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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 April, 2009

Dubai’s soon to be official April Rental Index – RERA Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 30, 2009

source ArabianBusiness

This website has unearthed new rental data from RERA that looks certain to form the basis of the next Dubai Rental Index.

A new service on the the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority’s
web site allows landlords and tenants to enter details of their type of
accommodation, current rent, and the name of their residential
district. The web site then gives a guide price for how much rent
should be paid.

However, the RERA web site stops short of publishing a full table of
rents, so Arabianbusiness.com has put in the leg work to produce what
is, in effect, the April 2009 Rental Index.

Having created the table, we then looked at the change in rents for
every applicable area since the Index was last published in January

For villas, we compared median prices for three-bedroom homes; for apartments we compared median prices for two-bedroom units.

The results are startling. In the four months since the Rental Index
was last published, rents have plummeted by almost 50 percent in some
parts of the city.

Freehold developments have been worst affected, with two-bedroom
apartment rents for Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai Investment Park and
Dubai Silicon Oasis all registering price drops of well over 40 percent.

Villa rental drops in the freehold areas have also been battered.
Rents for a three bedroom villa in The Springs fell by 45 percent.
Green Community, The Meadows and Arabian Ranches have all seen rents
fall by one-third.

Table 1: Rental Index for Apartments (AED,000 per annum).
Residential Areas are ranked according to the price change for a
two-bedroom apartment.

Studio 1-bed 2-bed 3-bed 4-bed Change
Jumeirah Lakes Towers 60-70 65-100 90-125 140-170 170-190


Dubai Investment Park 40-45 55-60 70-80 ….. …..


Dubai Silicon Oasis 40-55 50-60 75-80 90-100 …..


Al Buteen 50-65 65-80 98-110 80-90 …..


Al Muraqqabat 50-65 65-85 80-120 105-140 …..


Al Riqqa 50-60 65-85 80-120 105-140 …..


Al Garhoud 50-60 65-75 80-110 95-105 …..


Mirdif 45-65 65-75 80-100 105-115 …..


Al Jafeliah 40-45 45-55 65-85 90-120 ….


Greens 55-70 90-110 120-140 160-200 220-240


Al Huamriya 45-60 60-80 80-100 110-150 150-170


Al Hudaiba 45-55 60-70 80-100 100-130 130-150


Discovery Gardens 45-50 60-70 90-125 ….. …..


Rigga Al Buteen 45-65 65-90 70-110 105-120 …..


Al Qusais 42-47 58-68 70-95 90-105 …..


Al Muteena 45-60 55-65 80-95 90-110 …..


Palm Jumeirah ….. 95-135 160-200 175-210 280-300


Green Community 55-60 80-90 110-125 150-170 …..


Port Saeed 45-55 65-75 70-100 95-115 …..


Al Nahdah 35-45 53-65 68-78 80-90 …..


Al Refaa 45-65 60-80 90-105 105-140 130-160


Al Warqaa (Buildings) 35-45 46-66 70-80 80-150 …..


Dubai Marina 65-75 80-120 120-160 160-200 220-240


International City 35-45 45-50 70-80 ….. …..


Hor Al Anz East 45-60 57-85 90-100 110-130 …..


Al Badaa 40-50 55-70 70-90 …. ….


Hor Al Anz 40-50 50-60 70-80 75-100 …..


Abu Hail 40-50 50-70 70-80 95-105 …..


Trade Center 2 60-70 80-90 100-140 135-165 ….


Trade Center 1 60-70 80-90 100-140 135-165 ….


Al Souq Al Kabeer 45-55 60-70 75-85 100-130 ….


Al Musalla 45-55 60-70 75-85 100-130 ….


Al Muhaisna Fourth 35-45 50-60 60-70 80-90 …..


Jumeirah Beach Residence 75-90 100-125 140-160 160-200 230-250


Dubai Tower / Downtown 80-85 100-165 175-200 200-260 220-280


Al Murar 35-45 50-60 60-70 75-85 …..


Al Sabka 40-45 50-60 65-75 90-100 …..


Satwa 40-50 55-70 70-110 …. ….


Gardens ….. 70-75 100-115 130-140 …..


Al Baraha 35-45 45-60 65-75 85-95 …..


Ayal Nasir 40-50 60-70 70-80 75-85 …..


Umm Hurair 50-60 60-90 85-115 120-140 ….


Al Mankhool 45-65 70-80 85-125 120-150 150-170


Oud Metha 55-65 65-95 95-125 105-140 ….


Al Ras 40-50 55-70 70-80 80-85 …..


Al Barsha 50-55 65-85 95-115 110-140 ….


Al Daghaya 35-45 45-60 70-80 75-85 …..


Naif 35-45 46-58 65-75 80-90 …..


Al Karama 45-55 65-85 100-110 105-135 140-160


Table 2: Rental Index for Villas (AED,000 per annum).
Residential Areas are ranked according to the price change for a
three-bedroom villa.

2-bed 3-bed 4-bed 5-bed 6-bed Change
Springs 100-130 140-160 160-180 ….. …..


Jumeirah Islands ….. ….. 270-290 300-320 …..


Green Community ….. 160-190 180-210 230-240 250-270


Meadows ….. 190-210 220-240 260-280 …..


Arabian Ranches 120-140 150-200 220-250 250-350 330-400


Umm Suqeim 145-175 200-240 260-320 290-360 …..


Palm Jumeirah ….. 250-280 300-350 375-420 …..


Al Barsha Residential 130-160 170-200 200-240 240-280 …..


Jumeirah 140-170 180-240 250-310 280-350 …..


Al Quoz Industrial 130-140 140-170 180-210 200-240 …..


Al Safa 130-160 160-200 200-240 240-280 …..


Al Badaa 120-150 140-180 180-220 210-250 …..


Al Mankhool 110-130 140-170 200-250 240-270 …..


Al Manara 135-165 170-200 200-250 250-290 …..


Umm Al Sheif 135-165 170-200 200-250 250-290 …..


Al Rashidiya ….. 120-150 150-170 175-185 …..


Hor Al Anz ….. 100-120 140-160 160-190 …..


Al Warga ….. 130-150 150-170 175-205 …..


Al Mezhar ….. 130-150 150-170 180-210 …..


Al Muhaisna First ….. 130-150 150-170 165-200 …..


Al Tawar ….. 130-160 155-175 195-205 …..


Al Muteena ….. 110-130 140-160 180-200 …..


Nad Al Hamar ….. 140-160 160-240 190-220 …..


Al Garhoud ….. 180-200 210-250 240-280 …..


Al Khawaneej ….. 130-160 160-170 190-210 …..


Al Wasl 130-160 170-200 200-240 240-280 …..


Al Wahaida ….. 115-135 135-145 160-180 …..


Al Jafeliah 100-120 110-140 130-160 150-180 …..


Nad Shamma ….. 150-150 150-170 175-185 …..


Abu Hail ….. 115-135 145-165 170-180 …..


Al Qusais ….. 120-140 130-150 150-170 …..


Al Hudaiba 105-125 130-160 150-180 170-200 …..


Mirdif (Complexes) No data available from RERA
Mirdif (Individuals) No data available from RERA

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More tapes depicting Sheikh Issabin Zayed Al Nahyan torturing victims exist.

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 30, 2009

source CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A videotape of a heinous torture session is delaying the ratification of a civil nuclear deal between the United Arab Emirates and the United States, senior U.S. officials familiar with the case said.

On Wednesday, an Abu Dhabi government agency issued a statement deploring the video and promising a full investigation.

The Government of Abu Dhabi unequivocally condemns the actions depicted on the video and will conduct a comprehensive review of the matter immediately,” said the statement issued by the Judicial Department’s Human Rights Office, which promised to make its findings public. Read the rest of this entry »

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Abu Dhabi to probe royal torture claim

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 29, 2009

source Financial Times

Abu Dhabi 29, April 2009

Abu Dhabi said on Wednesday it would investigate allegations that a
senior member of the ruling family tortured an Afghan citizen. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Abu Dhabi to probe royal torture claim

Toture Sheikh Issa Al Nahyan owns Luxury Villa near Munich Germany

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 29, 2009

source Tz-Online Germany
The German Press reports about the torture, done by Sheikh Issa Al Nahyan, shown on ABC News.

Reports also say, that Sheikh Issa Al Nahyan often visit his luxury Villa in Dietramszell, Bad Toelz, near Munich.

The most Comments left on this Report say:
Sheikh Issa Al Nahyan – you are not longer welcome here in Germany.

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UAE: Prosecute Torture by Royal Family Member

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 28, 2009

source HRW
Independent Body Should Investigate Abuse of Afghan Grain Dealer, Police Role and Flawed Ministry Review
(New York) – The United Arab Emirates should investigate and prosecute the torture of an Afghan grain dealer by a royal family member, Shaikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, and the police, Human Rights Watch said in a letter today to the UAE president (http://www.hrw.org/node/82751 ). Videotaped evidence appears to show Shaikh al Nahyan and the police beating, using electric cattle prods on, and driving over the Afghani man.

Human Rights Watch called on the government to immediately establish an independent body to investigate both the torture of the man, Mohammed Shah Poor, and the Ministry of Interior’s failure to bring those involved to justice. A videotape of the attack was shown on an ABC News program on April 22, 2009 (http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=7407186 ).

“The government’s failure to prosecute those involved in this undisputed incident of torture and abuse at the hands of a royal family member and the police is an appalling miscarriage of justice,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “What’s even more shocking is the government’s insistence that it investigated and found no violation of UAE laws.”

According to credible information, including the videotape featured on the ABC News segment, Shaikh al Nahyan tortured Poor in October or November 2004, with the assistance of police and others, using whips, electric cattle prods and wooden planks with protruding nails. Shaikh al Nahyan also poured a large container of salt on Poor’s bleeding wounds. Near the end of the video, Shaikh positioned Poor on the desert sand and then drove over him repeatedly; the sound of what appears to be breaking bones is audible on the tape. Poor survived, although he still had to spend months in hospital with broken bones and internal injuries. The acts shown on the video constitute clear violations of the UAE’s Constitution as well as international human rights law.

Human Rights Watch received a copy of a letter sent by the UAE’s Ministry of Interior on April 8, 2009 to ABC News, in which the ministry did not characterize the abuse in question as torture, but simply as an assault that the parties subsequently settled “privately.” It further concluded that its investigation found that the police “followed all rules, policies and procedures correctly.” Neither the police department nor the Ministry of Interior has made public the findings of the police review and investigation of the matter, or the basis for their conclusion of proper police conduct.

In its letter, Human Rights Watch urged UAE President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to establish an independent body with authority not only to investigate the torture episode but to also recommend disciplinary steps or criminal prosecution of persons implicated in abuse.

“Law enforcement officials become criminals when they inflict or tolerate torture,” said Whitson. “The UAE government needs to act now if it is to restore public confidence in the country’s criminal justice system and to show that the rule of law, and not impunity for its violators, is the policy of the country.”

The Human Rights Watch letter urges the UAE government to publicly and unequivocally renounce the use of torture and physical abuse by the police, others in positions of authority, or private citizens, and to reaffirm its commitment to abide by international law provisions banning the use of torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. Human Rights Watch called for police training on the acceptable use of force under international law.

The torture incident also highlights why the UAE should revise its draft media law (http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/04/06/just-good-news-please ) and, among other things, remove Article 32, which provides a fine of up to 5,000,000 dirhams (US$1,350,000) against anyone who “disparages” senior government personnel or members of the royal family. Despite receiving international news coverage, media in the UAE have been reluctant to report on the incident.

ABC News Exclusive: Torture Tape Implicates UAE Royal Sheikh

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

Dubai contractors still concerned over payments

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 28, 2009

source Reuters


Dubai’s government said on Monday it would continue to meet all its contractual obligations, including to contractors, and would not limit the number of construction firms licensed to operate in the emirate.

Emaar Properties EMAR.DU, in which the state is the largest stake holder, said payments for contractors and consultants were based on a credit cycle agreed with each firm.

“All payments that meet the criteria have been honoured and will continue to be cleared, in line with our contractual agreements,” Emaar said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

State-owned Nakheel declined to comment. no one at Dubai Properties and Sama Dubai were not immediately available for comment.

London-based MEED has reported that contractors who are owed money would not be paid for work they have carried out on Dubai government-backed schemes as the emirate will only settle debts with contractors it wishes to work with in future.

The government denied the MEED report but said it would not decide how firms that had received aid would use the funds.

“We are still waiting for payments from a government-linked firm,” a source at an international contracting firm said. “I am expecting a call from them in the next few days … until we speak to them I don’t know what the situation is for us.”

Nasser al-Shaikh, the head of Dubai’s department of finance, said last week the government would not reveal the names of the firms receiving support from the first bond proceeds, although key beneficiaries were developers and companies in which Dubai’s government holds some ownership stake.  Continued…

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Abu Dhabi ruling family linked to ‘torture’ video

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 27, 2009

source Telegraph UK

The emergence of a video purporting to show a senior member of the United Arab Emirates’ ruling family co-ordinating the torture of a businessman has threatened to tarnish the reputation of the pro-Western, oil-rich Gulf state.

The video purports to show Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, the half-brother of the Manchester City owner, Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, participating in the torture of an Afghan grain dealer with whom he had had a disagreement.

The al Nahyan clan’s position as rulers of Abu Dhabi, the biggest of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, means they have also acted as hereditary rulers of the state since it was founded in 1971.

At a desert location under cover of darkness the torture victim, Mohammed Shah Poor, is held down and has sand stuffed down his throat.

Bullets are then fired near his feet in the sand and he is beaten with a plank of wood from which nails protruded. Salt is then rubbed into his open wounds. An electric cattle prod is also used on part of his body while his genitals are soaked in lighter fluid, which is then set alight.

The coup de grace comes when Mr Nahyan appears to drive a Mercedes SUV over the victim, accompanied by what seems to be the sound of breaking bones. Mr Nahyan is heard on the video seeming to co-ordinate the torture assisted by uniformed members of what seem to be the UAE police force and army.

The tape, broadcast last week by the American television channel, ABC, has already led to calls for the United States to reconsider its commercial ties with the UAE, the tiny but wealthy state that includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

James McGovern, a US congressman, has called for a freeze on government aid to the Emirates.

He also called for Mr Nahyan to be refused a US visa.

In a letter to Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, Mr McGovern said: “I cannot describe the horror and revulsion I felt when witnessing what is on this video … I could not watch it without constantly flinching.”

ABC put up a section of the video on its website, although sections containing the most shocking material, including the use of the cattle prod, were not released.

The tape was given to ABC by Bassam Nabulsi, a US citizen and Houston businessman, who has begun a legal battle in the American courts against Mr Nahyan for alleged maltreatment and loss of earnings after a business deal went sour.

The UAE government has confirmed Mr Nahyan is the man in the video, although it issued a statement saying the matter had been investigated by its police but no charges were deemed necessary.

The statement said the video was not “part of a pattern of behaviour” and, as permitted under Abu Dhabi law, “the parties involved … settled the matter privately by agreeing not to bring formal charges against each other â ” ie theft on the one hand and assault on the other”.

The ministry of the interior said police followed all necessary procedures when investigating the incident.

Read also:

The Guardian UK

ABC News

Financial Times

Open Letter

German Press Bild Zeitung

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Compensation for breach of contract – How to Avoid Court? Here’s how…

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 27, 2009

source Rootsland
Over the last 10 years, Dubai has gained international attention due to its extensive growth and progress, particularly in the projects and construction sectors. During that period, deals were often done and contracts entered into quicker than if those deals were being carried out in less dynamic markets.

 It seems that commercial parties relied heavily on their ability to negotiate solutions to any dispute rather than relying too heavily on the terms of their contracts or resorting to litigation or other formal dispute resolution procedures. The same parties may have also taken comfort from the obligation on contracting parties to act in good faith imposed by the UAE’s Civil Transactions Law (the Civil Code).

 Of course the current economic climate is very different. Now financing is more difficult to obtain. This has reduced confidence that negotiation alone will resolve disputes. As companies compete for the limited credit available, contracts are being more extensively negotiated and scrutinized by all parties (including lenders). Parties are no longer relying on the market’s continued growth to push deals through or their obligation to act in good faith. The focus is shifting towards identifying what dispute resolution procedures should apply and what remedies are available if the other contracting party breaches its contractual obligations. One of the remedies receiving greater attention is the damages payable if a contracting party is in breach of a contract. Of course, the protection provided by damages will depend heavily on the offending party’s ability to pay in this market.

Time to review

 Most contracts should have provisions dealing specifically with what will happen when a breach of contract occurs. Often an overarching termination provision exists, in addition to provisions relating to curing defaults, damages and events such as force majeure or change in law, and these all play a role in determining the options available to contracting parties in a variety of circumstances.

 The current environment highlights the need for solid contractual provisions and should be taken as an opportunity for all players in the project and construction sector to regroup and focus on contracts that they have entered into and those that they are about to enter into. Everyone involved in project and construction deals should be asking themselves what they are entitled to if the contract is breached by the other party.


Consideration should be given to whether contracts yet to be entered into should specifically address these issues. But what if the decision is taken not to do so or an existing contract does not address damages? The Civil Code provides an entitlement to compensation for breach of contract even where the contract itself does not provide for such compensation.

Damages under UAE Law

The purpose of damages is to compensate a party for any loss suffered as a result of default by counterparty to a contract. If damages for a breach of contract are not fixed under a provision of the law or in the contract itself, the Civil Code gives the court discretion to assess compensation “in an amount equivalent to the damage in fact suffered at the time of the occurrence”. The focus here is on the actual loss suffered by a party and gives the court a broad discretion to determine an appropriate award of damages on the basis of the facts and evidence before it. However, how is the ultimate determination made and what limits are imposed on the amount of compensation that may be awarded?

Other provisions of the Civil Code that do not specifically relate to contractual damages may give some guidance as to how compensation may be assessed by a court: “In all cases the compensation shall be assessed on the basis of the amount of harm suffered by the victim, together with loss of profit, provided that it is the natural result of the harmful act”.

 The key element of this provision is that a party suffering loss will be compensated for that loss, including any loss of profit, which flows naturally from the default. The explanatory memorandum to the Civil Code says damages are payable in respect of the actual loss suffered as well as loss of expectation (that is loss of an opportunity to obtain a benefit under a contract or to avoid a loss).

 Each type of damages claimed will need to be substantiated and shown to result from the breach. Consequential (or indirect) losses will generally only be recoverable where it can be shown that the party causing the loss did so with a malicious intent. While it is important to keep in mind the award of damages is always at the court’s discretion, a specific damages regime in a contract can have the benefit of providing greater certainty as to a party’s right to contractual damages and can assist parties negotiate ways of avoiding recourse to court in this challenging environment.

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Jailed Dubai mum Marnie Pearce to be freed by pardon tomorrow

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 27, 2009

source Mirror

Marnie Pearce, the British mum jailed in Dubai for adultery, has won a dramatic pardon and will be set free tomorrow.

Marnie, 40, was locked up after her Egyptian husband falsely claimed she cheated on him. She was supposed to be deported back to Britain after her sentence – which could have meant never seeing her two young sons again.

Now, in a dramatic U-turn by the authorities in Dubai, Marnie is being pardoned and allowed to stay to fight  her ex-husband, Ihab El Labban, for custody of the boys.

In an emotional phone call from prison on the eve of her release, Marnie told the Sunday Mirror: “I didn’t dare believe I would ever have the chance to hug my babies again.

“When I first heard the deportation order was going to be lifted I just felt numb. When the news did sink in I cried tears of joy.”

The U-turn comes after a long-running campaign by the Sunday Mirror and human rights charity Amnesty International, who describe Marnie as a “prisoner of conscience”.

Under the terms of her pardon, the conviction for adultery – which Marnie vehemently denies – will still stand.

But a ruling ordering deportation at the end of her three-month sentence, cut short for good behaviour, has been scrapped.


It means she can stay to fight for custody of sons Laith, eight, and Ziad, four, who were wrenched sobbing from her in heartbreaking scenes filmed on a mobile phone.

El Labban won custody by accusing his wife of adultery – a serious crime punishable by jail under Sharia law – after she exposed his affair with an American woman.

Marnie, from Bracknell, Berks, said: “All I have ever wanted is to stay in Dubai and fight for the chance to see my boys. No mother should be kept from their children.

“It’s a child’s right to see their mother and I’ve got to fight to make sure the boys have the chance to be with me, for their sake as much as mine. I am holding on to the thought that I will be able to hold them, cuddle them and tell them how much I love them and how much I have missed them.”

Marnie’s reprieve came moments before campaigners were due to hand in a petition, signed by 5,000 people, to the United Arab Emirates embassy in London.

he hand-over was cancelled when senior officials at Dubai’s judiciary agreed on Thursday that Marnie’s deportation should be reviewed.

It is believed the decision followed a series of meetings with Foreign Office officials.

On Thursday afternoon a message was sent from the Dubai authorities to prison officials at Central Jail al-Awir, where Marnie is being held, to say that she was not going to be deported.

Marnie, who wed El Labban in the Seychelles in 1999, said: “I want to thank the British public for all the support they have given me – it has really kept me going.

“And I want to thank the Sunday Mirror for helping to raise awareness of my case and keeping it in the public eye.”


Marnie, who was not allowed to speak in court to defend herself, was arrested last March along with British ex-pat Brian Clark after El Labban claimed they were having an affair.

When officers raided Marnie’s home they found the pair fully clothed, having a cup of tea.

Yet both were arrested and Marnie was charged when her husband suddenly produced used condoms which he claimed were evidence.

But last month a Sunday Mirror investigation revealed that pharmacist El Labban, 41, was the real love cheat. He had an affair with American businesswoman Tonya Thompson, 46, a mum of two who he met at a sales conference in Dubai.

When Marnie found out she threw him out of their home. Fearing he would lose custody of the children, he then reported Marnie as an adulteress.

Before she was jailed for three months in February, Marnie was forced to hand over her children to El Labban in harrowing scenes captured by a passer-by and posted online.

Marnie said yesterday: “The last few months have been a very dark time for me. But knowing that the deportation order has been lifted it is like a light has come back in my life.

“It has been very tough in jail and hard to stay positive. I was completely heartbroken at the thought of not seeing my sons again. Now at least I have some sort of chance of access.”

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Dubai Public Prosecution – Indian CEO Dubai based Estate Agent loged a libel case against 3 Journalists

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 26, 2009

source GulfNews

Dubai: The chief executive officer (CEO) of a Dubai-based realtor has lodged a libel case against a newswire and three of its journalists for publishing incorrect news about him, Gulf News learnt on Thursday.

The Public Prosecution started questioning the newswire’s two British journalists, 30-year-old S.B., 29-year-old A.G. and 29-year-old Lebanese journalist M.H., over alleged libel charges made by the Indian CEO, identified as K.B., earlier this month.

K.B.’s lawyer Eisa Bin Haidar, of the Bin Haidar Group of Advocates and Legal Consultants mentioned in his complaint to the police: “The newswire and the suspects publish business news on the internet and they are specialists in investment and business news. The suspects published on the newswire’s website [earlier this year] malicious and incorrect news about K.B. who was reportedly libelled and defamed before his clients and partners and incurred financial, moral and emotional damages. K.B. lost a number of partnerships following the untrue news. The suspects claimed in their story that my client was arrested for alcohol-related charges and a bounced cheque the amount of which they didn’t disclose”.

Bin Haidar mentioned in his complaint that the suspects reportedly aimed to ‘malign and harm his client’.

“The suspects published a second defamatory story against K.B. sometime later. The defendants reportedly libelled my client hence violating article 372 of the Federal Penal Code which stipulates that any suspect who libels someone publicly faces a maximum two years imprisonment or a maximum fine of Dh20,000,” said Bin Haidar.

K.B.’s legal representative will also be suing the suspects (if proven guilty) for Dh20,001 in temporary compensation against his client’s allegedly incurred losses.

A senior prosecutor told Gulf News that the case is still under investigation and has not been referred to court.

In keeping with the media code of ethics, Gulf News will not name the suspects.

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Shahram Zadeh against Al Fajer Properties Maktoum Hasher Juma Al Maktoum – Comment of the Month

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 25, 2009

April 10, 2009 comment from Salahudin

I am a lawyer & familiar with such disputes known as financial cases.

Its actually very simple, the judge has to appoint an Accounts Expert (Court Appointed Auditor), to examine the accounts of Al Fajer Properties, and it will be very clear if Sheikh Hasher Maktoum has invested anything. I believe the lawyer of Sheikh Hasher Maktoum, Sheikh maktoum Hasher & Al fajer will do their best to close the case before the court appoints an Expert to avoid the embaressement.

If Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Al Maktoum succeeds in closing the case without the court Auditor examining Al fajer accounts, then it will be a big loss to dubai justice system because it shows they are afraid the truth will come out!!!

Sheikh Hasher Maktoum should be smart and try to settle the case with Dr.Zadeh Shahram before it becomes a nationalembaressement for Dubai ruling family.


April 10, 2009 comment from Tom

If the sheikhs win this case, it will be the end of foreign investor’s trust in dubai. This will be a test for dubai, is it really a safe & secure investment hub as they portray it???? Or the laws are not applicable to the ruling family?


April 10, 2009 comment from Al Fajer Victim

This is going to be a test case for dubai. This will reveal the depth of the corruption & behind the scenes torture, illegal arrest, fabrication of cases, all to protect the few sheikhs like sheikh hasher maktoum & his well known crook son who just thursday threatened me in front of my wife that if I complain about al fajer “it will have very bad consequences, I don’t want you to disapear” Shame on you sheikh maktoum hasher, you are nothing but a thief with everyone.

Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Schon Properties Dubai – Back in the Headlines with negative News

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 25, 2009

source Xpress4Me

Investors suffer due to massive delay in project Dubai Lagoons

Anita Henry, a British teacher who has invested in a one-bedroom apartment at Dubai Lagoons, now faces a double whammy. So does Purvi Beri, an Indian advertising executive, and many other investors.

The units they bought are delayed for two years and the developer, Schon Properties, is “stonewalling” them.

“It now costs me Dh8,000 per month to rent, as they have delayed this build,” said Henry. “Now, they have advised me of a December 2010 completion – how disgusting is that?”

She said her one-bedroom unit at Dubai Lagoons – a 52-building project at the Dubai Investments Park (DIP) – was scheduled for a June 2008 handover.

“They have no intention of compensating anyone. I had planned my kids’ schooling around this,” she said.

Major payment

“In 2007, I sold my house in the UK and invested that money in a one-bedroom unit at Dubai Lagoons for Dh480,000,” said Henry, who has paid more than 63 per cent of the property price.

Purvi Beri is in the same bind due to the delay. “I am stuck. I took out a bank loan for Dh250,000 to be able to buy this unit. I sold property in India to survive and take care of my son’s fees. Since my property has not been handed over as promised, I was forced to move to my sister’s place. Now, the developers are asking me to pay more, but I’m not going to because the construction hasn’t even happened.”

Asher Schon, Vice-President of Schon Properties, said, “The project has been set back a little, due to numerous reasons,” he said.

“Firstly, the expansion of the two-lane road into a six-lane highway took out about 40 metres off our plot. Secondly, there was an internal feud between partners of our first contractor so we replaced them. We negotiated with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), who were cooperative. We are also working with investors to move them into zones that will be completed earlier,” said Schon.


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Al Fajer Properties – April 8 , 2009 – Dubai court postpones 1.9 Billion Dollar case against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher bin Juma Al Maktoum, Sheikh Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum and Sheikha Maryam

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 25, 2009

DUBAI, Apr 08, 2009 (AFP) –

A Dubai court postponed on Wednesday a 1.9 billion dollar lawsuit by Shahram Abdulla Zadeh ( Iranian) gainst members of the ruling family over an allegedly lost property investment to give the defence time to prepare.

Lawyer Hussein al-Jaziri asked for a “long period of time to respond to the case,” but the judge set May 4 as the date for the next hearing.

No one represented the defence during the first hearing, on March 11.

Iranian Shahram Abdullah Zadeh claims he invested the 1.9 billion dollars as the sole capital of a company, Al-Fajer Properties

Under United Arab Emirates law, only UAE and Gulf citizens may register property firms, and ruling family member Sheikh Hasher Maktoum bin Jumaa al-Maktoum is listed as the owner.

“I was the sole investor. Al-Fajer Propertiesis my company. Sheikh Hasher’s only contribution has been the real estate licence as a sponsor,” he said in March.

Zadeh, who was sacked as company president last year, is demanding the “recovery of all material assets of Al-Fajer Properties,” according to legal documents obtained by AFP.

These include liquid assets and property, which are estimated at seven billion dirhams (1.9 billion dollars), and nine percent interest since the suit was filed.

“We have enough documents to prove he was the sole investor,” Zadeh’s lawyer Salem al-Shaali told AFP after the first hearing.

Sheikh Hasher is a brother-in-law of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. Also named in the suit are his daughter, Sheikha Maryam, a partner in the company, and son Sheikh Maktoum, who was made president of Al-Fajer after Zadeh was sacked.

Their names were only made public on Wednesday.

Zadeh said he was detained by Dubai police at the time he was dismissed last year and held without charge for 60 days, and that his passport was confiscated and is still being held without explanation.

The 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.


More about the case Al Fajer Properties
which must be seen also in relation to the pending case Dynasty Zarooni

Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Dubai Financial Crisis – Is Nakheel not paying?

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 24, 2009

source Kippreport

According to a media report, the property developer owes UK engineering firms more than $290 million. Nakheel has declined to comment.

A report in the UK-based magazine New Civil Engineer quotes analysts as saying that real estate developer Nakheel has not paid debts amounting to more than $290 million. The money is owed to engineering companies in the UK such as Atkins, Mouchel, Scott Wilson and WSP.

Nakheel has declined to comment, saying only that it “doesn’t disclose confidential information about supplier contracts.”

Earlier this month, Atkins revealed that delays in payment for its Middle-Eastern projects had forced the company to use around $36 million of its own cash to keep operations running over the past three months. “We expect that cash collection will remain challenging for at least the next few months,” the company said.

According to the report in New Civil Engineer, WSP also released a statement recently, stating that it was making “appropriate and prudent provisions in respect of potential impairment of trade receivables and unbilled amounts due on contracts” in the Middle East.

Like most developers in the region, and around the world, Nakheel has been hit hard by the financial crisis. Last month it announced that its $3 billion mall expansion program would be delayed by 12 months.

In February this year, it indefinitely delayed the start of construction of the Worlds of Discovery theme park project. The development, which will include four water theme parks, is being undertaken in partnership with the US-based Busch Entertainment Corporation.

In January, the developer announced that it would halt work on its one kilometer tall tower, the Nakheel Harbour & Tower, for a year. And in December last year, Nakheel confirmed that work on the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Palm Jumeirah had stopped, and that the project would be delayed indefinitely. It also postponed work on Frond N villas, Gateway Towers and The Universe. In November, the developer laid off 15 percent of its workforce – 500 employees.

Around the world, real estate has been one of the sectors hit hardest by the financial crisis. Deutsche Bank estimates that in the US, up to half of the $1.3 trillion in commercial property loans dues for repayment by 2013 could be ineligible for refinancing – a potential time bomb for developers, many of whom will not be able to repay the debt.

Being a government-owned company, Nakheel is eligible for a slice of the $10 billion raised by the Dubai government through a sale of bonds to the UAE Central Bank. Earlier this week, Nasser al-Shaikh, director general of Dubai Department of Finance, said that more than half of the $10 billion has been distributed to government-owned firms. He did not disclose names, but said the situation at these companies had improved. “All of the state-linked real estate developers have already started paying their bills,” he told Dubai Eye radio station.

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UAE laws translated into English

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 24, 2009

source TheNational

ABU DHABI // In a major step towards improving transparency in the legal system, the Ministry of Justice yesterday announced that every federal law passed since the UAE’s founding in 1971 has been translated into English and will soon be available online.

The ministry has also begun translating 1,500 federal court decisions, 500 international treaties signed by the UAE and 2,000 official fatwas issued by UAE muftis, to create a centralised, easily accessible body of case law and statutes in both Arabic and English.

The Government says the translations will give legal practitioners, businesses and scholars unprecedented access to the country’s lawbooks. The aim is to improve understanding of the UAE’s laws and legal system internationally, as well as foster the transparency sought by international companies and investors.

“There are more people that speak English than Arabic in the UAE and our goal is to make the laws available to them,” said Abdulla al Majid, the Minister’s Adviser and the director of the translation project.

All the documents will be posted online at www.elaws.gov.ae

The website will initially be free for public access for three months, but the ministry is contemplating eventually charging users a subscription fee.

We are looking for feedback at this stage from the public to wage which direction we will go. We are considering creating different levels of memberships, such as academics and corporations,” Mr al Majid said.

More than 80 people working in the US, Lebanon and the UAE, including various ministries and courts, have worked on the project for two years so far.

“This is a three-step programme. First we had to gather all the relevant laws, then put them on the website in Arabic and then translate them in an ongoing programme,” Mr al Majid said.

The programme also aims to centralise the federal laws, treaties and fatwas and decisions taken by the Federal Supreme Court.

“Our goal was to get every single law created and amended since 1973,” Mr al Majid said.

Although the country was founded in 1971 with the passage of the Constitution, the first federal laws were not passed for another two years.

“This is clearly a wealth of information that for the first time is available to the public directly from the Ministry of Justice and not from a law firm,” Mr al Majid said.

“The best feature about this is the search engine which allows you to find even one word amid a sea of legal documents. That changes the face of research for academics, lawyers, judges, businesses and the public. You can imagine the kind of impact this will have on the overall justice system.”

The English translations are just the beginning, Mr al Majid said.

“We are also considering translating them into other languages, and translating specific laws within each emirate. At this point our focus is on English. This opens new doors for us and boosts our credibility further.”

He said the UAE’s diverse population meant that English had become the language of business. The project “will encourage people to learn more about our values and law even from their own countries before they come here,” Mr al Majid added.

Several sources have already translated many UAE laws.

The most prominent effort has been undertaken by a company called Affinitext, which has translated more than 3,000 laws and made them available in Arabic and English on the internet for specialised users.

The project was initially an undertaking for DLA Piper, one of the largest law firms.

“There are over 3,000 laws with no central repository,” said Graham Thomson, founder of Affinitext.

“Each law resides with a different area: free zones, ministries and so on. To collate just the Arabic is a major logistic challenge. Then translating it, then putting it on the best available programme on the internet,” He said.

However, the translations by Affinitext are available online for a license fee for companies and law firms, and are not meant for private use.

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From the Financial Times

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 24, 2009

source Financial Times

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RERA Dubai – New Law for settling Property disputes

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 23, 2009

sourche Xpress4me

Full refunds will be given to investors of real estate development projects that are officially cancelled by government property regulators under a pending law, XPRESS has learnt.

Under Law No 9 of 2009, Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) has stipulated that if – after a thorough government review – a project is cancelled, all cash paid by buyers will be returned by developers upon termination of contract.


Law No 9, which provides a sliding scale for refunds, has been signed and approved. The law however, only becomes official and legally binding once it gets published in Dubai’s official gazette.

Pull quote

Rera will apply the law and give directions to developers on what steps to take. Mohammad Kamal, Head of Real Estate

Pull quote

Rera officials couldn’t be reached for comment by press time. The new rules amend previous laws and will frame new procedures for “terminations of sale and purchase agreements for off-plan units and will set the damages payable to the developer depending on the progress of construction”, according to Lovells law firm.

Lovells stated that if a “developer’s project is cancelled by Rera” the “purchaser shall be refunded all monies paid to date”.

The changes may help unravel months of uncertainty by investors who have faithfully continued to pay instalments to developers who failed to begin any construction on projects to which buyers legally signed contracts.

“Law 9 will provide significant guidance to the real estate market and will clarify the uncertainty on terminations and damages,” said Lovells.

Mohammad Kamal, Lovells Head of Real Estate Middle East, said the final version of the new law contains the full refund provision for cancelled projects only.

Kamal was part of a Rera working group that helped draft the new rules.

“Rera will apply the law and give directions to developers on what steps to take,” Kamal said, noting that arbitration won’t be needed because “the disputes would be settled under the law”. Compensation rate

As previously reported by XPRESS, the new law contains a sliding scale that spells out the rate of investor compensation to be paid by developers based upon the amount of construction completed.

Roughly 875 projects are now being visited by government inspectors across Dubai to determine the progress of each development.

The new law, meanwhile, dictates that all terminations “must be served through the Dubai Land Department and the purchaser shall be given 30 days to rectify a breach”.

Sliding scale

The following is the percentage of refunds as provided for in Law No 9:

  • 80 per cent completed: Buyer forfeits 100 per cent of cash he/she has paid to date
  • 60 per cent completed: Buyer forfeits 40 per cent of purchase price
  • Less than 60 per cent completed: Buyer forfeits 25 per cent of purchase price
  • Construction hasn’t started: Buyer forfeits 30 per cent of cash he/she has paid to date
  • When project is officially cancelled by Rera: Buyer shall be refunded all cash he/she has paid to date.

(Source: Lovells)

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

UBS downgrades UAE Property Sector – 70 % Pricefall

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 22, 2009

source WallStreetJournal

DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)–Swiss Investment bank UBS (UBS.AG) Tuesday downgraded the U.A.E.’s real estate sector, citing a possible 70% fall in prices and significant oversupply as its main concerns.

“We believe the recent run up in equities with positive global market sentiment, U.A.E. government bailout as a backdrop is unsustainable,” the bank said in a research note. “We don’t yet see fundamentals improving, hence we view overall systematic risk as mispriced.”

Despite shares in Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties, and Dubai’s Union Properties and Emaar Properties rising 84%, 40%, and 33% respectively over the past month, UBS downgraded Emaar and Union Properties to sell, from neutral rating and Aldar to neutral, from buy.

Dubai property prices have been sliding since September when the ongoing global financial crisis and a fall in oil prices ended the Gulf region’s economic boom.

UBS expects Dubai’s population to fall 10% over the next two years due to job cuts, with residential vacancy rates reaching up to 30% by the end of 2010 due to an oversupply.

It says that this could cause the average house price to fall to as much as 500 U.A.E. dirhams ($136.1) per square foot from a peak of AED1850 in the fourth quarter of 2008.

“In our view we are still in relatively early stages of the property down cycle in the U.A.E.,” UBS said. “We believe risk-reward profiles are not yet compelling for investors to consider market reentry hence continued price declines are expected.”


UBS said average property prices have already fallen at least 25% to approximately AED1400 per square foot, but anticipates that prices will become even more attractive in the second half of the year.

“We believe the majority of investors would prefer to stay on the sidelines and revisit potential purchase opportunities in second half of 2009,” the bank said in its note.

Amid the slump, many large developers have been scaling back projects to survive the downturn.

UBS estimates that between 60% and 70%, or $300 billion worth, of new projects have either been canceled or delayed amid the slump.

The bank said Dubai’s total liabilities currently stand at $112 billion, which includes a $42 billion cost to finish all residential properties.

The emirate’s exposure to mortgages last year is approximately $30 billion, UBS said, and expects this to rise over the next year.

“With ramping job losses and loan-to-values of various properties rising above 100%, implying negative equity, we believe mortgage default rates will pick up over the coming quarters, potentially in the mid to high single digit range,” it said.

Emaar shares closed Wednesday 2.8% higher at AED2.61, while Union Properties rose 2.3% to AED0.90. Aldar shares gained 2.7% to AED3.78.

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Dubai Jailed Brit mum Marnie Pearce’s ex husband tells her she’ll never see kids again

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 20, 2009

source mirror uk

The British mum jailed in Dubai for adultery has been told by the ex-husband who framed her: “You will never see your children again.”

Marnie Pearce – still in prison for a “crime” she vehemently denies – was told the news in a cruel phone taunt from her former husband Ihab El Labban.

She rang begging him to bring their sons – Laith, eight, and Ziad, five – for a final prison visit before she is deported to the UK. But he refused.

A friend, who spoke to Marnie moments after the call, said: “He coldly told her, ‘I am not bringing the boys to see you’. Even when she begged and screamed for him to change his mind he just laughed and kept saying, ‘No, no, no’ over and over again. He said she will never see the boys again.

How cruel can one man be?” The news has left Marnie, 40, from Bracknell, Berks, totally devastated and struggling to cope with prison life even though her three-month sentence is almost over. She is due to be freed at the end of this month.

The friend added: “Marnie is now at her lowest ebb. She spends most of her time crying. All that has kept her going over the last few weeks is the thought of a last meeting with her sons, but she has been denied that.”

This is the latest twist in a disturbing case first exclusively revealed by the Sunday Mirror last year. Marniethe only British woman ever to be jailed in Dubai for adultery – was convicted on suspect evidence and without an opportunity to say anything in her defence.

She now faces more heartache as El Labban, 41, has been handed permanent custody of the couple’s children. The only hope she has of ever seeing them again is if he travels to the UK which he has refused to do.

It has left her with no option but to mount a legal battle to win back custody of the boys. But that is likely to take many years.

Marnie is being supported by human rights campaign group Amnesty, who are demanding her immediate release.

She was arrested last March along with a British expat friend after El Labban tipped off police in the Arab state that they were having an affair – punishable by jail under Dubai law.

When officers raided Marnie’s home they found the pair fully clothed having a cup of tea. The friend insists he was only there to use her computer. But both were arrested and Marnie was charged when her husband suddenly produced used condoms which he claimed were evidence.

Last month a Sunday Mirror investigation revealed that pharmacist El Labban is the real love cheat as he had an affair with American Tonya Thompson, 46, in Dubai in October 2007.

When Marnie found out she threw her husband out of their apartment. Fearing he would lose custody of their children he framed Marnie as an adulteress.

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Dubai law pins down property defaulters – If the developer has not been able to start construction “without any negligence or omission on the developer’s part”, the developer may keep 30 per cent of the money paid by the buyer to that point

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 19, 2009

source The National

The Dubai Land Department is planning to issue an amended property law that will determine refunds for investors who default on their payments based on construction progress of the project, according to lawyers briefed on the matter.

The move will bring clarity to the property market in Dubai, where a credit squeeze and the effects of the global financial crisis have led to defaults by home buyers. But some investors have criticised the amendment for being too heavily in favour of developers.

Lawyers say the amendment to article 11 of Dubai Law 13 of 2008 will stipulate that in cases where a buyer defaults and the developer has constructed at least 80 per cent of the project, the buyer loses all money paid to that point. The home can then be auctioned to compensate the developer for the rest of the cost.

If a developer has completed at least 60 per cent of the project and the buyer defaults, the developer is entitled to keep 40 per cent of the purchase price.

But if a developer has completed less than 60 per cent of the project, it can only keep 25 per cent of the purchase price.

If the developer has not been able to start construction “without any negligence or omission on the developer’s part”, the developer may keep 30 per cent of the money paid by the buyer to that point.

Developers would have to refund any money due to the purchaser within one year, or within 60 days of the resale of the home.

A legal briefing from the law firm Clyde & Co said the amendment “provides much anticipated clarification regarding the procedures required to be followed by developers in respect of defaulting purchasers, as well as the rights of developers to retain purchaser monies upon cancellation”.

The original law specified that if a buyer defaulted on payments to the developer, the buyer would be able to recover 70 per cent of any money they had turned over to that point.

But when the property market started to face difficulties last autumn, the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) issued an interpretation of the law that said the developer could retain 30 per cent of the total price of the property. In some cases, this meant the developer could keep all payments a buyer had made to them.

Officials from RERA later admitted that the interpretation was an emergency measure intended to prevent a wave of defaults that would cripple the property sector.

The new amendment, called Dubai Law No. 9 of 2009, will not only provide more specific terms but be retroactive for all property contracts signed in Dubai. If a contract between a buyer and a developer has a contrary clause, it will be rendered void, according to the Clyde & Co briefing.

Emad Eldin Farouq, a senior legal counsel with the Dubai Land Department, told a panel last week that the amendment had been signed into law and would soon be published in the official gazette of Dubai, according to an article in Xpress, which first reported the story. The amendment would “maintain the confidence of investors and safeguard the real estate of Dubai”, Mr Farouq said, according to Xpress.

But some investors said the amendment did not go far enough in protecting investors from developers who had delayed construction indefinitely.

“It is taking away our rights from the way the law was originally written,” said Nigel Knight, a homebuyer and member of the Dubai Property Investors Group.

The investors’ group handed the Land Department a petition last week asking for a meeting to discuss concerns it has with the amendment.

A Dubai Land Department spokesman could not be reached yesterday.

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum: “The life-span of lies is always short.”

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 19, 2009

source EmiratesBusiness24/7
The UAE has acted as a cohesive federation to face the global financial meltdown with a fast, well-thought-out response and has overcome the crisis with the least amount of losses, the nation’s Vice-President and Prime Minister said yesterday, adding that “the worst is already behind us”.

In his first large-scale online interaction with the media, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said categorically the nation’s economy would post positive growth this year and added: “I can safely say that we have succeeded in containing the risks of the global financial crisis in a record time.”

In response to a question by Emirates Business, Sheikh Mohammed said the panic phase is now over: “Our position is far better than other countries, and encouraging economic indicators have just started to emerge.

“Enhanced liquidity levels across the banking sector, banks’ resumption of credit operations and increased number of investors eager to seize investment opportunities in the realty and financial markets are among the many positive and encouraging indicators,” he said.

“I believe that no preventive measures, neither in the UAE nor any other country in the world, would have provided the desired immunity from the ramifications of the global financial meltdown.

“The UAE’s solid economic structure, efficient establishments, adoption of a balanced model of conservative banking policies and liberal economic approach were the key elements that enhanced the country’s ability to survive the negative implications of the global crisis and prevented any case of bankruptcy in any of the country’s banks or major corporations,” he said.

“The impact of the crisis on our economy was significant during the last quarter of 2008, yet it was not as harsh as on other economies.”

He took on critical international media reports that “weave rumours and negative speculation” saying: “We have been very transparent with all measures over the past few months to counter the impact of the global financial crisis. The life-span of lies is always short.”

In what can be termed a benchmark for transparency, he also commented on diverse issues including human rights, federalism, healthcare, education, women’s empowerment and the welfare of SMEs.

Sheikh Mohammed’s interaction took place through his website, www.uaepm.ae, where he hoped “my responses will generate positive discussion about the issues and values that Dubai and the UAE care about… Dubai is not only a catalyst of change; it is an exemplar of change.”

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Thai ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra leave Dubai for Africa

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 16, 2009

source Zawya

DUBAI, Apr 16, 2009 (AFP) – Exiled former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has decided to leave Dubai for an undisclosed destination in Africa despite the cancellation of his passport, local newspaper 7Days reported.

A spokesman for the former Thai strongman, who faces an arrest warrant in his home country, told the daily: “The government can say what it wants but it will not stop us. Every Thai has the right to a passport which cannot simply be cancelled.”

Thailand revoked Thaksin’s passport after his supporters forced the cancellation of an Asian summit at the weekend, but Nicaragua said on Wednesday it has granted a diplomatic passport to the fugitive former leader.

Thaksin is to be accredited as an ambassador with a “special mission” to help bring investment to the country, the Nicaraguan government said in a statement.

7Days said Thaksin had been due to leave Dubai late on Wednesday.

“We are going somewhere in Africa. Obviously I cannot say where,” the spokesman told the newspaper, adding that Thaksin expected foreign countries still to accept his Thai passport, despite its cancellation by Bangkok.

Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in 2006 and lives in exile to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption. He has made a series of speeches to his supporters in Thailand in recent weeks calling for a “revolution.”

A Thai court on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for the former PM and 12 associates, accusing them of having fomented demonstrations in recent days which have left two people dead and 123 wounded in Bangkok.

Protestors loyal to Thaksin, known as “Red Shirts” because of their trademark attire, say his allies were unlawfully pushed from power last year and they want current premier Abhisit Vejjajiva to step down and hold fresh elections.

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Comment of the day

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 14, 2009

Comment by “Criminology Professor” to Al  Fajer Properties – April 8, 2009 – Dubai court postpones 1,9 Billion Dollar case against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher bin Juma Al Maktoum, Sheikh Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum and Sheikha Maryam

In criminology, state crime is activity or failures to act that break the state’s own criminal law or public international law. For these purposes, A “state” is defined as the appointed officials, the bureaucracy, and the institutions, bodies and organisations comprising the apparatus of the government. In this situation the sheikh is not alone, the role of the state as one of the possible perpetrators of crime whether directly or in the context of state-corporate crime must be examined.

One way of examining state crimes is to study the occurence of a trend by the state security forces, whether the state respects human rights in the exercise of its powers.

A classical situation is when, the state is directly involved in excessive secrecy and cover-ups, disinformation, and unaccountability which often reflect upper-class, royalty and nonpluralistic interests, and infringe human rights and the state laws. One of the key issues is the extent to which, if at all, state crime can be controlled. Often state crimes are revealed by an investigative news agency resulting in scandals but, even among first world democratic states, it is difficult to maintain genuinely independent control over the criminal enforcement mechanisms and few senior officers of the state are held personally accountable. When the citizens of second and third world countries which may be of a more authoritarian nature, seek to hold their leaders accountable, the problems become more acute. Public opinion, media attention, and public protests, whether violent or nonviolent, may all be criminalised as political crimes and suppressed, while critical international comments are of little real value.

In a state where there is dictatorship and reoccurence of State Crimes, it will result in fostering organized crime, corruption, and authoritarianism. In some third world countries, this political atmosphere has encouraged repression and the use of torture.


Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Moscow Says Dubai Keeping Silent on Yamadayev Attack

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 14, 2009

source MoscowTimes

Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said Monday that his office was in the dark about whether Chechen strongman Sulim Yamadayev was killed last month and whether Dubai police wanted to arrest State Duma Deputy Adam Delimkhanov as the suspected mastermind.

Chaika’s comments raised questions about the level of cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Russia in the attack on Yamadayev in Dubai on March 28.

Chaika told reporters that the Prosecutor General’s Office has had no contacts with Dubai authorities over the attack. “All exchange of information goes through the Foreign Ministry,” he said, RIA-Novosti reported.

Russia’s consul in Dubai, Sergei Krasnogor, said Monday that the Foreign Ministry in the United Arab Emirates has kept quiet about the Yamadayev case. “We sent a note to the Foreign Ministry of the United Arab Emirates more than a week ago,” he told RIA-Novosti. Russian diplomats have not received a reply, he said.

Dubai police chief Dhahi Khalfan Tamim has said two men are being held in connection with the attack, and international warrants will be issued for four others, including Delimkhanov. Delimkhanov has denied complicity.

Yamadayev’s younger brother, Isa, maintained in an interview published Monday that Sulim was alive and being protected by Dubai police. He said his brother was recovering from injuries and would soon return to Russia, Moskovsky Komsomolets reported.

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Damac back in the headlines – Property developer`s victims surface Cairo

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 13, 2009

source zawya

13 April 2009
JEDDAH: The Damac Properties, a Dubai-based developer that has not been doing well in the face of the current global financial crisis, is caught in a new row involving its staggering real estate projects in Egypt after allegedly victimizing a number of investors in the Kingdom, Al-Madinah newspaper reported yesterday.

According to the daily, more than 170 Saudis and expatriates were recently discovered to have bought housing units in the company’s defaulting Hydepark project in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

The newspaper said the victims of the Cairo project were in addition to those who invested money in the company’s Al-Jawhara Tower project on the Jeddah Corniche.

Units in this prestigious project were sold to Saudi homebuyers, who were impressed by the company’s “unparalleled standards” of architectural detailing and interior design.

The newspaper said all attempts to obtain a comment from the company on the claims of the investors have so far failed. Hussain Sajwani, the company’s CEO, and its media relations manager had not been returning calls.

Al-Madinah quoted an official source at Damac, who did not want to be named, as saying that the leadership of the company had been evading questions from journalists because it did not want its problems to be publicized.

“This would help the company exert more pressure on its foreign and local investors,” the source added.

According to the newspaper, the questions the company was evading to answer included: When would the actual implementation of the projects start? When will the funds be reimbursed if the projects were not executed? How much would be the compensation for the customers?

Al-Madinah said the company was putting pressure on investors to pay their remaining installments in the projects on time saying unless they pay up it would take action on them for breach of contract.

The contract gives the company the right to abrogate the agreements with its buyers without any prior notice if they fail to pay rest of the installments.

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Just the Good News, Please: New UAE Media Law Continues to Stifle Press”

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 13, 2009

source The National UAE

UAE media law ‘falls short’

DUBAI // The UAE’s draft media law represents “significant” improvements, but does not go far enough and will continue to restrict press freedoms, according to a Human Rights Watch report released yesterday.

Representatives from the US-based rights watchdog were in Dubai for the launch of the report entitled “Just the Good News, Please: New UAE Media Law Continues to Stifle Press” based on an analysis of the pending law.

“The law is a step in the right direction, but does not go far enough,” said Samer Muscati, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher. “It shows positive reforms, but falls short.”

The law, which would replace existing 29 year-old legislation, has yet to be ratified by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE. The 45-article draft document was endorsed by the Federal National Council on Jan 20, but since then has sparked debate with proponents saying it will protect journalists, and critics contending it will only continue to stifle free expression.

Mr Muscati said that passing the draft law would present a “missed opportunity”, calling parts too vague and that it could perpetuate restrictions and self-censorship in the UAE’s media.

However, in a statement released yesterday, the National Media Council (NMC) said the HRW report did not represent a “fair assessment” of the law.

“The HRW comments and recommendations are based to a large extent on a failure to understand fully a number of significant aspects of the draft Media Law,” the NMC statement said.

“[The draft law] has not been designed for application in other societies, with different value systems, but is only to be applicable within the context of the United Arab Emirates.”

In its statement, the UAE media’s regulatory body stated that it welcomes “informed discussion and debate” on the draft law, before addressing specific concerns raised in the report.

The HRW report acknowledged positive aspects of the draft law, including an article which stipulates that journalists should not be coerced into revealing their sources. There are now just three areas which could result in penalties, as opposed to 16 in the 1980 law.

However, one of main areas of concern outlined in the report are the high fines prescribed by the law, including Dh5 million for journalists found to have personally insulted the President, other senior federal Government officials or crown princes.

Similarly, fines imposed for other “content based restrictions” including information that could harm the economy, are also cause for concern, the report stated, as well as what HRW described as government controls on the registration of media outlets in the country.

“The need to provide security deposits could discriminate against small and independent media and might lead to an absence of independent voices in the mix,” Mr Muscati said.

However, according to the NMC, the security deposit is necessary to insure that media outlets are financially viable. Furthermore any news deemed harmful to the economy would only be against the law if it was “misleading or erroneous and is known to be such by the writer”.

The 1980 media law includes scope for journalists to be jailed for their work. However, a 2007 decree issued by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, protected journalists from such punishments.

Nevertheless, HRW said there is a need for an explicit reference in the draft law stating that journalists will not be jailed or face criminal prosecution for their work.
The NMC statement pointed out that many of the issues, including those raised by HRW, will be clarified in regulations that will be issued once the law has been passed.

Earlier this year, a group of over 100 journalists, academics, lawyers and activists petitioned Sheikh Khalifa to reject the draft law. Ahmed Mansoor, an Emirati blogger and activist, was among the signatories and was present at the HRW report launch yesterday.

“One thing that is of most concern to me is that the imprisonment for journalists is not clearly prohibited in the law,” he said. “Also the need for media outlets to advance money for future penalties.”

The HRW report was compiled through consultation with journalists and activists from and based in the UAE, the Journalists’ Association, as well as with the NMC itself, which also met with the HRW representatives earlier this week.

The organisation has published reports in the past on press freedoms in countries including Sudan, China, Morocco and the US. However, the UAE’s case is particularly important, Mr Muscati said, because it is a “leader in the region,” and a law that protects the press could set a “good example”.

The rights group has previously focused on conditions for migrant workers in the UAE and their latest report on the subject is expected to be released in the coming few weeks.

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ACI Real Estate Dubai Niki Lauda Tower Project – Define Properties executive detained

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 10, 2009

source The National

DUBAI // A principal shareholder of Define Properties has been detained by Dubai authorities on provisional charges of fraud, prosecutors said today.

The arrest of the executive comes in the middle of negotiations with Alternative Capital Invest Real Estate (ACI), a Germany-based property developer operating in Dubai, to take over some of Define’s assets.

The major shareholder was arrested in mid-March after complaints were filed by an investor in Define Properties, said Tarek Daoud, the administration director of the company. He said the amount being sought by the investor was close to Dh30 million (US$8.1m).

“He is arrested and in Bur Dubai police station,” Mr Daoud said. A lawyer for the detained executive did not return messages today.

Robin Lohmann, the managing director of ACI, said the arrest would not disrupt his company’s negotiations with Define Properties.

“It is not affecting our deal,” Mr Lohmann said. “We are negotiating over a different part of the company that is unrelated to this case.”

Earlier this year, ACI took over the Niki Lauda Twin Towers in Business Bay from Define Properties after construction stalled and the future of the project appeared to be in jeopardy.

ACI had marketed and sold units in the building last year, but Define Properties was still responsible for building it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Omniyat Properties Management released from duty

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 7, 2009

source Zawya

Official Statement from Onmniyat Dubai, UAE, 7th April 2009:

It is with regret that we confirm that Mr. Peter Walichnowski, the Chief Executive Officer of Omniyat Properties, the real estate arm ofOmniyat Holdings, will step down at the end of his contract on the 1st June 2009. The group appointed Mr. Walichnowski last June to lead the company and spearhead its expansion plans both in the UAE and internationally.

“Peter has contributed significantly to Omniyat since he joined us, and we have greatly benefited from his experience and knowledge. However, the global financial downturn demanded a shift in strategy from growth to consolidation, and to the delivery of our existing projects. Thus, Mr. Walichnowski and Omniyat Properties have reached a mutual agreement for him to leave at the end of his contract,” said Mr. Mehdi Amjad, group founder and Executive Chairman.

Omniyat also confirmed that Mr. Alex Andarakis, Managing Director – Sales and Marketing was released from duty on February 12th 2009.

Mr. Amjad, who will now resume the role of Omniyat’s CEO, will address the media in the coming weeks to outline the company’s key milestones, new contract awards and the extensive progress the company has made on the delivery of its first projects.

Prior to joining Omniyat Mr. Walichnowski had his own real estate company in North Asia. He also held senior management positions in a number of leading property companies around the world, including CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Investments.

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The detention of Zack Shaheen, former CEO of real estate developer Deyaar, has been extended again for a month.

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 6, 2009

soruce Khaleejtimes

The detention of Zack Shaheen, former CEO of real estate developer Deyaar, has been extended again for a month.

Shaheen has been in detention for about a year in connection with alleged financial ir
egularities in Deyaar.

The detention extension comes almost two weeks after Dub
i Attorney-General Eissam Issa Al Humaidan announced that the investigation into possible involvement of Shaheen in corruption was nearing completion.

Al Humaidan also listed the charges framed against Shaheen and other suspects, i
cluding forgery, embezzlement, fraud and possible money laundering. The Attorney-General had told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the third Judicial Forum held on March 26 that an announcement would be made soon regarding Shaheen. “Within 10 d
ys, the Public Prosecution will take an action regarding Shaheen’s case as we have completed most of the


According to the UAE law, a suspect is detained for 21 days upon beginning an investigation, after which the case file is referred by the prosecution to the relevant judge who would decide whether to extend
the detention or not, based on the probe findings.

Al Humaidan said each time,
he detention could be extended for a month. After the end of that month, the file has to be referred again for another

month’s extension.

The Public Prosecution has contacted financial institutions abroad seeking information and evidence on alleged illegal transfer of embezzled funds.

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“Care should also be taken not to inhale the air after a wave hits the shoreline. This can prove hazardous to health” – Two beaches in Dubai closed as traces of Red Tide surfaces

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 6, 2009

Source Zawya – GulfNews

06 April 2009
Dubai: Beaches near Burj Al Arab and another one located close to the Umm Suqeim Park have been closed by the Dubai Municipality as traces of Red Tide in these two beaches have surfaced again.

Mohammad Abdul Rehman Hassan, the head of the marine environment and wildlife section, told Gulf News that there were no traces of Red Tide found on Dubai shores in the morning during water testing.

Red tide is the result of an influx of a type of algal bloom; it is so named because it turns the water a reddish colour.

“They have surfaced again and so we have decided to close the beaches to ensure the safety of beachgoers. People are advised not to venture into these two beaches. They should make no contact with the water, nor consume the dead fishes that are washed ashore. Care should also be taken not to inhale the air after a wave hits the shoreline. This can prove hazardous to health,” he said.

Hassan did not rule out the possibility of shutting down more beaches if the Red Tide continues to frequent the area.

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Dubai Police Accuse Lawmaker In Chechen Exile’s Killing

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 6, 2009

source RadioFreeEurope

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates say a member of the Russian State Duma who is a close relative of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has emerged as the chief suspect in ordering the assassination of a former Chechen general in Dubai.

Dubai’s police chief, Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan bin Tamim, told a news conference on April 5 that he would put out an international arrest warrant through Interpol for Adam Delimkhanov, deputy chairman of the State Duma’s Federal and Regional Affairs Committee, in connection with the killing of Sulim Yamadayev last month.

Yamadayev, who was shot in the head outside his Dubai apartment building on March 28, was the latest in a spate of Chechens killed after challenging Kadyrov.

Delimkhanov released a statement through his press secretary, Tamerlan Mezhidov, denying any involvement in the killing. “I am a politician who has battled terrorists for most of my life,” Mezhidov read. “I am prepared to assist any law enforcement authorities in this situation, including authorities in Dubai.”

In the statement, Delimkhanov said he doesn’t “understand the basis for [the Dubai authorities’] suspicion,” and called the announcement an “attempt to destabilize the situation in Chechnya.”

Tamim, the Dubai police chief, revealed new details in the slaying, saying the assassin ambushed Yamadayev outside his apartment in the city’s Jumeirah Beach district.

After shooting Yamadayev in the head, the killer threw away the weapon near the crime scene. Tamim said the weapon was a gold-plated Russian-made Makarov pistol similar to those used by Delimkhanov’s bodyguards.

Tamim said two suspects, an Iranian and a Tajik, were arrested shortly after Yamadayev’s killing. Four other suspects are still at large in Russia, he said.

Russian prosecutors say Russian law forbids them from extraditing Delimkhanov, who also enjoys immunity from prosecution as a Duma deputy.

“I am a bit disheartened and perplexed by this,” says Ruslan Kutayev, head of the International Committee for Problems of the North Caucasus, says. “At the same time, I don’t have any reason not to believe the United Arab Emirates police chief’s announcement.”

‘Chosen Successor’

Political analyst Yulia Latynina says Kadyrov has made it clear to his inner circle that he wants Delimkhanov to take over as president should anything happen to him, “as one of his most trusted confidants.”

Kadyrov’s father, Akhmed-haji Kadyrov, was killed by a bomb blast in May 2004 during ceremonies marking the anniversary of the end of World War II.

Delimkhanov served in a series of posts under Kadyrov before joining the Duma. He headed a police force protecting oil facilities and served as deputy prime minister in charge of security services in the republic. In 2007 he was elected to the State Duma on the pro-Kremlin Unified Russia party list.

Umar Israilov, another Chechen exile, in written statements filed with the European Court of Human Rights accused Delimkhanov of involvement in illegal detentions and torture in Chechnya. Israilov was assassinated in Vienna in January.

Another prominent Chechen, former Duma Deputy Ruslan Yamadayev — Sulim’s elder brother and a Kadyrov rival — was shot dead near the Kremlin in Moscow in September 2008.

RFE/RL’s North Caucasus and Russian services contributed to this report

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Dubai police accuse Chechen vice-PM in murder case

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 5, 2009

source AFP

DUBAI (AFP) — Dubai police on Sunday accused Chechen Vice-Prime Minister Adam Delimkhanov of ordering the assassination in the Gulf city state of the former Russian army commander from Chechnya, Sulim Yamadayev.

“Adam Delimkhanov is the man behind the assassination of Sulim Yamadayev,” head of Dubai police Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim told reporters.

Tamim said Delimkhanov was “wanted in the (United Arab) Emirates, and we will demand his arrest by Interpol.

“The weapon (used in the assassination) belongs to the guards of the Chechen vice-prime minister,” he added.

In a first reaction Delimkhanov rejected the allegations.

“The statements by the Dubai police chief are provocative and aimed at destabilizing Chechen society,” Ria Novosti news agency quoted him as saying.

Yamadayev, a bitter foe of Chechen leader Ramzam Kadyrov, was shot and killed on March 28 in a parking lot outside his apartment at Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residence complex.

“The crime is of Chechen making… It is a dirty settling of accounts… a cheap operation,” Tamim said.

The Chechen representative in the Russian upper house of parliament, Ziad Spassibi, said the police statements were “only aimed at covering up the total failure of Dubai police in the investigation.”

“These statements are aimed at aggravating the situation in Chechnya and in southern Russia,” ITAR-TASS news agency quoted him as saying.

“The killers should be hunted down where they are without pointing a finger at politicians.”

A source at the public prosecutor’s office in Moscow meanwhile said that whatever the outcome of the investigation Russia would not extradite any Russian nationals should there be any such request.

Two men, Mahdi Lournia from Iran and Tajik national Makhsud-Jan, are being held for questioning over the killing.

Tamim said Lournia was a main suspect but stressed that Iran and the Iranian intelligence service were not involved in the affair, and no other authorities had assisted Dubai police.

He said other than Delimkhanov, two Russians and a Kazakh were also on the wanted list. They left Dubai soon after Yamadayev’s murder, Tamim said. “Russia must move and take a firm position to rein in these killers,” he said.

Tamim did not clarify whether the suspected killer was among those arrested, but said they had a man in custody who had confessed to having said “Sulim has arrived,” in an apparent reference to recorded phone conversations.

Mystery over Yamadayev’s death engulfed the emirate last week, with Dubai police issuing a statement on the Saturday of the attack that he had been killed, a report which relatives denied.

“He was buried in Dubai,” Tamim said at the press conference.

On Wednesday, Spassibi came out and said Yamadayev had indeed been killed.

“Unfortunately, he is dead and has been buried in Dubai,” said Spassibi. “He was buried on Monday in Al-Kuz cemetery in Dubai at 3:00 pm local time (1100 GMT).”

A former Chechen separatist, Yamadayev switched sides in the late 1990s and became the commander of Vostok, an elite battalion which fought the rebels. He was honoured with Russia’s top decoration, the Hero of Russia award.

He was dismissed from the military late last year amid bitter rivalry with Kadyrov, and Russian police issued an arrest warrant against him over the kidnapping of a Chechen businessman in 1998.

Yamadayev left Russia and moved to Dubai four months ago for fear of his life after a brother was assassinated in September 2008, according to the Russian media.

“Exporting the conflicts of warring gangs in Chechnya to us is not acceptable… We will strike with an iron fist anyone who dares to violate our country’s security,” Tamim said.

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Dubai Jumeirah Beaches stay open as red tide approaches

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 5, 2009

source The National

Dubai // As a potentially harmful algal bloom approached Dubai’s shores, it seemed like business as usual over the weekend for hotels, beachside cafes and ocean-goers.

Callers to the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort, the Mina A’ Salam hotel, at Madinat Jumeirah, and the One&Only Royal Mirage were told that beaches were still open for swimming. An employee at the One&Only Royal Mirage said: “We are unaware of the issue.”

Despite partly cloudy weather, residents could be seen swimming at the public beach and near the Jumeirah Beach Residence.

Callers to the Atlantis hotel on the Palm Jumeirah were also told the beach area was open.

On Friday, residents on the Palm awoke to see warnings about the algal bloom posted on lifts and in lobbies. The notices, signed by Abdulmonem Almarzouqi, manager of environmental regulations at EHS-Trakhees, the area’s environment agency, advised the public to “avoid contact with affected water”.Government scientists were testing the emirate’s waters for algal bloom as swimmers were warned not to go into the sea. It was observed by sailors over the weekend in small blots off the Palm and in significant patches near the World archipelago.

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Residents living on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai have been advised to stay out of the sea following reports of algal bloom in the UAE.

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 3, 2009

source ArabianBusiness

Letters, dated Thursday, from Palm developer Nakheel were sent to people with homes on the man-made island to warn them to steer clear of the water, following advice from environmental health and safety officials.

Algae are microscopic organisms which serve as an important marine food source. They can multiply so rapidly that they form dense patches in the water, known as blooms which have become more common in the region.

A spokesman for Trakhees-EHS told Arabian Business: “Some blooms are harmful called Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) and can cause risks to human health as well as the marine life. Currently, UAE is experiencing blooms in some coastal areas including Dubai.

“Further investigation on the toxicological implications of this algae species is still on-going. In line with the potential risk due to direct exposure to algae we advise the public to avoid contact with affected water.”

Last November, Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) suspended the operation of the new water desalination plant in Khor Khan due to the phenomenon.

As well as the UAE’s Indian Ocean coastline, waters off Salalah and Muscat in Oman, Iran and the Straits of Hormuz have all been affected.

The algae was first observed around Dibba and in Fujairah last August and has since affected activities of dive operators and hoteliers.

Hundreds of tonnes of fish have suffocated because of a lack of oxygen in the affected waters.

Samples taken by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi this year showed that the bloom is usually dominated by a micro-organism which is not harmful to humans called cochlodinium polykrikoides.

The UAE is planning to work with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, an American ocean research organisation, to implement a research programme.

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Dirty money fears

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 3, 2009

source 7days.ae

The UAE is vulnerable to money laundering through smuggling, wire transfers, trade fraud, real estate and the gold and diamond trade, the US State Department has said in an annual report.

However, the report praised the UAE and Dubai governments’ efforts to cut down on money laundering, especially in the real estate and diamond industries.

The State Department’s Money Laundering and Financial Crimes report, which monitors countries around the world, said the UAE’s robust economic development and political stability “may leave the country susceptible to possible money laundering activities”.

“Given the country’s proximity to Afghanistan, where most of the world’s opium is produced, narcotics traffickers are increasingly reported to be attracted to the UAE’s financial centres,” it said.

“Other money laundering vulnerabilities in the UAE include hawala, (small wire transfer centres), trade fraud, smuggling, the real estate boom, and the misuse of the international gold and diamond trade.”

The report said hawala centres, where thousands of ex-pats would go to wire money home, are still likely to be the UAE’s biggest money laundering weakness.

While noting that Dubai is vulnerable to money laundering through its gold and diamond business, the report noted that the UAE has been a participant in the Kimberley Process certification scheme for rough diamonds since 2002, which helps cut down diamond imports from war zones.

Hossam Mohammad Abd El-Rahman, a money laundering expert with Allied Compliance Consultants in Dubai, said that the UAE Central Bank has done a lot of work to cut down on financial crimes.

El-Rahman, who has worked closely with the UAE and Dubai governments, said that the Central Bank had made “big improvements” in the laws in recent years and made it much more difficult to launder illegally-obtained money.

Last August, the Central Bank ordered financial institutions to register the details of anyone wiring or changing as little as dhs2,000 to stop money laundering.

Maryam Al Hashemi, the CEO of the Dubai Diamond Exchange, said Dubai has very strict standards for importation of diamonds and said there “can’t be any import or export of rough diamond shipments without being inspected and verified through official channels”. She went on to add that the exchange always cooperates with UN conflict diamond investigations.

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Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the credit rating of Dubai’s Emaar Properties

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 2, 2009

source WallStreetJournal

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the credit rating of Dubai’s Emaar Properties (EMAAR.AI), the Middle East largest developer,  to just above “junk” status due to its exposure to the emirate’s struggling property market.

Moody’s downgraded its ratings for Emaar and Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group by one notch each, taking Emaar’s rating to Baa1 from A3, two notches above “junk”. The outlook for both companies is negative.

“The one-notch downgrade of both entities reflects the more severe fundamental strains facing their business models,” Philipp Lotter, Moody’s lead analyst for Gulf-based corporates, said in a statement.

The term “junk” is used for all bonds for Standard & Poors’ ratings below BBB and/or Moody’s ratings below Baa.

“I don’t think the downgrades have come as much of a surprise to the markets,” said Fahd Iqbal, an analyst at investment bank EFG-Hermes. “The downgrade will serve more to confirm investors’ existing negative view on Dubai, given its tough economic outlook for this year and next.”

Real estate firms such as Emaar, which sits at the heart of the Gulf region’s building boom, have been hit by the impact of the financial crisis both at home and overseas.

Dubai’s once-booming property market has slowed in recent months and home financing has evaporated, impacting Emaar’s sales and property prices.

Last month, Emaar was downgraded by S&P to BBB+ from A- with a negative outlook, taking the developer almost below investment grade.

Shares in the company that is 31% owned by Dubai’s government according to Zawya.com, closed flat at AED2.20 on the Dubai Financial Market Wednesday. The stock lost 85% of its value last year.

“Both companies are real estate master developers with hospitality businesses and are thus more immediately exposed to the Dubai real estate market,” Moody’s said.

Amid the downturn in the property market, many large developers have been scaling back projects to survive the downturn.

In February, 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 (HBC) report said Dubai is delaying or canceling almost 60 projects worth $75 billion.


Moody’s said it held off from downgrading the companies further because of Dubai’s recently announced bond program.

“The severity of potential rating actions….was moderated as a result of the supportive action by the federal government,” said Moody’s Lotter.

“We thus balance a severe deterioration in the economic prospects of Dubai with a now explicit reliance on federal assistance,” he said.

Dubai announced a $20-billion bond program in February, and said the federal government of the U.A.E. had fully subscribed half of it. The move allayed some fears that Dubai and government-owned companies would struggle to refinance debt obligations this year.

Moody’s said that although the bond “provided greater assurances to the market that explicit financial support from the federal government is forthcoming”, it also highlighted the emirate’s “vulnerability in the current global economic environment given its reliance on volatile sectors such as real estate, trade, financial services and tourism, as well as its burgeoning debt and refinancing challenges.”

Moody’s Wednesday also confirmed its ratings for other key Dubai Inc. corporates including DP World, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority and DIFC Investments.

The ratings agency said the outlook for all firms is negative, “reflecting the prevailing uncertainty that exists within Dubai Inc., in particular the ongoing structural changes to some of Dubai’s core domestic sectors including real estate, and the potential for economic and market conditions to remain depressed over a longer period”.

By Stefania Bianchi, Dow Jones Newswires

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Diary of a distressed property investor, Part IV – – RERA and other Departments you need to survive ? your property nightmare in Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 1, 2009

source Kippreport

We know that property investors are struggling, and for the most part, we know why. But what most of us don’t know are everyday struggles they’re going through. One investor agreed to write a journal of her experiences for Kipp. We asked her to be ruthless: she obliged.

Click here to read Part I

Click here to read Part II

Click here to read Part III

Ah Rera. I loved the new regulations and announcements you made over the past eight months, and the threats you were making to incompliant developers raised my hopes that you’d come through for me.

I was wrong. Mind you, I know you have good intentions. All the announcements you’ve made recently are very nice, but it’s too bad that no one in your building has heard of them.

After months of waiting for my good-for-nothing developer to come through with either an announcement that they’ve broken ground or that they’ve cancelled the project, I decided to go to Rera to understand my rights, and to know what I would need to do to cancel my contract and get my money back.

Before I went, I called the authority a number of times to know what documents I needed to have with me to argue my case. Aside from the contract and the receipts, Rera asked me to prepare a letter explaining everything that had happened up until that point, and to outline – in detail – why I wanted to cancel my contract. I wrote it, printed it and filed it along with the hundreds of papers I had gathered about my developer.

I was ready!

Unfortunately, however, Rera wasn’t. I was told to get a number and wait for my turn at counter two. There was no one attending to counter two. I waited. I sat there with a file on my lap determined not to lose my temper, and waited for over an hour and fifteen minutes. No one showed up. I asked around if someone actually works at counter two, and I was told to be patient. So I waited some more.

And then, the guy sitting at counter one asked me what my issue was. I told him, and he said: ‘You shouldn’t be waiting here. You should go to the fourth floor, room 413, and speak to a legal consultant.’

So I went to room 413, where I found a waiting room with three people: two men and one woman, each sitting behind a desk chatting. I sat down and waited. Finally, one of the consultants turned to me and asked me what the problem was. I explained the whole thing. He said I should take my case to the Dubai Courts, and to speak to someone in the real estate section. I asked him why I had been told to come to Rera. He said he didn’t know.

Neither did I.

So I went to the Dubai Courts. I asked where the real estate department is, and I was taken by a helper to the department, and that’s when it hit me: no wonder developers feel they can do what they want. The department was made up of four men, two of which were throwing paper balls at each other, the third guy, the receptionist, was playing a game on his phone, and fourth man, the only one who was helping, was neither in mood nor capable of speaking English.

I spoke to him with my broken Arabic, explaining the mess I’m in and what I need from my developer (my money, my dignity, plus 9 percent interest). He was helpful, and once we got talking, he proved to be helpful. But the process he outlined hurt my brain.

He told me to draft a letter stating all the laws my developer has broken, and have it translated in Arabic. Then I should go to the public notary at the Dubai Court and have the letter authenticated. The court would then send the letter to the developer in the hopes that the mavericks would run to their escrow account and withdraw my cash.

If that doesn’t work, he said, go to court.

Court! I have never gone to court before. I didn’t even know how much hiring a lawyer costs. So I called a number of British and Emirati law firms to get an idea.

Apparently, here’s how it works: if I seek legal representation from a foreign lawyer, I’d have to pay him or her up to AED1,800 an hour for the ground work, but I’d also have to pay court fees and hire a local lawyer – who’d get up to 15 percent of what the court awards me – if my case goes to court. So, my foreign lawyer would act as a consultant to my local lawyer; in short, I’d have a team of lawyers, and I could kiss my present and future savings goodbye.

Or, I can go straight to a local lawyer and pay him or her directly. But then I wouldn’t have peace of mind.

It’s a tough choice, especially given that what little money I have is tied in a phantom property.

I was ready to give the translator and typist the letter that I drafted for Rera, but then I realized that I still have no idea what my rights are. How am I supposed to know if my developer has broken property laws if I don’t know what the laws are? And what am I supposed to understand of the property laws if most of the people I encountered at Rera and the court each told me a different story? The only laws I can reiterate are those that have appeared in the press, such as the much-contested and highly controversial Law 13. And to be fair, I don’t even know what it actually says, I just like the fact that investors have won cases because their lawyer’s cited it in court; last week an investor won his money back because his developer failed to register the transaction 60 days after it took place…thank you Law 13.

Incidentally, does anyone know how to find out whether your property or transaction has been registered with the Land Department?

In any case, I decided against having my letter translated. I didn’t want my developer to read a ‘threatening’ letter that had gaps. I wanted them read something that’ll knock them unconscious.

All I need now are the laws. Does anyone know where I can find them…in English?

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Dubai : Yamadayev still alive ?

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 1, 2009

source The National

DUBAI // Police disclosed yesterday that the former Chechen warlord who was shot and killed on Saturday had survived 19 previous attempts on his life before he moved to Dubai, even as the victim’s family continued to insist that he had only been wounded and was still alive.

It also emerged that the victim, Sulim Yamadayev, 36, had been living in the city with his wife and six children in a flat owned by the family. Earlier, police said Yamadayev had “retired” and moved to Dubai four months ago.

A police source said that despite the presence of two unarmed bodyguards, Yamadayev was unable to escape the 20th assassination attempt.

“There were 19 failed assassinations,” the source said, “and they succeeded in the 20th.”

According to the police, Yamadayev, a former Chechen rebel fighter who switched sides to fight for the Russians, was shot in the back of the head on Saturday afternoon in the car park of his apartment block at Jumeirah Beach Residence.

“No one is allowed to carry a gun here except for national security officers, and that’s why his bodyguards were unarmed and couldn’t defend him,” the police source said.

Meanwhile, Yamadayev’s extended family continued to insist yesterday that he was alive and recovering from the attack in a Dubai hospital.

The police remain adamant that Yamadayev died at the scene, with one senior official saying Yamadayev had been buried yesterday at Al Quoz cemetery.

Six hospitals in Dubai, when contacted by The National, said they did not have a patient by the name of Yamadayev.

Bloomberg News quoted Dr Ben Omran, whom it identified as an official at the police morgue, as saying that Yamadayev’s body had been released to his family.

Ziad Spassibi, a senator who represents Chechnya in the upper house of the Russian parliament, also supported the police account. “Unfortunately, he is dead and has been buried in Dubai,” he told the Russian Interfax news agency. “He was buried on Monday in the Al Quoz cemetery in Dubai at 3pm local time. This information is from official channels in the United Arab Emirates.”

According to Interfax, some Russian media have speculated that the police are trying to protect a wounded Yamadayev while they hunt for the culprits.

Bloomberg News also reported that Yamadayev’s younger brother, Isa, was continuing to insist that his brother had survived the attack. He visited his brother in hospital yesterday for the third day, Isa Yamadayev said, and doctors told him that his brother’s life was not in danger.

Later, Agence France-Presse reported that a Russian television station had carried an interview with Isa Yamadayev, again claiming his brother was alive.

“He feels fine,” he reportedly told NTV in a telephone interview from Dubai. “The doctors do not let us talk with him for a long time. They also said nothing threatens his life. Everything will be fine.”

The victim’s wife, Milana, and six children are believed to be in Dubai, but it is unclear if they are staying in the apartment, which is said to be registered in the name of Yamadayev’s wife.

Kommersant, a Russian newspaper, quoted Milana as saying that she, too, had seen her husband alive in hospital yesterday.

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Seven people have been arrested in Dubai in connection with the killing of Sulim Yamadayev.

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 1, 2009

source presstv

At least seven people have been arrested in Dubai in connection with the killing of Sulim Yamadayev, says a Russian consulate official.

Yamadayev, leading opponent of Chechnya’s pro-Moscow president Ramzan Kadyrov, was gunned down by unknown assailants in an underground garage in Dubai on Saturday. He later died from his wounds after falling into a coma at a military hospital.

“The suspects are all currently at the Prosecutor General’s Office in Dubai,” Russia’s Consulate General Sergei Krasnogor told RIA Novosti on Tuesday, adding that all the suspects had Slavic surnames.

Krasnogor will meet the UAE’s chief prosecutor on Wednesday to discuss the arrests and Yamadayev’s murder, RIA said.

Reuters also quoted the Dubai police chief as saying on Tuesday that a Russian national had been detained in connection with the murder.

Reports had earlier emerged that Yamadayev was alive and undergoing medical treatment in a Dubai hospital. However, a Dubai police source, speaking to RIA, dismissed the reports that Yamadayev had survived the attack.

Yamadayev is the latest of the foes of Chechnya’s President Ramzan Kadyrov to be killed in recent years.

Yamadayev — dubbed as a ‘Hero of Russia’ for his anti-terrorist military service in the Caucasus — was removed from his duties in August over an alleged involvement in the 1998 abduction and murder of a Chechen tradesman.

Yamadayev’s older brother, Ruslan, a former Duma deputy, was one of the Chechen exiles whose assassination in September last year is blamed on Kadyrov — a charge the Chechen president has categorically denied.

Five months ago and after the death of his brother, Yamadayev together with his wife and 6 children fled to Dubai, where he lived under a false name.

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