Iranian’s lawsuit reveals royal power in Dubai
Posted by 7starsdubai on July 22, 2009
source World Tribune 09 June 2009
A member of the royal family (Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum) in the United Arab Emirates has for the first time been sued by an Iranian executive on charges of fraud.
Shahram Abdullah Zadeh has sued the brother-in-law ( Sheikh Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum) of the emir of Dubai ( Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum) in an unprecedented civil action in the UAE. The 37-year-old Iranian national has accused the brother-in-law, Hasher Maktoum Bin Juma’a Al Maktoum, of trying to take over Zadeh’s real estate firm.
“He thought he could do it all because he’s a sheik,” Zadeh said
The suit has challenged the transparency of the justice system of Dubai, which requires foreign investors to take on a UAE partner. Zadeh said he reverted to a civil action when prosecutors refused to file criminal charges against Hasher.
Zadeh, a life-long resident of Dubai, said he selected Hasher as the required UAE partner in Al Fajer Properties, established in 2004 and now worth $2 billion. Zadeh said he and Hasher fell into a dispute amid delays in building a billion-dollar office tower.
The economic downturn in the UAE has harmed a range of partnerships with foreign investors. In Dubai, the commercial capital, police have detained nearly 20 executives on suspicion of fraud. None of the detainees was connected to the ruling Al Maktoum family.
“There is no room for corruption and the corrupt,” Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said. “In all corruption cases, people are not only prosecuted and punished, administrative and legal holes that they exploited to commit their crimes are plugged.No one in the emirates is above the law and accountability.”
Zadeh said Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, who ignored two summonses, exploited his connections to the ruling family to have the Iranian arrested. In February 2008, Zadeh was imprisoned for 60 days and pressed to renounce links to Al Fajer.
As Zadeh languished in prison, Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum was said to have taken over Al Fajer and appointed his son chief executive officer. By the time, he was released, Zadeh found that his office safe was ransacked and cleansed of any documents that linked him to the company.
At one point, Zadeh appealed to Dubai’s emir. He said the emir did not respond to the complaint against his brother-in-law.
“We understand that Al Fajer Properties is controlled by a powerful member of Dubai’s ruling family,” Moses Oye, who represents investors in another Al Fajer project, said.
Still, Al Fajer continues to operate. On April 15, Al Fajer and the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency, RERA Dubai, announced the first transfer of property using a new official online system.
Hasher’s son, Maktoum, was identified as president of Al Fajer. Zadeh was not mentioned.
Foreign investors have demanded an investigation of another Al Fajer project, Ebony Ivory.
The investors, alleging fraud, have called on the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency to force Al Fajer to issue a refund.
“We have paid approximately $140 million and have a signed contract from Sheikk Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum,” Oye, who represents investors from Britain, Canada, India, Iran, Pakistan and the United States, said. “Now, we want our money back.”
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