545 million) project on the man-made island of Al Marjan in Ras al Khaimah, is insolvent, its chief financial officer said yesterday – 800 investors in La Hoya Bay, 50 per cent are from the UK

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 9, 2009

Khoie Properties, the developer behind a proposed Dh2 billion (US$545 million) project on the man-made island of Al Marjan in Ras al Khaimah, is insolvent, its chief financial officer said yesterday.

The La Hoya Bay project was sold to hundreds of investors, many from Britain, who are now pressing the Government of Ras al Khaimah to intervene because little progress has been made.

A senior member of the board of Khoie Properties is in jail after being detained by police for allegedly failing to honour a cheque written to pay for the land. Read the rest of this entry »

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What must an investor do if he suspects a developer isn’t meeting construction milestones?

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 9, 2009

original published GulfNews

Article (17) of Law No (8) 2007 is introduced, what must an investor do if he suspects a developer isn’t meeting construction milestones?

Law No (8) of 2007 came into effect on June 28, 2007.

Article (17) details circumstances under which a developer shall be cancelled from the Register of Developers. One circumstance is that the developer has failed to start construction within six months of being granted permission to sell off-plan, except
if the developer has an acceptable excuse.

No developer may carry out real estate development activities unless it is on the Register of Developers. Under Article (17), the Land Department is in charge of the Register of Developers and therefore where an investor feels a developer
is in breach of Article (17) and they cannot sort the matter between themselves, the investor should approach the Land Department
to help resolve the issue.

If I’m already an off-plan investor, will the new law be
of assistance to me too?
Law No. (8) of 2007 applies to contracts between investors and developers whether signed before, on or after June 28, 2007. While that law does not oblige a developer to use a payment schedule that is linked to construction milestones, RERA has recently made three recommendations.

Firstly, each developer will be restricted from collecting more than 30% of payments on developments until the developer started construction. Secondly, each developer will be precluded from selling off-plan until (i) it owns the land to be developed and (ii) it has completed
at least 20% of construction.

Thirdly, each payment plan must link payment installments to milestones in  the construction of the development. Although these recommendations are not yet law, this seems to be
RERA’s intention.

Under the new rental regulation, how do I know whether the cap applies to the property I’m leasing?

If property was rented during 2008 and the rent in 2008 was between the average standard rent and 75% of the average standard rent, then the rent in 2009 may not be increased (certain increases are permitted where the 2008 rent was less than 75% of the average standard rent).

A property’s average standard rent will likely be halfway between the low figure and the high figure for rents in that area in Dubai. (For details go to http://www.rpdubai.ae.)

I’ve heard that if investors have disputes with a developer and want to pursue matters further, they need to put down 7.5% of the total cost of the investment as a down payment, before they will be heard at a tribunal. Is this true?
In the contract between the investor and the developer, there will be a clause that states whether disputes are to be resolved before the Dubai Court or at arbitration. This clause will state the conditions (if any) that must be satisfied before a dispute goes to court or to arbitration.

It is possible that a specific contract would require payment of a given percentage of the purchase price,
but there are no hard-and-fast rules.
The investor should carefully read the terms of his contract in order to establish his position.  

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Dubai – Only One in Seven Estate agents Know of Service Charge

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 5, 2009

5 March 2009
original published KhaleejTimes

city-talk-falconResearchers from PRD Nationwide posed as buyers
to test whether agents knew the service charges in different areas they were selling.

“For the Palm, some of them told us that we wouldn’t have to pay anything,” said Simon Earl, research manager at the company.

He added that Palm Jumeirah had the highest levels of service charges for villas in Dubai at Dh4 per sq ft.

The highest service charges for apartments were found in Downtown Burj Dubai at Dh22.5 per sq ft and JBR at Dh21.75 per sq ft.<o:p

Residents of JBR have seen a 129 per cent increase from 2008’s rate o
Dh9.5 per sq ft.

The report said that 31 per cent of developers
o not include a sinking fund in their service charges.

Sinking funds are set aside each year to pay for long-term maintenance to the building and the report states that a lack of a fund ‘exposes owners to potential special levies in the future’.

“Properties that do not have a reserve fund are probably accumulating insufficient funds,” the
report said. “The future outlook for some buildings appears very bleak.
“The likelihood is that building charges are likely to increase substantially when the Strata Law

takes effect

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MGM and Dubai World failed to reach an agreeement with Deutsche Bank – MGN loan talks collapse

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 5, 2009

Last Updated: March 5, 2009 00:00 EST

original published Bloomberg

MGM Mirage (MGM) and Dubai World failed to reach an agreement with Deutsche Bank (DB), according to people close to the situation, and talks on a $1.2B loan to complete the Las Vegas CityCenter project have collapsed. Deutsche had been seeking equity and debt stakes in the $11.2B Las Vegas development. MGM Mirage and Dubai World are now said to be holding talks with other parties. Yesterday, MGM Mirage also warned it may breach its debt covenants this year if economic conditions worsen. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dominique Van Der Lienden was found dead in her car outsideDubai Ibn Battatu mall last Friday.

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 5, 2009

original pulished March, 05  2009   7days

The family of a Mauritius woman stabbed to death outside a shopping mall have arrived in Dubai to take her body home. Mum-of-two Dominique Van Der Lienden was found dead in her car outside Ibn Battatu mall last Friday. Family friend David Sleith described Dominique and her husband Rob, who is among those who have been questioned by police over her death, as a “wonderful, happy couple”. He added that Dominique was an outgoing and kind person. “We’re really in shock because I cannot imagine anyone wanting to do this. She was always such a nice woman, really a great friend to everyone,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Al Fajer Properties Shahram Zadeh lawsuit

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 5, 2009

Iranian’s lawsuit reveals royals’ power in UAE

ABU DHABI — A member of the royal family in the United Arab Emirates has for the first time been sued by an Iranian executive on charges of fraud.

Shahram Abdullah Zadeh has sued the brother-in-law of the emir of Dubai in an unprecedented civil action in the UAE. The 37-year-old Iranian national has accused the brother-in-law, Hasher Maktoum Bin Juma’a Al Maktoum, of trying to take over Zadeh’s real estate firm.
“He thought he could do it all because he’s a sheik,” Zadeh said.

The suit has challenged the transparency of the justice system of Dubai, which requires foreign investors to take on a UAE partner. Zadeh said he reverted to a civil action when prosecutors refused to file criminal charges against Hasher.

Zadeh, a life-long resident of Dubai, said he selected Hasher as the required UAE partner in Al Fajer Properties, established in 2004 and now worth $2 billion. Zadeh said he and Hasher fell into a dispute amid delays in building a billion-dollar office tower.

The economic downturn in the UAE has harmed a range of partnerships with foreign investors. In Dubai, the commercial capital, police have detained nearly 20 executives on suspicion of fraud. None of the detainees was connected to the ruling Al Maktoum family.

“There is no room for corruption and the corrupt,” Dubai ruler Mohammed Al Maktoum said. “In all corruption cases, people are not only prosecuted and punished, administrative and legal holes that they exploited to commit their crimes are plugged. No one in the emirates is above the law and accountability.”

Zadeh said Hasher, who ignored two summonses, exploited his connections to the ruling family to have the Iranian arrested. In February 2008, Zadeh was imprisoned for 60 days and pressed to renounce links to Al Fajer.

As Zadeh languished in prison, Hasher was said to have taken over Al Fajer and appointed his son chief executive officer. By the time, he was released, Zadeh found that his office safe was ransacked and cleansed of any documents that linked him to the company.

At one point, Zadeh appealed to Dubai’s emir. He said the emir did not respond to the complaint against his brother-in-law.

“We understand that Al Fajer Properties is controlled by a powerful member of Dubai’s ruling family,” Moses Oye, who represents investors in another Al Fajer project, said.

Still, Al Fajer continues to operate. On April 15, Al Fajer and the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency announced the first transfer of property using a new official online system. Hasher’s son, Maktoum, was identified as president of Al Fajer. Zadeh was not mentioned.

Foreign investors have demanded an investigation of another Al Fajer project, Ebony Ivory. The investors, alleging fraud, have called on the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency to force Al Fajer to issue a refund.

“We have paid approximately $140 million and have a signed contract from Sheik Maktoum Bin Hasher Al Maktoum,” Oye, who represents investors from Britain, Canada, India, Iran, Pakistan and the United States, said. “Now, we want our money back.”



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Al Fajer Properties – Comment of the day

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 5, 2009

dubai-2009-globus-small1I started with Al Fajer Properties from day 1 under Dr. Shahram and saw how he invested his money, dedicated his time 24/7 and created a brand out of Al Fajer. Sheikh Hasher Maktoum is an old fashioned 65 year old who loves gossip and whispers.

All the Al Fajer staff witnessed how Dr. Shahram fought with Al Ahmadiah (sheikh hasher’s contracting company that was building the towers for al fajer), because Al Ahmadiah was not doing anything on site. That was damaging Al fajer Properties name and Dr. Shahram felt responsible towards the investors and thats what triggered sheikh hasher maktoum’s aggressive behaviour towards Dr shahram.

The son, Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Al maktoum, was a nobody. Even Sheikh Hasher always told us not to let him in the office! I remember sheikh maktoum hasher used to call Dr. Shahram’s secretary or the receptionist and request to book the meeting room to bring his friends and show off!!!

When Dr Shahram disappeared, we were told by sheikh maktoum hasher that the state security has taken him and he is never coming back!!! That was the begining of a series of illegal activity by sheikh maktoum hasher in the company, including changing documents, illegal sales of properties, threatening many staff members with state security arrests,…etc

Everyone in Al Fajer knows that Dr. Shahram was & is the owner of Al Fajer Properties. Sheikh maktoum hasher always uses his “uncles” name Sheikh Mohammed Bin rashid, the dubai ruler to threaten people.

The rest of the world is not stupid, somebody is locked up for 60 days, tortured, passport confiscated for a year, no charges against him, his business has been stolen by the brother in law of dubai ruler, the case he filed at the public prosecution is closed without an explanation.

Is this the fair, just society that sheikh mohammed bin rashid has envisioned in his Dubai Strategy? So the government is actively helping criminals? Why nobody dares to talk?

Al Fajer Employee
22. February 2009

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Dubai payments dry up – Contractors hit

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 5, 2009

original published Financial Times

March 4 2009 22:00 | Last updated: March 4 2009 22:00

Not so long ago Dubai was an El Dorado for construction and property companies. Attracted by some of the world’s most ostentatious and expensive projects, contractors and subcontractors from around the world flooded in to help the ambitious emirate turn itself into a modern metropolis.

Now, in the latest sign of the slowdown enveloping the Gulf, contractors working in Dubai are facing severe cash flow problems as state-linked developers, hampered by blocked credit markets, -fleeing investors and a tumbling local property market, fail to meet their financial commitments.

Some contractors and consultants have not been paid for up to six months, and large Dubai-affiliated developers owe billions of dollars, according to contractors, lawyers and executives.

They say large government-controlled developers in the emirate, such as Nakheel and Emaar, are among those failing to pay.

Economists at National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia’s largest lender, estimate that $250bn (€199bn, £178bn) of projects have been cancelled or delayed in the seven-state United Arab Emirates – the majority in Dubai.

“The economy just stopped in the middle of November,” said Chris Cole, chief executive of WSP, a British design consultant active in the country.

Spending on two of WSP’s contracts, the Dubai World Trade Centre and Meraas Developments, has been reined in since last November and the company is estimated to have set aside more than £4m to cover bad debts in the emirate.

Justin Atkinson, chief executive of Keller, a UK-based foundations specialist, said the company was still waiting to be paid for sums outstanding on the Palm Deira, an artificial island development that was scaled back late last year.

“The official line from developers is that we will be paid, but probably not this year,” said the regional head of a large European property consulting firm. “That is hard to explain to headquarters. We have our own bills to pay.”

Neither of Dubai’s largest developers would confirm any delays in payment, saying that they would continue to honour contracts. “Payments for contractors and consultants are based on a credit cycle and set deliverables agreed with them,” said an Emaar spokesman. “All payments that meet the criteria have been honoured and will continue to be cleared, in line with our -contractual agreements.”

A Nakheel spokesman said that all contracts would be honoured but the -company was seeking to renegotiate some in light of falling material and -construction costs.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Sad News – John O`Dolan Owner of Ireland on The World Dubai takes his own life

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 4, 2009

The owner of the island of Ireland on Dubai’s The World project has taken his own life amid rumours of financial worries as a result of the global economic crisis, it has been reported.

John O’Dolan, one of Ireland’s leading building developers, was one of four business partners from his home country who brought the “Ireland in the Sun” development in March 2007 for AED142m ($38.6m).

The four had plans to build a resort with a collection of homes, apartments, restaurants and retail amidst beaches, boating and leisure opportunities on the 225,000 sqft island development owned by Nakheel.

O’Dolan, owner of O’ Dolan International, was found dead after taking his own life at his home in Rusheen Bay in Galway on Friday, leaving behind a wife and three children, according to Irish daily The Irish Independent.

There is speculation that his death was linked to the recession with commentators saying O’Dolan was depressed and despondent over his faltering finances – receivers had been appointed to two of his business interests, the Kinlay House Hostel and property sales firm Polska Property.

However, there has been no confirmation on the level of financial distress O’Dolan, described by friends as “so much fun to be around,” was in, the newspaper added.

On buying the island of Ireland O’Dolan said: “I admire the vision that is behind this project. The islands are truly spectacular, and we look forward to developing Ireland, which will provide the Irish homeowner with their very own place they can call home in the sun.”

In true Irish tradition he presented Hamza Mustafa, general manager of The World (pictured above), with a bowl of shamrock, customary for Irish business people and diplomats, on signing the property deal.

Other members of the Irish consortium are Noel Connellan, Ray Norton and Andrew Brett, who bought the island to coincide with St Patrick’s Day.

O’Dolan, 51, founded the auctioneering company Mullery, O’Dolan and Doyle which became one of the biggest in the west of Ireland throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

He went on to become a major player in the real estate sector throughout the country and beyond and became renowned for choosing signature properties.

O’Dolan International was set up to develop overseas properties including the island of Ireland in Dubai.

Other landmark buildings owned by O’Dolan include former Revenue Commissioners offices on Lord Edward Street in Dublin, bought five years ago with partners.

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