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    Jo Hopworth on Justice For Natalie – Na…
    Mariam on Criminal Complaint filed in Ge…
    Martin Kraeter on ACI Dubai Funds filed bankrupt…
    Independent Observer on Iranian’s lawsuit reveals roya…
    Rado on DubaiTouristen landen schnell…
    Dubai Citizen on Al Fajer Properties Case…
    Dane on Outlook in concrete- Dubai Wor…
    jamesl fayad on RERA Dubai – Dubai Prope…
    Jacques on Malika Karoum finally arrested…
    James Brown on ACI – Alternative Capita…
    Journalist on Al Fajer Properties-500 Invest…
    ron oakeley on ACI – Alternative Capita…
    Benson Fu on Shahram Zadeh against Al Fajer…
    Monika on RERA – Dubai mulls cance…
    Ali Varahram on Shahram Zadeh against Al Fajer…
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    • Criminal Complaint filed against Al Fajer Properties Sheikh Maktoum
      Criminal Complaint filed in Germany against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum CEO of Dubai Developer Al Fajer Properties The Dubai Sheikh who mislead and extort a German Couple  Germany – Dubai 2011 A German elderly couple , today 80 + 50 years old who have been Dubai Tourists since a decade, bought in 2005 an apartment at Nakheel´s Dubai Residen […]
    • UAE: Human Rights Blogger, Sorbonne Lecturer Charged With ‘Humiliating' Officials
      source Human Rights Watch www.hrw.org (Beirut) - The United Arab Emirates attorney general should immediately drop all charges against five pro-democracy activists to halt their trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The charges of "humiliating" top officials relate solely to the defendants' peaceful use of speech to criticize the UAE governmen […]
    • Nakheel Dubai Sunland Case
      June 5, 2011After 21 hearings, Chris O'Donnell, the Australian chief executive of Dubai's major developer, Nakheel, came to the defence of his former colleagues Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee. Mr Joyce and Mr Lee are accused of profiting from the sale of land that had been earmarked for a colossal high-rise development, which was to include the futur […]
    • Dubai Nakheel CEO decided to leave the company
      Dubai June 7, 2011 Nakheel said on Wednesday that its CEO Chris O'Donnell had left the company "after completing his contract terms". O'Donnell, an Australian who joined the developer in 2006, said he had decided to leave Nakheel following five years spent with the company, the statement added. O'Donnell has overseen a traumatic time […]
    • Owner of Dubai Developer Damac Hussain Sajwani files case against Egypt corruption ruling
      Dubai property developer Damac said on Tuesday it had filed an international arbitration case against Egypt over a land dispute and the conviction of its chairman and owner, Hussain Sajwani.A Cairo court last week sentenced Sajwani in his absence to jail and ordered him to pay a $40.5 million fine in connection with his 2006 purchase of land at Egypt's […]
    • Dubai Palm Jumeriah - Investors plan to take legal action
      Investors in Dubai Palm Jumeirah’s Golden Mile complex will this week serve the developer behind the project with a legal ultimatum to hand over their units or issue them with a refund.Up to ten investors in the luxury complex plan to issue Souq Residences with legal notice in a bid to force a resolution to a dispute that has been ongoing for more than a yea […]
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Archive for June, 2009

ACI Real Estate Dubai – Comment of the Day

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 29, 2009

Comment from : complain.aci June 28, 2009 at 1:13 pm


The press releases in Germany did lead to an enourmous media recognition.
Actually, there are several serious national and international requests, looking now for “ACI victims” here.

Thus, we are looking for

a) unit buyers with running cases,

b) suppliers running behind their moneys,

c) other serious detailed information.

Please, no gossip or twitters. Just facts.

As a first step, we can be contacted via E-Mail, complain.aci@gmail.com

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Ajman Property Investors File Fraud Case

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 24, 2009

A group of 20 property investors from Canada, the UK and Pakistan turned up in Dubai yesterday demanding a meeting with the Ajman developer Casamia Star, which they claim has failed to update them on their investments.

The group said they had bought properties in Frankfurt Residence, a yet-to-be built tower in Ajman. Casamia’s general manager, Merzak Gaci, refused to meet the group as they had not made an appointment and they were “rude”. Mr Gaci called police. Two officers turned up but there were no arrests.

The group said they had bought properties in Frankfurt Residence, a yet-to-be built tower in Ajman. Casamia’s general manager, Merzak Gaci, refused to meet the group as they had not made an appointment and they were “rude”. Mr Gaci called police. Two officers turned up but there were no arrests.

The investors then went to the Bur Dubai police station to file a complaint against the company. “The police told us to come back at 7.30 in the morning to file a case for fraud,” Mr Ghulam said.

Afterwards, he said, the group would go to the Ajman Real Estate Regulatory Authority and Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency.

Casamia Star was established by the German architect and entrepreneur, Hendrik Hommel. Mr Hommel is currently in Germany and unavailable for comment.

“We thought it was a German company and we trusted the market,” said Farhad Norousi, a spokesman for the investors. “But in February the developer Casamia Star sold its brokerage branch, also called Casamia Star.

 And in June the brokerage told us they have cancelled their contract with the developer, whose director has disappeared and they are no longer responsible”

He said investors did not know what had become of the money they had already submitted.

Mr Gaci said the contract with the developer had been cancelled because of a lack of co-operation, which “means when somebody does not pay you, does not give you the status of your construction”.

He added:

“What will happen to the investors? We all want to know. The investors’ money is in the developer’s account.”

Source The National

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ACI Dubai : The Fizzling ACI Towers from Boris Becker, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 24, 2009

18.06.2009 – The Fizzling ACI Towers from Boris Becker, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher

Souce: GoMoPa Berlin

ACI Niki Lauda Tower Define PropertiesAlternative Capital Invest (ACI), Germany‘s first and biggest mover in offerings of property investments funds in Dubai, went now in a sorrowing financial swirl. Senior head Uwe Lohmann (64) has to fear meanwhile daily that his son and head of Dubai operations, Robin Lohmann (34), has to move his presence in Arabia into a Dubai jail due to financial debts. Huge funds for projected towers with the branding partners Boris Becker, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher seem to be trickled somewhere in Dubai, the projects appear bankrupt.

The Germany based Financial Intelligence Service http://www.gomopa.net gained from four independent sources in Dubai that Ferrari and Maybach driver Robin Lohmann shortly has been taken in Dubai into custody for one night. The junior chief of ACI had furthermore to deposit his passport with the Dubai authorities. He shall not be allowed to leave the country before financial debts of ACI Dubai are finally settled.

Based on own publication, ACI since 2004 did accumulate EUR 300m (AED 1.5bn) from more than 8,000 private investors in Germany and Austria only. Purpose of the funds was the project development of residential and commercial property in Dubai in a volume of EUR 600m (EUR 3bn).

Up to date, only construction pits with unclear ownership situations are existing. Within the total of seven separate investment funds entities, independent external auditing and control never has been settled. Another managerial from ACI, formerly employed at Dynasty Zarooni, additionally shall have collected huge sums among Arab private investors. Dubai’s public prosecution is in process of investigation against ACI and its entire management due to suspected fraud and embezzlement of funds. The former DZ manager as well as most of ACI’s other managerial meanwhile left the country. Except Robin Lohmann, he now frequently has to show up at Dubai Public Prosecution.

According to ArabianBusiness, Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority RERA is investigating as well against ACI due to bounced cheques, fronting and breaking of Dubai’s Escrow Laws. Robin’s father, Uwe Lohmann (operating from Guetersloh, Germany) meanwhile tries to calm down the more than 8,000 German investors, who are waiting since March 2009 without success for a promised front-up profit share of EUR 60m (AED 300m). For June 26, 2009 he initiated an extraordinary general assembly via fax voting.

Even in 2008, many investors signed ACI shares with the expectation to make easily some 12% annual profit with a lot of emphasis. They paid at least shares in the value of EUR 10k (AED 50k) plus a surplus of 5% to ACI. Thus, due to the enormous success of ACI’s pilot investment fund from 2004, which was the first Germany based fund in Dubai over all, with profit returns higher than calculated.

This kind of masterpiece was the newcomer’s “ice breaker” in relations to many German speaking as well as Arab investors. Robin Lohmann received a lot of honors in Dubai as exceptional entrepreneur: He was the first German who received 2008 the “CEO Middle East Award” as well as the “Arabian Property Award”.
And, Robin Lohmann “invented” 2007 the so-called Tower Branding – giving huge investment objects the names of living legends. November 2007, Robin inked with the motorsport legend and airline chief Niki Lauda from Austria his first branding license agreement. Two residential and commercial towers (33 and 30 floors) in Dubai Business Bay shall be named Niki Lauda Twin Towers. Lump sum to be paid from the investor’s funds back in Germany to Lauda, was EUR 1m (AED 5m).

In January 2008, tennis and poker game legend Boris Becker became patron for another planned tower with 23 floors, next to Niki Lauda Twin Towers. Although his branding was related only to one tower, he received from ACI 100% more than Niki Lauda: EUR 2m (AED 10m).
Im Summer 2008, Formula One Driver Michael Schumacher joined as third prominent branding partner – name of “his” project Michael Schumacher Business Avenue with 35 floors. He received EUR 5m (AED 25m).
What a genius move! The media applauded and investors queued up in front of ACI’s offices. Huge funds went into ACI’s accounts and no one did wonder that the concerned HNWIs Lauda, Becker and Schumacher didn’t invest a single penny themselves in “their” tower projects.

Entrepreneur and millions juggler Robin Lohmann jumped with the branding strategy on top of Dubai’s Tower Flip Sales Bubble. “Sales is tremendously increasing”, stated his father Uwe in press releases. But when Dubai’s property bubble did burst in autumn 2008, the free fall for Robin Lohmann couldn’t be stopped. What did he wrong? Why did his projects switch “on hold”, although most of the other projects sustained the crisis? Martin Kraeter (45), Principal, Trustee and Dubai analyst at KLP Group Emirates and living in UAE since 5 years: “Lohmann’s branded towers with the name of prominent people have been very ‘hip’ in Dubai. But Lohmann and his management team closed any sales deal they could get. More or less blind they sold their off plan units to anyone, whoever came across. By this, they often sold units to ‘flippers’.

‘Flippers’ paid with signing of contracts just a down payment of 5 or 10%. If feasible, the project started with the first project step. Before starting the next level, the buyers had been scheduled to pay the next installment, what they didn’t or couldn’t. Because it was their plan to ‘flip’ – means to sell the purchased off plan unit before the next installment due date with a ‘premium’ to the next following ‘flipper’ – themselves. The financial crisis came up and all follow up ‘flippers’ disappeared, being the needed target to make the buck.

Due to the financial crisis and the consequences in lending policies of banks, these terrible speculator models disappeared over night. Serious fonds initiators and developers take at least 20 or 30% down payment so that the off plan buyers keep on track.”

What went wrong now with the fund entities II to V from ACI, to which also the branded towers are belonging?
The reasons gave Senior Uwe Lohmann by himself with a letter to all investors end of May: The fund entities would have been closed and finalized as per 31st of December 2008, due to the negative change of the double taxation treaty between Germany and the UAE. Closing per end of 2008 would enable the entities to pay out profits tax free, by this all projects has been sold out in one move to one buyer end of December 2008. Buyer was a company called YAMA International LLC from Dubai. But YAMA has not been able to pay the contract price in the amount of EUR 100m (AED 500m) because their bank loan and finance agreements failed. Due to that reason, ACI would not be in the position to pay its investors the front up profit share of EUR 60m (AED 300m) as promised per March 2009.

Dubai expert Kraeter values this letter as a Bluff: “It seems for me that the project purchase by YAMA is a fake. This over hasted sale of the construction pits should have been initiated by the specific tax-free situation, ending with December 31st 2008. But this obviously cancelled deal is in my view possibly more the spoofing of inproper usage of investor’s moneys.”

Before 26th of June – the deadline of the general assembly – now one wants to comment on that at ACI.


There are some more actual press releases in Germany coming up at the moment:

17.06.09 – http://www.gomopa.info/Pressemitteilungen.html?id=256&meldung=Die-Pleitetuerme-von-Becker-Schumacher-und-Lauda [Translation above]
22.06.09 – http://www.gomopa.info/Pressemitteilungen.html?id=259&meldung=ACI-Dubai-Fonds-inklusive-Lear-Jet-fuer-den-Juniorchef [German]
23.06.09 – http://www.gomopa.info/Pressemitteilungen.html?id=261&meldung=ACI-Dubai-Dr-Schulte-Anwaelte-pruefen-Haftung-von-Boris-Becker-Michael-Schumacher-&-Niki-Lauda [German]

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Al Fajer Properties-500 Investors Sign Petition Seeking Dubai Ruler’s Intervention in Dispute with Dubai Developer

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 22, 2009

Al Fajer Properties DUBAI, United Arab Emirates June 2009

Ebony Ivory Investors Group, 500 international property buyers and investors, have signed a petition requesting Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) and the Dubai Ruler’s Court to investigate the Jumeirah Lakes Towers Ebony Ivory Towers project, involving Al Fajer Properties and its marketing agent Dynasty Zarooni

The petitioners have asked RERA to cancel the Ebony Ivory project and require Al Fajer Properties to provide a full refund, alleging legal violations by the developer, including fake construction photographs and misleading press releases.

“We have paid approximately $140 million and have a signed contract from Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hasher Al Maktoum,” said Moses Oye, spokesperson for the affected investors from the US, Canada, UK, Russia, India, Iran, Pakistan and other nations. “Now, we want our money back.”

The investor group said it is essential for RERA to conduct a comprehensive and transparent investigation to resolve the matter quickly because of the potential damage it may cause to overall investor confidence in Dubai. “We understand that Al Fajer Properties is controlled by a powerful member of Dubai’s ruling family,” added Oye. “However, if our complaints are not treated as per the rule of law, that will damage the reputation of the Dubai government, which we believe has always stood for transparency, accountability and implementation of the rule of law for all.”

Advertisement June 2008 with false construction status
In its complaint, the investor group cited advertisements in a local daily newspaper published in July, 2008 that show construction cranes with Al Fajer Properties logo and a structure rising six floors above ground. The caption read: “Shot on location on 10th June 2008, Ebony Ivory, Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

However, independent media reports have confirmed that the photographs actually showed Al Fajer’s other project, Jumeirah Business Centre Towers.

In reality, the site for Ebony Ivory Towers is merely a hole on the ground with no workers or machinery on site.

The investor group has sought for an explanation from Al Fajer Properties and has raised the issue with RERA on a number of occasions, without receiving a response for the past six months.

Now the investor group is ready to seek further legal action against Al Fajer Properties and Dynasty Zarooni.


For Ebony Ivory Investors Group:
Moses Oye, +447956289390
Fax: +442084590202

German Version:

500 internationale Immobilienkäufer und Investoren, die der Ebony Ivory Investors Group angehören, haben eine Petition unterzeichnet, in der sie Dubais Immobilienaufsichtsbehörde (RERA) und den Dubai Ruler’s Court auffordern, das Ebony Ivory-Towers-Projekt ( Juemirah Business Centre Phase 2) von Al Fajer Proeprties zu untersuchen.

Die Unterzeichner werfen dem Bauträger Al Fajer Properties Rechtsverstöße wie falsche Baufotos und irreführende Pressemitteilungen vor und fordern die RERA auf, das Ebony Ivory-Projekt aufzulösen und Al Fajer Properties zur vollständigen Rückerstattung zu verpflichten.

„Wir haben ca. 140 Mio. US-Dollar bezahlt und haben einen Vertrag, der von Scheich Maktoum Hasher Maktoum  Al Maktoum unterzeichnet ist”, sagte Moses Oye, der Sprecher der betroffenen Investoren aus den USA, Kanada, Großbritannien, Russland, Indien, Iran, Pakistan und anderen Ländern. „Nun wollen wir unser Geld zurück.”

Der Investorengruppe zufolge ist eine umfassende und transparente Untersuchung durch die RERA unverzichtbar, um die Angelegenheit schnell zu aufzuklären und den potenziellen Schaden, den sie dem Investorenvertrauen in Dubai insgesamt zufügen könnte, abzuwenden. „Nach unserer Kenntnis wird Al Fajer Properties von einem einflussreichen Mitglied der Herrscherfamilie von Dubai kontrolliert”, erklärte Herr Oye weiter. „Sollten unsere Vorwürfe jedoch nicht dem Gesetz entsprechend behandelt werden, würde dies den Ruf der Regierung von Dubai schädigen, die nach unserem Ermessen immer für Transparenz, Rechenschaft und die gleiche Anwendung des Gesetzes für alle eingetreten ist.”

In ihrer Beschwerde führt die Investorengruppe Anzeigen an, die im Juli 2008 in einer einheimischen Tageszeitung erschienen sind. Auf diesen waren Kräne mit dem Logo von Al Fajer Properties zu sehen sowie ein Bau mit sechs Stockwerken. Unter dem Bild stand: „Aufgenommen vor Ort am 10. Juni 2008, Ebony Ivory ( Juemirah Business Towers 7 bis 9), Jumeirah Lakes Towers.”

Unabhängige Presseberichte bestätigten jedoch, dass auf den Fotos in Wirklichkeit  ein von Al Fajer Properties anderes Projekt zu sehen war, die Jumeirah Business Centre Towers 1 bis 5. Tatsächlich handelt es sich bei der Baustelle von Ebony Ivory Towers lediglich um eine Baugrube ohne anwesende Gerätschaften oder Arbeiter. Die Investorengruppe verlangte eine Erklärung von Al Fajer Properties und machte die RERA wiederholt auf die Angelegenheit aufmerksam, hat aber im Laufe der vergangenen sechs Monate keine Antwort erhalten. Nun sind die Investoren zu weiteren rechtlichen Schritte gegen Al Fajer Properties und Dynasty Zarooni bereit.

Die Ausgangssprache, in der der Originaltext veröffentlicht wird, ist die offizielle und autorisierte Version. Übersetzungen werden zur besseren Verständigung mitgeliefert. Nur die Sprachversion, die im Original veröffentlicht wurde, ist rechtsgültig. Gleichen Sie deshalb Übersetzungen mit der originalen Sprachversion der Veröffentlichung ab.

Dubai source Zawya

Posted in Dubai Fraud, Dubai Real Estate Scandal, Ebony Ivory Towers Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre, Sheikh Maktoum Al Maktoum | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Sheikh Mohammed had given the investigative team carte blanche – Corruption team makes its case

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 22, 2009

source The National

An independent team investigating alleged corruption in Dubai companies began laying out its findings in court yesterday, having been given unprecedented powers of scrutiny.

The team, led by Mohammed Mustafa Hussain, was appointed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, to investigate dealings at the developer Deyaar.

Mr Hussain told the Dubai Court of First Instance that an intricate web of land deals and transactions had created a massive fraud. He was giving evidence in the case of SA and IJ, two former Deyaar employees who stand accused of bribery involving the sale of land.

Both men have been on bail but only SA, an Emirati and former member of the Deyaar board, was present at the hearing, where he was represented by three lawyers.

In one case, the pair allegedly bought a piece of land and engineered its sale to Deyaar days later for almost twice what they paid.

SA, who was also an executive of Dubai Islamic Bank, had bought the land in Dubai Marina for Dh415.8 million (US$113.28m) on September 23, 2007.

Two days later it was sold to Deyaar for Dh800 million. In addition, Mr Hussain alleged, SA made a personal commission of Dh11.5 million.

As Dubai Islamic Bank and its subsidiary Deyaar are both government-owned entities, their employees are prohibited from accepting commissions.

The land deal had been struck between SA and IJ, who “initially claimed they did not know each other”.

However, Mr Hussain said his team had unearthed evidence that the two had been business partners before.

“When confronted about their history, IJ claimed that he was simply acting as the middleman for Deyaar,” said Mr Hussain. IJ had persuaded Deyaar executives that the Dh800 million price represented “an opportunity”.

During his investigation, Mr Hussain could find no one in Deyaar who could account for the doubling in the price of the land.

“The people we interviewed could not even give a single reason for the price increase,” he told the court.

He also provided evidence of a farm and another parcel of land that were sold in Al Ain, allegedly earning another defendant, AA, also a Deyaar employee, Dh73,647 in kickbacks.

Dubai’s public prosecution has charged 10 former Deyaar employees with a range of offences including bribery, forgery and breach of trust, swindling and supplying company secrets to competitors.

Speaking outside court, one of the public prosecutors said that Sheikh Mohammed had given the investigative team carte blanche to look into the Deyaar allegations.

By law, they were allowed to question anyone, and to demand any documents or files. The team reported directly to Sheikh Mohammed.

Sheikh Mohammed publicly stated his firm support for the investigations during an internet question-and-answer session in April.

“These cases are a sign of the Government’s clear interest in improving management of firms and its commitment to principles of proper accountability,” he said. “No one in the Emirates is above the law and accountability.”

There was, he said, “no room for corruption and the corrupt”, adding: “In all corruption cases, people are not only prosecuted and punished, administrative and legal holes that they exploited to commit their crimes are plugged.”

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Al Sheikh Deyaar Properties chairman resigns

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 21, 2009

source Arabian Business

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Deyaar Properties chairman Nasser Al Sheikh has resigned from his post, the Dubai property developer said in a statement on Sunday, without giving a reason.

Al Sheikh was replaced in May as head of Dubai’s Department of Finance after spearheading the launch of the emirate’s $20 billion bond programme in February, a move aimed at easing worries state-linked companies could default on debts.

“The board of directors of Deyaar will convene shortly to consider its ratification of the same,” it said in a statement.

Deyaar did not name Al Sheikh’s replacement.

Al Sheikh remains chairman of Islamic mortgage lender Amlak and is an assistant to the director of the ruler’s court for foreign affairs. (Reuters)

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Al Sheikh Deyaar Properties chairman resigns

Stripping down the laws

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 21, 2009

source Kippreport

June 21st, 2009

A Lebanese man in Dubai has been sentenced to one month in jail followed by deportation for wearing a cancer awareness t-shirt featuring a nearly naked Victoria Beckham, reports The National. The Dubai Court of Appeals charged him with offending public decency.

The 28-year-old was reportedly stopped at a bakery in Dubai last year by an Arab man, who questioned him about his t-shirt, which showed a nearly nude Beckham with the slogan “Protect the Skin You’re In.”

The two argued, and after the accused left to change his shirt, the police were called and charged him with three accounts; drunkenness, fleeing the scene of a conflict and offending public decency. The first two charges have since been dropped.

The shirts were designed by Marc Jacobs for a cancer awareness campaign; the accused was working as a brand manager for the Chalhoub Group, which holds the franchise for Marc Jacobs in the region.

Laws regarding public behavior in Dubai came to light when a British couple was arrested for having sex on a public beach last year.

It was followed by media reports earlier this year that claimed that the Dubai Executive Council had launched a campaign against what it considers inappropriate behavior in public. According to the reports, playing loud music, dancing, nudity, kissing, holding hands and being under the influence of alcohol in public will be considered offenses, and may result in jail time and fines.

Wearing revealing clothing in public, including short skirts and shirts that expose shoulders, will also be considered offenses, the council said.

Last week, the British Foreign Office launched a campaign urging British nationals to dress appropriately and respect local customs when overseas on holiday. The office warned that there have been several cases of British nationals being charged with indecent public exposure while on vacation, reported the Telegraph.

Research by the office found that half of all British women who sunbathe topless risk prosecution, and that one in seven men admitted to having had sex in a public place on holiday.

Some of the instructions given include: “Rude gestures in Dubai are considered to be an obscene act and offenders can be prosecuted,” and “topless sunbathing in Abu Dhabi is forbidden and liable to be punished by imprisonment or deportation.”

The latest incident again highlights the struggle that Dubai seems to be facing: being a cosmopolitan city with traditional Islamic laws. With more cases of “public indecency” making headlines, is the emirate trying to prove a point? And will the negative publicity prove to be detrimental to Dubai’s image?

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Stripping down the laws

Dubai doesn`t need enemies with friends like Paris Hilton

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 21, 2009

source Arabian Business Blog

Dubai has spent the past 20 years marketing itself as a luxury holiday destination for wealthy, westernised, European and Asian travellers – work that has paid off with the city becoming a household name in living rooms from Hong Kong to Huddersfield.

Americans, despite direct Emirates flights beginning several years ago to New York, and more recently to San Francisco, Houston and Los Angeles, still don’t entirely grasp the Dubai brand.

All that could change in the next few weeks as global party princess Paris Hilton is in town filming a series of Paris Hilton BFF for music television channel MTV.

Or will it?

So far, Ms Hilton has not worked too hard at breaking down the stereotypical image of a modern Arab state. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, a popular late night talk show host in the United States, she laughed off suggestions that only her eyes would be visible when dressed for Dubai, but went on to joke that she would be wearing a burkha.

More seriously, and I’m sure much to the annoyance to the generous Dubai people that are hosting her, she said that “they are very strict”, and “the rules are crazy out there”.

She eventually corrected Kimmel by saying that in Dubai “they are a little bit more lenient than anywhere else,” but undid the recovery by saying that she would not wear the perfectly charming little black dress she was wearing on the talk show.

In all, the interview could have been talking about Hilton going to Taliban-ruled Kabul, rather than the Las Vegas of the Middle East, Dubai.

See for yourself and let me know what you think.

Paris Hilton Talks About Her Former BFFs, and Filming in Dubai

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Al Fajer Properties Dubai Scandal media blackout

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 20, 2009

May 28. 2009
source Independent by Heerkani Chohan and PropertyWeek

Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum Ebony and Ivory Tower Al Fajer JBC Dubai Fake pictures allegations and a member of the ruling family , Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum, linked to a 429 pound million Dubai property row that has touched nerves across the city.

“Fake” pictures are at the heart of a property scandal that could harm the reputation of the once-booming real estate market in Dubai.

A major property development firm, Al Fajer Properies,  with links to the ruling family of the UAE city-state, and the firm’s marketing agency Dynasty Zarooni, are accused by investors, many of whom are UK citizens, of obtaining millions of pounds through the use of false construction photographs.

On Thursday, after local and regional media had been alerted to the situation by angry investors, news agencies across the city said they were silenced by senior representatives of the Government of Dubai, as orders were issued for reports of the storm to be pulled.

Around 500 property buyers of varying nationalities collectively purchased three planned tower blocks named Ebony 1, Ivory 1 and Ivory 2 in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers area of the Gulf city last year from property development firm Al Fajer Properties, at a total cost of £428 million.

The firm is part of the Al Fajer Group, ran by company president Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum, brother-in-law to the supreme ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

But at the weekend it was claimed that Al Fajer Properties and its marketing agent Dynasty Zarooni misled their customers into parting with millions of pounds by presenting photographs showing construction of three buildings, purported to be Ebony 1, Ivory 1 and Ivory 2, up to the sixth storey.

In fact the photographs were of buildings on neighbouring plots. Today, the plots on which Ebony 1, Ivory 1 and Ivory 2 are to be built, are empty holes in the ground, as our photographs show.

“I only handed over my money because I was shown property under construction,” said UK-based Ebony and Ivory Investor’s group spokesperson Moses Oye. “That’s my simple gripe. It’s a black and white issue.”

Mr Oye, who has parted with a little over £1 million – 20% of his total purchase price – had made the seven-hour flight from London to Dubai specifically to chair a press conference to raise awareness of the mess, after official government channels failed to take action.

“We have not sought legal representation as yet,” My Oye said, “because we have tried to square this correctly. The next step will be to go legal.”

However, the press conference was cancelled at the last minute by the hotel where it was to be held, citing “health and safety reasons.” The hotel, Dubai’s Mina A’Salam, is owned by Dubai Holdings, a Dubai government-controlled holding company.

“I asked for the reason to be put in writing, but the hotel refused,” Mr Oye said. “So I asked for a suite. But they said they did not have anything. I personally believe that the powers that be cancelled the meeting.” When contacted, Mina A’Salam management did not respond.

The conference was called to highlight a petition signed by the 500-strong investor’s group urging the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera), the government body which oversees the Dubai property market, to force Al Fajer Properties to refund the £86 million that has to date been collected by the firm from investors in the three towers.

After the meeting was axed, news agencies were called to a

neighbouring hotel to be told of the escalating situation. But

when reports began to surface on news websites, news

agencies received phonecalls from senior Dubai

government figures ordering them to be pulled.

“I had written half of the article when I was told by my editor to stop,” said a Dubai-based national newspaper reporter who attempted to cover the story. “The investor’s group have records of payment, and it’s obvious that they have been shafted, but we can’t write about it.”

The lack of progress on the three towers is a source of deep concern for the investors. Many real estate projects across Dubai were put on hold or cancelled as the torrent of easy credit that fuelled rampant development in the city ran dry with the onset of the global financial crisis.

“Whether Al Fajer are still going to construct or not is neither here nor there,” Mr Oye said. “They would not have got my money if they had not shown me fraudulent pictures.” Al Fajer Properties also declined to comment.

Fellow investor’s group spokesperson Atul Patel, who has parted with £600,000 added: “A lot of people would not have bought had they not thought the project was in an advanced stage of construction.”

The pictures also appeared in an advertising campaign in a Dubai-based national newspaper last July, with the caption, “Shot at location on 10th June 2008. Ebony & Ivory – Jumeirah Lakes Towers.” The two page spread included the seals of Dynasty Zaronni and Al Fajer Properties. Dynasty Zarooni also neglected to comment.

The news will further dampen the spirits of the once-booming Dubai real estate market – a vital facet of the city’s economy. Last year a number of senior executives from major property developers across the city were arrested in a high-profile fraud clampdown as the government sought to clean up the property sector.

With it, the global recession has brought a host of new problems. Many construction firms operating in the city, some of which are UK-based, are owed millions of pounds by Dubai property developers struggling with a lack of liquidity.

Among them is UK engineering giant WSP. The firm’s finance director Peter Gill revealed that the firm is owed £28 million by Dubai-based developers, some controlled by the city’s government.

Dubai’s property market has been likened by some to a giant ponzi scheme, where bigger and more grandiose projects were announced in a bid to keep investment rolling in until the financial crisis tamed the city’s galloping development.

At Cityscape Dubai, a major property exhibition held last October, government-controlled developer Nakheel, responsible for the giant palm tree shaped islands off the coast of Dubai, announced it was to build the world’s first 1km high tower. The Nakheel Tower – if ever built – will eclipse the current world’s tallest building, Dubai’s own Burj Dubai.

Meanwhile, state-owned developer Meraas unveiled a mammoth £16.3 billion development called Jumeirah Gardens, to be built in place of an existing residential area in the city.

Today, the plot where the world’s new tallest tower should be under construction is little more than a sun-baked stretch of desert. Work on the Nakheel Tower was halted in January, and work on vast swathes of Jumeirah Gardens has also run aground.

The national media blackout over the Al Fajer case is unusual even in a country gripped by a harsh media law, and a pending new law, that has already drawn criticism for its prohibition of free speech.

A report by the US-based Human Rights Watch group into the UAE’s pending media law, Just the Good News, Please, was published last month. “(The pending law) includes troubling content-based restrictions on speech, draconian fines, and harsh registration requirements,” the report said.

It highlighted a number of the new law’s provisions, branding them: “Not only unlawful intrusions by the government into the right of journalists in the UAE to freely express their thoughts and opinions on any subject of their choosing, but also an unjustified attempt to control the independence of the media.”

Words that will do little to inspire confidence in Mr Oye. “This is going to define my faith in the country,” he said. “If I’m dealt with correctly, great. But at the moment, it’s not going that way. We’re in the witching hour now.”

Heerkani Chohan is the pseudonym of a journalist living and working in Dubai.

Posted in Al Fajer Properties, Dubai, Dubai Property dispute, Dynasty Zarooni, Fraud Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre, Sheikh Maktoum Al Maktoum, Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum-2 | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Al Fajer Properties Dubai Scandal media blackout

Dubai : Shuaa fails to agree bond deal

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 19, 2009

source Financial Times

A long-running dispute between Dubai-based investment bank Shuaa Capital and the government-linked Dubai Group erupted into the open yesterday as both sides failed to agree terms on a delayed convertible bond issue.

Analysts said the case was raising questions about both the investment bank’s solvency and the willingness of Dubai-related companies to meet their financial commitments as the emirate tries to deal with its $80bn debt.

In October 2007, Shuaa Capital, one of the region’s oldest investment banks, sold a Dh1.5bn ($408m) convertible bond to Dubai Banking Group, a subsidiary of Dubai Group, which is owned by the emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

But on maturity in late October last year Dubai Group declined to convert the shares at the agreed price of Dh6 as the investment bank’s share price fell to Dh2.7 amid the financial crisis. Shuaa’s shares in February fell below par value of Dh1 and have since recovered to yesterday’s close of Dh1.7.

Shuaa has been negotiating with Dubai Group since October, but the deadline for resolution passed on Monday. Shuaa yesterday said it would go through with the 2007 agreement and asked the stock market to issue 250m new shares to Dubai Group, handing it a 32 per cent stake in the investment bank.

Dubai Group, which has been exposed to the real estate and financial services downturn, declined to convert and said it wanted “to redeem the note in accordance with laws”, demanding payment of the Dh1.5bn principal and interest.

At the end of the first quarter, Shuaa’s cash position was Dh400m and shareholders’ equity stood at Dh2bn, leading analysts to question the company’s ability to pay back the bond in cash.

Shuaa said it had been exploring every option to negotiate a resolution, but said the contract gives it the legal right to convert the bond into shares. It therefore does not face any solvency problems, it said.

Dubai Group, which disputes Shuaa’s interpretation, said it would continue to negotiate in the interests of both parties, saying “both companies are important for Dubai”.

The government controlled Dubai Financial Market, on which Shuaa is listed, briefly suspended trading in its shares yesterday and later said it would not issue the new shares to DBG unless both sides had come to an agreement.

Additional reporting by Robin Wigglesworth in Abu Dhabi

Posted in Dubai | Comments Off on Dubai : Shuaa fails to agree bond deal

Al Fajer Properties-Aufgebrachte internationale Investoren verlangen Ermittlungsverfahren im Rahmen eines 630-Millionen-Dollar-Immobilienskandals in Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 19, 2009

June 16, 2009 Dubai


Dubai – Vereinigte Arabische Emirate

In Dubai braut sich sich derzeit ein bedeutender Immobilienskandal zusammen.

Nach Angaben der Ebony Ivory Investors Group fordern 500 aufgebrachte Käufer und Investoren des Ebony-Ivory-Towers-Projekts im Wert von 630 Millionen US-Dollar ein umfassendes behördliches Ermittlungsverfahren gegen den Bauträger
Al Fajer Properties und seinen Agenten Dynasty Zarooni Inc.

Irreführende Werbeanzeigen und Pressemitteilungen, Verkauf nicht existierender Quadratmeter und verschwundene Anzahlungen gehören zu den dokumentierten Vorwürfen der Käufer, erklärte Moses Oye, ein britischer Investor und Sprecher der Al-Fajer-Properties-Investorengruppe, der Anleger aus den USA, Großbritannien, Deutchland, Russland, Iran, Indien, Kanada und Pakistan angehören.

„Wir fordern die Immobilienaufsichtsbehörde von Dubai (RERA) und den Hof des Herrschers von Dubai auf, ein Ermittlungsverfahren gegen den Bauträger einzuleiten, das Ebony-Ivory-Projekt zu stoppen und eine Rückzahlung unserer geleisteten Anzahlungen in Höhe von 140 Millionen US-Dollar anzuordnen“, erklärte Oye.

Oye bezog sich auf eine Reihe von gefälschten Baufotos, die im Juli 2008 unter dem Logo von Al Fajer Properties in einer Lokalzeitung erschienen waren. Auf diesen Bildern war ein Rohbau mit sechs überirdischen Stockwerken mit folgender Unterschrift zu sehen: „Vor Ort am 10. Juni 2008 aufgenommen, Ebony Ivory, Jumeirah Lakes Towers.“

In Wirklichkeit seien diese Fotos bei einem anderen Bauprojekt von Al Fajer gemacht worden und beim Ebony-Ivory-Projekt sei im Moment nichts weiter zu sehen als ein Loch im Erdboden, so Oye. „Hätten wir gewusst, dass Al Fajer Properties falsche und irreführende Fotos ausstellt, dann hätten wir nie in dieses Projekt investiert“, fügte er hinzu. „In der Tat haben einige Anleger bereits bei der Staatsanwaltschaft in Dubai Anzeige wegen betrügerischer Darstellung erstattet.“

Im vergangenen Jahr habe die Baustelle nach Aussagen von Oye praktisch keinerlei Fortschritte gemacht. Außerdem hätten die Investoren erfahren, dass der Projektträger rund 250.000 Quadratfuß mehr Fläche verkauft habe, als nach der Baugenehmigung zulässig sind – ein weiterer Hinweis auf potenziell betrügerische Vorgehensweisen.

Und der wichtigste Punkt sei, dass Al Fajer Properties rund 55 Millionen US-Dollar der an Anzahlungen geleisteten 140 Millionen US-Dollar an Dynasty Zarooni Inc. ausbezahlt habe, anstatt sie in ein Treuhandkonto einzuzahlen, sagte Oye. „Wir verlangen unser Geld zurück und wir wollen wissen, warum Al Fajer diese Gelder an Dynasty Zarooni bezahlt hat, anstatt den Bau damit zu finanzieren“, setzte Oye hinzu. „Nach dem Gesetz wird die Unterschlagung von Geldern, die zu Bauzwecken für ein Immobilienprojekt bezahlt wurden, mit Gefängnis- und Geldstrafen geahndet.“

Bisher habe die RERA die Forderungen der Investoren bezüglich einer transparenten Ermittlung und der offensichtlichen Verletzungen der RERA-Bestimmungen und Strafgesetze der VAE zugunsten der Interessen von Scheich Maktoum Bin Hasher Al Maktoum und Al Fajer Properties gänzlich ignoriert, sagte Oye. „Was kann man machen, wenn die vom Herrscher von Dubai mit der Regulierung und Beaufsichtigung der Bauträgerleistung betraute unabhängige Regierungsbehörde in Wirklichkeit an einer Vertuschung beteiligt ist, mit denen die Investoren ihrer Rechte beraubt werden?

Was sagt das über die Sicherheit von Immobilieninvestitionen in Dubai aus?

Wo bleibt die vom Herrscher von Dubai angeordnete Transparenz und Rechenschaftspflicht?

Gelten die Gesetze nicht mehr, wenn Scheich Maktoum Bin Hasher Al Maktoum die Hand im Spiel hat?“

„Al Fajer Properties, das von Maktoum Hasher Juma Al Maktoum, einem Scheich aus einer Herrscherfamilie kontrolliert wird, der die Regierungsagentur als Plattform benutzt, führt die Öffentlichkeit weiterhin mit falschen Berichten über nicht vorhandene Bauarbeiten hinters Licht. w

Wie der jüngsten Pressemitteilung von Al Fajer Properties zu entnehmen ist, seien angeblich 15 Prozent der Bauarbeiten abgeschlossen , während es in Wirklichkeit ein verödeter Bauplatz ohne jegliche Bauarbeiten ist“, erklärte Oye.

In seiner Zusammenfassung des Falles brachte Oye ernste Bedenken über kürzliche Drohungen zum Ausdruck, die einige der Investoren in letzter Zeit erhalten hätten.

Er zitierte sodann Rechtsanwalt Salim Al Shaali, den Vertreter der Kläger in einer wegen betrügerischer Darstellung gegen die Ebony-Ivory-Verkaufsstelle anhängigen Klage.

In einem vor kurzem abgegebenen Interview sagte Al Shaali: „Wir haben volles Vertrauen in das Rechtssystem von Dubai. Ich persönlich garantiere allen Investoren, dass die Regierung von Dubai es nie zulassen würde, dass einige Personen ihre soziale oder amtliche Stellung für illegale Profite missbrauchen und das Ansehen der Marke Dubai als einen in jeder Beziehung sicheren Investitionsknotenpunkt der Region schädigen.

Wir warten auf eine Antwort der Staatsanwaltschaft.“

Die Ausgangssprache, in der der Originaltext veröffentlicht wird, ist die offizielle und autorisierte Version. Übersetzungen werden zur besseren Verständigung mitgeliefert. Nur die Sprachversion, die im Original veröffentlicht wurde, ist rechtsgültig. Gleichen Sie deshalb Übersetzungen mit der originalen Sprachversion der Veröffentlichung ab.

Ebony Ivory Investors Group
Moses Oye, +447956289390
Fax: +442084590202

Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Al Fajer Properties-Aufgebrachte internationale Investoren verlangen Ermittlungsverfahren im Rahmen eines 630-Millionen-Dollar-Immobilienskandals in Dubai

Comment of the Day – Driven by good faith in the name ACI and its German CEO

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 16, 2009

Wirtten to 7Stars by James 16. Jun2 2009

Driven by good faith in the name ACI and its German CEO, I have entrusted ACI AED 750,000.00 with the INTENT to purchase an apartment/unit in ACI’s Project PALAZZO ARABIA Al-Furjan.

I have not signed any reservation contract/agreement, much less the Purchase/Sales Contract, since I did not consent to the conditions. Since the project entertains an escrow account with NBAD, I trusted that my funds will be sitting in that account.

In order to have access to information about that, I would have to register the Unit, which I “intended” to purchase with RERA. This would cost another up 3 percent of the offered sales price of some AED 2.6 million.

As per legal advise, I decided not to do that and instead file a very clear-cut criminal complaint based on allegations of potential embezzlement of funds and unjustified enrichment, after the legal department of ACI responded negative to the request of my attorney to refund my AED 750,000.00.

Question: would anyone, who read this comment, know of other formerly interested parties of the PALAZZA ARABIA project of ACI?

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Comment of the Day – Driven by good faith in the name ACI and its German CEO

Al Fajer Properties – Angry International Investors Demand Investigation in $630 Million Dubai Real Estate Scandal

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 16, 2009

source Financial Post

Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum of Al Fajer Properties  is giving interviews about thesucess but a major real estate scandal ( Al Fajer Properties)  is unfolding in Dubai as 500 angry unit buyers and investors in the $630 million Ebony Ivory Towers project demand a full government investigation of developer Al Fajer Properties and its agent Dynasty Zarooni , according to Ebony Ivory Investors Group.”

Misleading advertisements and press releases, overselling of non existing space and the missing down payments are among the buyers’ documented complaints, according to Moses Oye, a British investor and spokesperson for the Al Fajer Properties Investors Group having investors from US, UK, Russia, Iran, India, Canada & Pakistan.

“We are calling on Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) and the Dubai Ruler’s Court to investigate the developer, cancel the Ebony Ivory project and compel a refund of our $140 million in down payments,” said Oye.
al fajer properties advertisement dubai with false construction status

Al Fajer properties advertisement dubai with false construction status

Oye cited a series of fake construction photographs that ran in a local newspaper in July 2008 with Al Fajer Properties logo. The photos showed a structure rising six floors above ground with the following caption: “Shot on location on 10th June 2008, Ebony Ivory, Jumeirah Lakes Towers.”

In reality, the photos were taken at another Al Fajer site and currently there is only a hole in the ground at the Ebony Ivory project, according to Oye.

Al Fajer Proepreties Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Developer JBC Dubai

Real Situation of Ebony and Ivory Towers June 2009 Developer Al Fajer Properties Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum

“Had we known that Al Fajer Properties was presenting false and misleading photographs, we would never have invested in the development,” he said.
“In fact, some investors have already filed criminal cases for misrepresentation with the Dubai Public Prosecutor.”

In the past year, there has been virtually no construction on the site, said Oye. In addition, investors have learned that the developer sold approximately 250,000 square feet more space than the maximum built-up area allowed by government permit – another indicator of potential fraud selling air.

Most importantly, Al Fajer Properties paid Dynasty Zarooni Inc approximately $55 million of the $140 million collected in down payments that should have been deposited in an escrow account, Oye said. “We demand our money back and want to know why Al Fajer gave those funds to Dynasty Zarooni rather than use them for construction,” continued Oye.

“The law sets a punishment of imprisonment and fines for any person who embezzles payments made for the purpose of construction of real estate project.”

To date, RERA has ignored the investors’ demands of a transparent investigation and the evident violations of RERA regulations and UAE criminal laws in order to serve the interests of Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hasher Al Maktoum and Al Fajer Properties, said Oye.

“What do you do when the independent government agency trusted by the Ruler of Dubai to regulate and monitor the real estate developer’s performance actually participates in a cover-up operation that deprives investors of their rights?

What does that say to the world about the security of real estate investments in Dubai?

Where is the transparency and accountability Dubai Ruler ordered?

Are the laws not applicable when it comes to Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hasher Al Maktoum?” Stated Oye

Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum Al Fajer Properties Dubai

Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum Al Fajer Properties Dubai

“Al Fajer Properties, which is controlled by Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, a Sheikh from a ruling family using the government agency platform, continues to mislead the public about their non-existing construction with false reports as evident in their recent press release claiming 15% construction where in reality it is a deserted site with no construction at all.”

Summing up the case, Oye raised grave concerns about the recent threats some of the investors have received and quoted attorney Salim Al Shaali who represents plaintiffs in a criminal case against the Ebony Ivory sales agency for misrepresentation.

In a recent interview, Al Shaali said,

“We have full trust in Dubai justice system. I personally guarantee all investors that Dubai government will never allow a few individuals to abuse their social or official positions for illicit profits and damage the reputation of the brand Dubai as a safe and most secure investment hub in the region.

We are waiting for a reply from the prosecution’s office”

Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Al Fajer Properties – Angry International Investors Demand Investigation in $630 Million Dubai Real Estate Scandal

Dubai – UAE: Arbitration cases to touch Dh70 Billion – 80 per cent of them are real estate and construction-related

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 15, 2009

source Zawya – Business 24/7

Dubai, 15 June 2009

The value of arbitration cases in Dubai has more than doubled to Dh65 billion this year over the past year, and about 80 per cent of them are real estate and construction-related, said a top official from the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (Diac).

“Under the arbitration mechanism, we have for this year alone 140 cases in addition to the 100 cases we had last year. As of March, active cases under examination is worth Dh65bn but I think the number has already increased and the amount of disputes can reach Dh70bn this year,” Dr Hussam Talhuni, Director of Diac, told Emirates Business.

He expects the number of such cases to continue to increase “dramatically” due to the current adverse economic climate.

Disputes under the Diac is different from those lodged in Dubai Courts. Arbitration – a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) – involves resolution of disputes outside the courts, in which a third party reviews the case and imposes a decision that is legally binding for both sides.

“We are not related to Dubai Courts, we are helping the ministry on a federal level to adopt modern systems for the courts… The increase in the awareness of the importance of arbitration has led to the more than double increase in the number of cases, 75-79 per cent of which are related to property and construction,” Talhuni said.

Unlike litigation cases, arbitration takes shorter period. “We usually finalise more than 60 per cent of the cases by the end of the year,” he said.

Dubai is now looking at speeding up the procedure further to be able to cut down the resolution period in one to three weeks, Talhuni said, adding that the centre is hoping to finalise the ADR mechanism by the end of the year.

Talhuni said the current economic situation requires quick and fast action from all parties to accelerate the process of economic reforms and one of the mechanisms to resolve trade disputes is by providing quick solutions which will lead to the reduction of the number of court cases.

He said the ADR mechanism will create an atmosphere of trust in the business community and will provide the investors, both local and international, the confidence about the efficiency of the UAE courts in resolving commercial disputes quickly and at a lower cost.

“The current system involves litigation, which involved the courts and all the rigid procedures, according to the national law, where a judge will hear the parties and give them years and years of procedures. Whereas in alternative dispute resolution, since they are alternative they aim to provide quicker solutions, in a less expensive process and more peaceful climate for the parties,” he said.

The centre is studying on whether to introduce this “new legal layer of mediation/reconciliation” in the courts. “Under the courts, they have this amicable settlement mechanism but if you compare that to the modern application of ADR, you cannot consider it as part of the modern applications.”

Legal experts say more than 90 per cent of the cases are resolved even before they come to court anywhere in the world. Despite this, Talhuni said, ADR is still much more needed in today’s times. “Mediation is the mechanism that will help parties settle the disputes… wherein maybe each party may give up some part of their rights and accordingly sign a settlement,” he said.

By Karen Remo-Listana

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Dubai – UAE: Arbitration cases to touch Dh70 Billion – 80 per cent of them are real estate and construction-related

Investors of Indigo Properties’, a Dubai-based developer, are concerned by the developer’s proposal to take over their right

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 11, 2009

source Business 24/7

Investors of Indigo Properties’, a Dubai-based developer, are concerned by the developer’s proposal to take over their right to shift them to another cluster in one of their projects if they accept their re-pricing offer.

According to the re-pricing offer e-mailed to an investor, the company said it is offering a “considerable” discount [17 per cent] to the investor, reducing the price per square feet to Dh750 from Dh900 on its Indigo Ville project in Jumeirah Village.

Although the company has given a payment plan, it has not given a construction schedule.

“If I accept the re-pricing offer, then they reserve the right to transfer my unit to another cluster. But if I am paying for it, then the choice must rest with me,” an investor said on condition of anonymity. “We have asked the company for a construction update, but we haven’t got any response from them. They need to link payments to construction milestones,” added the investor.

A senior Indigo Properties official told Emirates Business the developer is going ahead with all its announced projects. But as a short-term measure it is offering investors of Indigo Ville the option of switching over to clusters that are currently under construction.

“We are going ahead with all our projects and none of them are cancelled. We are offering revised payment plans to our investors, with Indigo Ville buyers being proposed a re-pricing offer. And for bulk buyers in the project, we are willing to take back 50 per cent of the stock they had bought.”

The company executive said they are not forcing investors to accept the offer, rather they are giving them the chance to switch over to a property that will be completed before theirs. “Those who do not wish to accept this offer can continue with their old contracts. We will build all the projects that we have announced, but our plans have been delayed.”

The developer is currently working on cluster four and six of the Indigo Ville project. Each cluster has 12 to 19 townhouses.

Meanwhile, a number of developers in Dubai have started to offer investors the option to move over to projects that are currently under construction. In February, the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) had said it expected about 25 per cent of the projects in the emirate to be consolidated.

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Dubai Where Are The Locals ? Forbes Headlines

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 3, 2009

Forbes March 11, 2009

Seven suspects have reportedly been singled out by the authorities, but all of them are foreigners.

Dubai’s anti-corruption probe seemed in full swing Tuesday, after seven expatriate businessmen were reportedly accused by prosecutors of taking part in a $500.0 million fraud at Dubai Islamic Bank. The suspects included three Britons, two Pakistanis, one Turk and one American, according to the Associated Press, raising concerns that local Emiraatis might not be held as fully accountable as the expat brigade.

“Some might say that it’s evidence of the anti-corruption drive, but again, where are the Emiraatis?” wondered Christopher Davidson, a British academic who has authored several books on Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. “There have to be the local sponsors, the line managers, the people whose desk at which the buck stopped.”

The alleged fraud involved a company called CCH, which according to reports was linked to some of the named suspects and may have forged documents to fraudulently obtain funds from Dubai Islamic Bank. The bank issued a statement on Tuesday claiming its exposure to CCH was around $330.0 million and that it was chasing down assets “in a range of countries.”

The former chief executive of Dubai Islamic Bank, Saad Abdul Razak, was reportedly taken into custody last year for questioning, as part of the authorities’ probe of the real-estate sector, but his name does not seem to have made the final list. Press reports claim that a handful of local Emiraati executives have also been interrogated, including Sami al-Hashemi, ex-CEO of real-estate developer Mizin, and Abdul Salam al-Marri, head of the Lagoons development on Dubai Creek.

Although Dubai’s defenders cite the example of a former cabinet minister, named in press reports as Khalifa Mohammad Bakhit al-Falasi, who was sentenced to two years in jail in February for an unrelated case of fraud and embezzlement, the truth is that very few local Emiraatis have been charged or punished as a result of such investigations.

Expatriate businessmen have also accused the Dubai authorities of torture and detention without charge, including Zack Shahin, ex-CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank’s real-estate subsidiary Deyaar Properties, and Shahram Abdullah Zadeh, former manager of developer Al-Fajer Properties Dubai  (See “Desert Storm In Dubai.”)

Zack Shahin is still behind bars and still has not been charged, according to one of his American lawyers, James Pitts, who told Forbes that there were around 40 other foreign businessmen in a similar situation in Dubai.

When asked whether Shahin might have provided names to the authorities in exchange for a lighter potential sentence, or exemption from the charge sheet, Pitts replied: “I am certainly not aware of any such arrangement.”

Read also: Desert Storm in Dubai

Read also : Madoff of The Mideast Denies Charges

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Dubai Dream Villas show their ( not so old) age – Complaints of poor quality dream home owners

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 2, 2009

source The National UAE

DUBAI // Rama Hariharan wonders if her six-bedroom, Dh5 million (US$1.36m) dream home has begun succumbing to Mother Nature.

Sections of her villa, adorned with custom-made furniture from Indonesia, leak profusely when it rains, leaving behind permanent water stains. The walls in the stairwell leading to the second floor are crisscrossed with small cracks. So too is the building’s sun-baked facade.

“It’s a lovely place,” says Mrs Hariharan, 50, from India, as she gives a tour of her home in The Lakes. “But the construction quality, well, we’re a bit disappointed.”

Mrs Hariharan suspects that her three-year-old freehold villa may be prematurely ageing. She is not alone.

From The Greens and The Springs to The Lakes, homes in some of Dubai’s neighbourhoods built in the early stages of the construction boom have crumbling facades, peeling paint and sagging roofs.

As the nicks and cracks grow, residents’ concerns that their expenses will shoot up after their warranties – usually 10 years for a villa – expire are also on the rise.

Some blame poor craftsmanship, a consequence of rapidly building thousands of villas and apartments during a short time. Others point to poor maintenance standards. Mother Nature has also played a part, the extreme heat taking years off the lives of buildings, construction experts say. Most, however, agree the phenomenon is an eyesore.

“We’re not going to be living here forever, but you want a place that’s a better quality of living,” says Ahmed Ibrahim, 38, an Egyptian who lives with his family in a two-bedroom apartment in The Greens. The neglect “gives you the feeling that the area could be substandard, lower quality”.

He says his family enjoys the community-oriented design of The Greens, notably its swimming pools and barbecue pits.

But the ceiling in his apartment is crumbling away, and the development’s common areas are dotted with sheets of peeling paint. From the outside of the complex, entrances and tan-stuccoed walls appear to be in need of some tender loving care.

The culprit, Mr Ibrahim suspects, is neglect.

“To be fair, the community here, the facilities, they’re OK,” he says. “But from 2005 to today is just four years – that’s a short time to be experiencing these problems. When it comes to maintenance, to the quality of the buildings, there is room for improvement.”

In an e-mailed statement, Emaar, the master developer of these residential complexes, said its properties were “delivered to the strictest quality standards with appropriate warranties in place”.

Residents with maintenance issues can call Emaar’s hotline (800-EMAAR). “The normal signs of wear and tear in buildings,” the statement said, “are easily remedied via the planned preventive maintenance programmes and other remedial measures that are conducted on an annual basis based on the urgency of the requirement.”

But some residents, such as Nagham Hiraki, who with her husband rents a villa in The Springs 15, fear serious structural problems could cause certain parts of home to collapse.

“The place isn’t sound,” says Mrs Hiraki, 47, a Syrian national who says she has had difficulty getting her landlord and property management companies to address problems in the three-bedroom home. “For a while, I was afraid that the garage was going to fall.”

She estimates that she and her husband have paid Dh7,000 for repairs since they moved into their villa three years ago. That sum does not include a large crack that has gradually bisected her living room, or those that run along her stairwell.

The problems have convinced her to move, possibly to the Jumeirah Beach Residence apartment towers at Dubai Marina. “I wouldn’t want to live in this villa even if the rent was Dh10,000 a year,” she says.

In nearby areas, for example The Springs Four, residents also complain about a broad range of issues, including sinking driveways, sagging garages and shoddy plumbing.

In most cases, the structural integrity of villas and apartments in these residential areas is sound, says Martin Seaward-Case, a chartered surveyor who has observed construction in Dubai for the better part of a decade.

If there are issues, he says, they will probably be localised to certain sections of these communities. Because construction was delegated to hundreds of subcontractors with varying experience, it is possible that clusters of villas could have inferior build quality.

Between 150 and 300 subcontractor companies were involved in the building of these areas, he says, “so you’ll have sections that were just built better.” The Springs contains about 4,700 homes, according to the property research firm Landmark Advisory.

If anything, Mr Seaward-Case says, the “tenacious climate is more responsible than the actual build quality” for such issues as chipping paint and leaky roofs. Compared with structures in Europe, Dubai’s harsh weather probably reduces a typical villa’s life expectancy by a decade or more.

“Flat roofs are notoriously difficult to get right in this part of the world,” he says. “It only rains for two days a year, so for the other 363 days of the year it has got to deal with this incredible thermal shock that happens to it during the day.”

According to some property-management firms, the country’s unusually warm climate makes diligent upkeep all the more important.

But this is often neglected, Mick Dalton, general manager of Abu Dhabi-based Marafeq Facilities Management, says. “With the harsh environment here, it needs to be done on a regular basis.”

According to Adrian Quinn, chairman of Essential Community Management, unless the practice of property management in the UAE changes, it will be difficult to perform the necessary upkeep at residential areas.

In his native Australia, management typically repairs nicks and scratches within 24 hours, he says.

“The general philosophy here is that it sits there from month to month to month, until somebody says, ‘Oh, we’re going to repaint the building in another year, so let’s just wait and do it then’. And slowly the building degrades because they don’t have the budget to keep it looking new.”

Not until residents can form homeowners’ associations and vote on maintenance budgets and the awarding of maintenance contracts will the necessary incentives for proper property upkeep take hold, Mr Quinn says. Formal associations would grant them the authority to hire property management companies and collectively pool money to pay for expensive paint jobs and general property care. This would help relieve individuals of financial burdens, especially when home warranties expire.

“At the end of the day, for property, you must put money away for future maintenance,” he says, “because the owner will get hit with the cost of major capital works of repainting the building, caulking, waterproofing, etc.”


“It is a disgrace that these developers use the excuse of the weather, to cover their inadequacies . We all know what the weather is like here, they knew before they built the properties, therefore they should build to a standard that can withstand the heat that the UAE gets.
this is the norm all around the world, property is built to suit local weather conditions.

also the excuse of “hundreds of subcontractors were involved” is just not a real excuse they were the master developer, they are responsible for who they use as subcontractors therefore the master developers should stand up and accept their responsibilities instead of blaming others.

as for Mrs Hiraki, to move from a Crumbling Villa to a Crumbling Tower will not solve anything for you. JBR is another example of poor design/construction and greed..”

“Can’t have said it better myself. After having lived in this country for over 15 years, I’ve absolutely no desire to buy property knowing what the substandard quality (or complete absence thereof) of preventative maintenance is like.”

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Dubai – Nakheel merges with DMCC property arm

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 1, 2009

Nakheel the state-owned developer of Dubai’s palm-tree shaped man-made islands, has been merged with the property wing of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), a newspaper said on Monday.

source ArabianBusiness

“DMCC’s property-related operations have been integrated with Nakheel to better accomodate current market conditions and optimise resources and expertise,” a DMCC spokesman told The National.

Both companies are owned by Dubai World, which is in turn controlled by the Dubai government.
Nakheel said last month it received funds from Dubai’s government, some of which will be used to pay contractors as it looks to complete projects.

Dubai sold $10bn of bonds to the UAE Central Bank earlier this year to raise funds to support state-linked companies suffering from the financial crisis, and plans to issue another $10bn in bonds later this year.

The emirate’s once-booming real estate sector is suffering a sharp slowdown as prices have collapsed, developers slow or cancel projects and jobs are slashed.

HSBC said in a report on Sunday prices were stabilising but values could fall further.

Slumping demand would drag residential real estate prices in Dubai down between 50 and 60 percent this year from their 2008 peaks, EFG-Hermes said last month. (Reuters)

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