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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 […]
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      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 […]
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      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 […]
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      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 August, 2009

Nakheel Dubai – Discovery Garden residents take their row to Dubai Rulers Court

Posted by 7starsdubai on August 26, 2009

source Arabian Business

Angry residents of Dubai’s Discovery Gardens are set to take their row to the Ruler’s Court this week in a bid to force developer Nakheel into slashing “exorbitant” service charge fees.

More than 90 tenants and homeowners have signed a petition, set to be presented to the Ruler’s Court and Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) later this week, which asks the government to force Nakheel back to the negotiating table to review the charges, which cover building maintenance, community and cooling fees.

Residents are due to pay the first installment of next year’s fees on October 1.

“We want the government to freeze our payments to Nakheel and to force Nakheel to justify its charges in light of the substantial drop in costs we’ve seen since last year,” said Michael Aldendorff, the head of an unofficial resident’s association. Read the rest of this entry »

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10 BillionDollar Fraud – Saudi Firm Sues Maan Al-Sanea

Posted by 7starsdubai on August 25, 2009

source Zawya Dow Jones

LONDON (Zawya Dow Jones)–Ahmed Hamad Al Gosaibi & Brothers Co, a powerful Saudi conglomerate, has filed a case in New York alleging that Saudi billionaire Maan Al Sanea
fraudulently “misappropriated approximately $10 billion”.

A copy of the suit filed on July 15 at New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan alleges “Al Sanea obtained loans frequently using forged or falsified documents and then diverted the funds received to his own use.”

A spokesman for Al Sanea’s Saad Group, which is estimated to hold assets worth $30 billion, said Friday that the Saudi billionaire is unaware of the lawsuit.

“If we are served with such a claim, we will respond to it vigorously,” said the spokesman for Saad Group, the conglomerate controlled by Al-Sanea, in an emailed statement to Zawya Dow Jones.

The case will add to concern about Saad Groupand Ahmed Hamad Al Gosaibi & Brothers Co, or AHAB,as they struggle to restructure their debts after details of financial difficulties at both companies emerged in May.

The Gosaibi family, which controls stakes in Saudi American Bankas well as other interests in shipping and industry in the kingdom, has confessed to possible losses at their Bahraini banking unit. Al Sanea, who owns a stake in HSBC HoldingsPLC, faces cash flow problems.

AHAB filed the suit against Al-SaneaAlin response to a case filed in May by United Arab Emirates Dubai-based lender Mashreqbank(MASQ.DFM) over $150 million that the bank alleges it’s owed by the conglomerate.
Both families are linked by marriage and have close links with Saudi Arabia’s ruling establishment, making the case a highly sensitive issue in the conservative kingdom.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Nakheel Dubai Government controlled developer presses buyers for cash

Posted by 7starsdubai on August 21, 2009

source The National    20. August 2009

Nakheel is asking investors using credit transfers for property purchases to top up their payments with cash, as it seeks to raise funds ahead of a mid-December due date for a Dh3.5 billion (US$953 million) bond.

According to brokers, the Dubai Government-controlled developer allows investors in delayed projects to sell their downpayments to other investors who have already invested in other Nakheel developments.

But now the company is no longer allowing customers to use credit transfers alone to fund instalments, and is demanding that part of the payments are made in cash, brokers say.

“For example, when a buyer has Dh1m to pay, Nakheel would say you need to pay 30 per cent in cash, which makes Dh300,000,” said one broker, Farid Ahmad Hussein.

“They will accept a credit transfer of Dh700,000 from somebody else. The investor can get this Dh700,000 maybe at 40 per cent discount now in the market from another investor. In total he has saved Dh280,000.”

Nakheel needs to pay back a Dh3.5bn bond on December 14, in what is being seen by international lenders and rating agencies as a litmus test of the Dubai Government’s willingness to support its affiliated companies facing financial difficulties.

So called “credit consolidations” were triggered by the collapse in property prices last autumn, which saw scores of developments either cancelled or delayed and effectively ended the “off-plan” property market.

Investors in stalled projects have been able to sell their downpayments, usually at a loss, to other customers of the same developer, and then those downpayments can be used on continuing projects. These credits can only be transferred between buyers that have already made downpayments and are not available on the secondary market.

Developers facilitate the transfer of credit between investors in different projects to generate funds needed to complete some developments, while also making it easier for them to abandon others. External brokers help to match buyers.

Unlike other developers, Nakheel requires the transfer of ownership between investors to be completed before credit is moved between properties.

“Investors in projects that have been deferred have the option of consolidation if they own other properties within the Nakheel portfolio. The advantage to the investor is that Nakheel is able to hand over property to the owner sooner than it might on a deferred project and help investors reduce their financial exposure,” Nakheel said in a statement. The developer declined to comment on whether cash payments were also required to complete property consolidations.

Nakheel has shortened the time it takes to complete such transactions to about a month, from three or four months previously, according to brokers.

Nakheel, the developer of The Palm Dubai, has spent billions of dirhams on projects that are still under construction, while adding further offshore island developments including The World and The Universe.

But development on such a massive scale has come at a high price for the company, which is now struggling to repay debts accumulated during the six-year building boom.

The trade in credit notes on stalled projects is helping revive activity in the property sector, according to Rajesh Sony, a director of Bluechip Real Estate. The firm, he said, generates 90 per cent of its turnover from matching buyers and sellers of credits.

“This is a win-win situation between the developer and investors. If all the investors of one project transfer the money elsewhere, the developer may call off the project without having to refund the money to investors. At the same time, investors can get out of the market without losing all the money, and other investors in ongoing projects can pay their instalments at a cheaper rate,” he said.

The exchange of Nakheel credit, or consolidations, began in February on projects that include the Dh4.4bn Dubai Promenade, and the Dh2.9bn Trump Tower, the centrepiece of Dubai’s original Palm Island development, according to Mohammad Mujtaba Vakil, a broker from Linkage Real Estate.

He said that while cash components were not requested on earlier transfers, Nakheel now “would not accept anything less than 30 per cent”.

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Escape from Dubai – Washington Post – Herve Jaubert fled last Summer

Posted by 7starsdubai on August 20, 2009

Escape from Dubai , Hervet Jaubert

Escape from Dubai , Hervet Jaubert

source Washington Post

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Herve Jaubert, a French spy who left espionage to make leisure submarines for the wealthy, was riding high.

Bankrolled by Dubai World, a government-owned conglomerate, he built a submarine workshop on the Persian Gulf, lived rent-free in a villa with a pool and tooled around town in a red Lamborghini. He had two Hummers. He vacationed with local plutocrats.

Jaubert said he heard whispers about Dubai’s darker side — the abuse of desperate laborers from impoverished Asian lands, the jailing of the occasional Westerner who crossed a sheik — but “I brushed it all off. I saw glamour. I saw marble columns, mirrors and money.”

Today, the former intelligence operative, who fled Dubai last summer in a rubber dinghy, is a wanted man. In June, a Dubai court convicted him in absentia on charges of embezzling $3.8 million and handed down a five-year sentence, plus a big fine. Jaubert, speaking recently at his new home near West Palm Beach, Fla., said he stole nothing and vowed never to set foot in Dubai again. He said he fled because of gruesome threats by interrogators to stick needles up his nose and what he described as constantly shifting, and all bogus, accusations relating to bullets, murder and the finances of Dubai World’s now-defunct luxury submarine subsidiary.

“If I hadn’t escaped, I’d be in the same hell as everyone else,” said Jaubert, one of scores of expatriate business people in this gleaming city-state who have been accused of crimes — and, in some cases, jailed for long periods without being charged.

Jaubert’s troubles began two years ago when Dubai’s then-booming economy was showing the first faint signs of strain. Local stock and property prices have since swooned, and the tempo of arrests for alleged business misdeeds ranging from a dud check — a criminal offense here — to serious fraud has picked up sharply.

Dubai’s government declined to comment on Jaubert’s allegations of mistreatment. But it has targeted what it sees as dodgy dealmakers and deadbeat debtors, and has declared “no tolerance” of “anybody who makes illegal profits.” For many expatriates, however, the crackdown smacks of a hunt for foreign culprits to blame for the sheikdom’s sliding economic fortunes.

‘It’s All a Bit Scary’

A haven of stability in a region of tumult, Dubai is usually a place people flee to, not from. Foreigners, lured by what President Obama in a June speech in Cairo hailed as the “astonishing progress” of this autocratic but vibrant Persian Gulf metropolis, account for more than 90 percent of the population, and 99 percent of private-sector workers.

But a severe economic slump has reversed the flow. Those who came to Dubai seeking fortunes in property, banking and luxury goodies for the rich now face a less alluring prospect — a prison cell or furtive flight. Only a tiny minority has been picked up by police but, says a longtime foreign resident who runs a company here, “It’s all a bit scary. They are looking for people to carry the can.” The foreign resident, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely, said a British neighbor was picked up last year.

The turbulence is a blow to a place that promoted itself as the Middle East’s answer to Hong Kong or Singapore. It is also a setback for Washington, which has for years touted Dubai as a model of a modern, prosperous Muslim land that, though far from democratic, seemed anchored in the rule of law and committed to basic rights.

Among those who have been locked up are a JPMorgan investment banker; American, British and other foreign property developers; a German yachtmaker; and two Australians who worked as senior executives of what was to be the world’s largest waterfront development. The gigantic project had been launched by Nakheel, the crisis-battered property arm of Dubai World and builder of Dubai’s signature palm-tree-shaped resort islands.

A few have been convicted, mostly for bouncing checks. Those still awaiting trial often waited many months in jail before being charged: The two Australians, for instance, were arrested in January, held in solitary confinement for seven weeks and then finally charged, with fraud-related offences, last month, said their Melbourne lawyer, Martin Amad.

A banker who headed JPMorgan’s Dubai office and its Islamic banking business was first jailed in June last year but was charged, also in connection with fraud, only this spring. JPMorgan said the alleged crimes do not relate to his work at the bank, which he joined in 2007 and quit in April this year while in detention.

Some have complained through lawyers of being deprived of sleep, denied food for days and routinely menaced. “We will insert needles into your nose again and again,” a security officer can be heard telling Jaubert, the spy turned submarine-maker, on an audio recording, which the Frenchman said was made on his cellphone during an interrogation before he fled. “Do you know how painful it is to have needles put inside your nose repeatedly and then twisted around? Do you think you can resist this kind of pain?”

Jaubert said the interrogation was conducted by two men in long white robes in a bare, windowless room on April 22, 2007, at Dubai’s Al Muraggabat Police Station. On the recording, the interrogators described themselves as state security officers, with one warning Jaubert that “we are above the police, we are above the judges. We can keep here you forever.”

Dubai’s Media Affairs Office said the emirate “prides itself on a well-established system of law and order and judicial fairness.” It did not respond to repeated and detailed questions, and said that officials who could “are physically not here.”

A Developing Chill

Released unharmed but without his passport, Jaubert, who is married to an American, began to plot his escape. Last summer, four years after he arrived Dubai on a business-class ticket, he slipped away by sea. “They picked the wrong guy,” said Jaubert, 53, a former naval officer who, according to a confidential French report, left France’s DGSE intelligence service in March 1993. “With my background, I don’t need a passport to travel.”

The French Consulate in Dubai, which is the business, business and tourism hub of the United Arab Emirates, said it could not comment. France in May opened a naval facility in Dubai’s sister sheikhdom, Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital. Western diplomatic missions have mostly avoided public criticism of the legal system.

Dubai is still far more free and more predictable than most of its neighbors, but a chill has taken hold as property values tumble, jobs vanish and businessmen are detained. Tensions long masked by prosperity have burst into full view — tensions between a foreign majority and locals, known as Emirati; between a city studded with shiny modern skyscrapers, including the world’s tallest now in the final stages of construction; and Dubai’s antiquated political and legal foundations.

Washington counts the UAE as one of its best friends in the region. U.S. warships dock at Jebel Ali, a huge Dubai port area where Jaubert had his luxury submarine venture, Exomos, which promised rich clients “the ultimate underwater experience.” Big U.S. companies, including General Electric, Boeing and Microsoft, have their regional headquarters in Dubai, which has around 20,000 American residents.

These intimate relations include a deal that will allow the UAE to develop a nuclear-power program with U.S. know-how. The relationship came under scrutiny in Washington this year after the release of videos that showed a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family torturing an Afghan grain dealer he accused of cheating him. Abu Dhabi authorities are investigating.

The number of expatriates jailed in Dubai for alleged economic crimes is not known. The government issues no figures. “All I can say is that it is definitely on the rise,” said Samer Muscati, a lawyer with New York-based Human Rights Watch. The main concern, Muscati said, is not that all those arrested are necessarily innocent but that Dubai’s legal system is so opaque, fickle and often heedless of due process.

A vivid example of this is the plight of Zack Shahin, an American businessman of Lebanese origin. A former Pepsi-Cola executive who headed a Dubai property company called Deyaar Development, he was arrested in March last year in connection with a corruption probe involving the Dubai Islamic Bank. Shahin was held incommunicado for 16 days and was not charged for over a year. A Web site set up by his family in the United States alleged that Shahin had been tortured, and it pleaded for his release. The UAE blocked the Web site. U.S. diplomats asked that the case be handled in “an expeditious and transparent manner,” and complained that a delay in granting access to Shahin violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Early this summer, it looked as if Shahin might finally get his day in court and be allowed to go home to await trial. His family took out an ad praising Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler, took down the Web site, and scratched together $1.1 million to meet bail. Just as Shahin was about to be released, state security officers arrived and hauled him away for questioning on new charges. He is still in detention. The bail money has not been returned, his lawyers said. Dubai officials said no one was available to comment on the case.

Locals have been picked up, too, and some complain of being unjustly detained. But well-connected Emirati rarely spend long in jail for economic crimes. Wary of debtors’ prison, a growing number of foreigners simply run away.

Simon Ford, a British entrepreneur, skipped town this summer after his company, a specialty gift service, was hit by the crisis and couldn’t pay its bills. He wrote an emotional “letter to the Dubai public” to apologize for bailing out. He acknowledged that he owed money, and said he had fled because Dubai “drives people to make horrible decisions.” He promised to pay back creditors.

Jaubert, the ex-French spy, said he fled because he feared getting stuck in Dubai’s penal twilight zone. A keen amateur marksman, he was first called in for questioning in 2007 after bullets were found at his submarine company offices. Interrogators told him that someone had been shot in the head and that he might be involved. Jaubert replied that he didn’t have a gun: his rifle, which he had declared at Customs, was still stuck at the Dubai airport. His bullets got through.

Security officers accused him of lying. Warning him that Dubai “is not France; there is no democracy here,” an interrogator heard on Jaubert’s tape threatened to put him “in a cave 300 meters underground, away from the world and your family, and I will keep you there until you tell the truth.” Jaubert said authorities later accused him of fraud because “they were just looking for something to nail me with.”

Jaubert blamed his woes on pressure on Dubai World to rein in some of the wilder investment projects launched by Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the company’s chairman, who had first invited Jaubert to Dubai. “It was a palace struggle over money,” Jaubert said.

The Escape

Reached on his cellphone, Sulayem declined to comment. Dubai World’s internal audit chief, Abdul Qadar Obaid Ali, said Jaubert and his submarine venture ran into trouble for other reasons: His submarines didn’t work, and auditors uncovered evidence of fraud involving overbilling for equipment purchases. Jaubert denied this, saying all the transactions were approved and paid for by Dubai World managers.

Fired from Exomos, the submarine company, and unable to get his passport back, Jaubert hatched an elaborate escape plan. He sent his wife and their two boys to Florida. He had diving equipment shipped out from France — broken down into small bits to avoid arousing suspicion. Then, using a phony name, he bought a Zodiac dinghy and sailboat. Using Google Earth, he surveyed the UAE coastline for an escape route. He found an isolated beach and arranged for a friend to take the sailboat out into international waters.

On the eve of his escape, the former spy checked into a hotel near the beach, put on his diving equipment and donned a long abaya, the body-covering cloak worn by strictly observant Muslim women. He said he then went down the beach and swam underwater to a nearby harbor, where the only patrol boat in the vicinity was moored. He clambered aboard and sabotaged the fuel line to make sure the craft could not give chase, he said.

Jaubert then set out to sea in the dinghy to the boat his friend had positioned just outside the UAE’s territorial waters, and they sailed toward India. After eight days at sea, the pair arrived in Mumbai — an account corroborated by his traveling companion. With a new passport issued by the French consulate, Jaubert flew to join his wife in Florida, where he is writing a book he has titled “Escape From Dubai.”

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Herve Jaubert fled Dubai dressed as a woman

Posted by 7starsdubai on August 18, 2009

source Arabian Business

A former French special agent who worked for Dubai World has spoken of his anger at being convicted in absence of defrauding the company out of millions of dirhams – a charge he strongly denies.

Herve Jaubert told Arabian Business of a carefully planned escape from Dubai aboard a rubber dingy and dressed in a burqa to evade police using skills he developed as a spy.

The former French naval officer, who is now living in the United States, said he is not worried about being tracked down to face his five-year prison sentence because he can prove his innocence.

“I deny everything,” he told Arabian Business during a telephone interview. “When I saw that I was convicted in absentia I was totally outraged.  But no matter what the truth is going to come out eventually.”

One way he hopes to be able to do this is through his book outlining the story of his escape, which is due to be published in October.

Jaubert told Arabian Business he decided to flee the country last year after his passport was confiscated by police and he was fired by Dubai World.

“In Dubai, if you don’t have a passport and you don’t have a job you cannot survive,” he said. “I found myself in this situation. So instead of fighting it, I told the auditors I would pay them back. I did not sign anything, but I played the game.”

Meanwhile he was planning his escape. Jaubert sent his wife and children back to Florida where they had all been living before moving to Dubai in 2004, and once they were gone he went into hiding.

“Once I was alone in Dubai then I turned to what I used to do before as an intelligence officer.

“A friend would rent a room for me in a hotel with his passport so my details would never show up. I would stay in the hotel for three days and then change.

“I bought a sail boat, and then I bought a rubber dingy and I escaped on the dingy. When I was a secret agent for my country I used to do that – go in and out of countries on a rubber dingy – because no one pays attention to a rubber dingy.”

Jaubert left from a beach in Fujairah early one morning after sabotaging the only coast guard boat in the area to make sure no one could follow him.

He spent six hours aboard the rubber dingy before meeting his friend, who had sailed his boat into international waters, and the pair headed to India on a journey that took eight days.

“I’m a naval officer, so at that point I knew what I was doing,” he said.

“When I was a secret agent I was a ghost, but here it was different, I was not a ghost anymore. I decided to disguise myself as a woman and then I became a ghost.

“When you are covered from head-to-toe in an abaya and veil nobody talks to you, nobody looks at you. Wearing the abaya nobody bothered me, it’s like I never existed.

“That’s the best disguise you can find because even a police officer can not talk to you.”

Jaubert was sentenced to five years in jail and fined AED14m by Dubai Criminal Court at a hearing in June at which he was not present.

The court was told that Jaubert’s company, Seahorse Submarines, had bought equipment worth AED11.8m for Exomos, the submarine division of Dubai World, but that it did not all arrive.

Jaubert had a contract with Dubai World to build two submarines, but prosecutors told the court that when the vessels were delivered they were incomplete and faulty. He wrote to Dubai World and agreed to settle the matter by paying an initial AED3m, but he fled the country before handing over any money.

My book is going to come out and people are going to know the true story and then I will put it behind me,” Jaubert said.

He is even confident that readers in Dubai will be able to get a copy.

“There’s no way this book is going to be available in Dubai in the open, but I’ve found a way. There will be some tricks, if you want. The book will be disguised. If you order the book you might receive a book on flowers or furniture, but it’s just a cover,” he said.

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Damac breaking Dreams

Posted by 7starsdubai on August 17, 2009

The comments shown below are in response to an article published in Construction Week online and show an extrac of what Dubai Real Esate investors think of Damac and the CEO Peter Riddoch:

comment: straks  (Jul 8, 2009)  United Kingdom

no longer to be trusted
Damac have not paid out the correct compensation, FAR FROM IT and regardless of what Damac ‘claim the contract says. Also building still not fully complete and verging on dangerous with lifts not working and fire escapes not safe. Incidently another thing you might want to ask Mr Riddoch – it turns out that the apartments were NEVER OVERSIZED IN THE FIRST PLACE so where did the excess area charges come from – TOTAL FRAUD and a diversion so owners were to o busy fighting that cause and not noticing the compensation issue and also too tired to fight that as well. I hope, for Dubai’s sake Damac are told to get their ‘house in order’ by the ruler and we can get the quality of apartment we were promised and expected in Dubai

comment: an annoyed investor (Jul 7, 2009)Dubai United Arab Emirates

Peter riddock damac
Damac are technically insolvent, if they operated in Europe thye would have filed for bankruptcy prior to economic crash

Comment: SANDRAJJACOBS (Jul 2, 2009)STAFFORD UK United Kingdom

Whilst having being notified by Damac of a refund for the above, can anyone please advise why they are not paying it 4 months on, and still no sign of the refund

Comment: navas (May 23, 2009)uk United Kingdom

Fair coverage?
The reporter should do a follow-up interview with a representative of the disgruntled investors to get fair coverage on both sides. Site photos should also show proof of who is really telling the truth. How about it, Mr. Conrad Egbert???

Comment: Neil Roberts (May 22, 2009)Abu Dhbai United Arab Emirates

DAMAC management and interpol
I have heard that interpol have been contacted about alleged fraudulant sales of DAMAC properties does anyone know if this is true?

Comment: Stay Away from Damac (May 21, 2009) Dubai United Arab Emirates

Stay Away from Damac
Peter Riddoch needs to open his dictionary again and read the definition of ‘ETHICS’. This company is totally unethical and I am an unfortunate owner of one of the units in the Lake View tower. My advice to investors: Stay away from Damac.

Comment: Nas001 (May 20, 2009) United Kingdom

Lake View Lies!
I have read all the comments by Peter Riddoch who is very economical with the truth. The reality is that DAMAC bullied me into signing my legal rights away by refusing to hand my keys even when I called the police, they have refused to pay me adequate compensation as per my contract, their building is far from complete despite their blatant lies that Lake View was handed over at end of 2008. Perhaps Mr Riddoch can explain why his company sent letters to ALL investors in MARCH 2009 inviting us to take possession then if he claims Lake View was ready in 2008??? The staff have zero customer service skills and are an extention of theie CEO. What a pathetic disgraceful company. I will never do business with this company.

Comment: Joe (May 18, 2009)Kildare Ireland

Lake View
I think damac are a joke, they try to extract as much money out of people as possible for a bad customer service, bad work, late projects, bullyboy tactics, projects that dont represent what was sold to people. They really bring Dubai’s reputation. We wouldnt touch damac again and advise everyone else to run a mile from them

Comment: dont invest in damac (May 18, 2009) motherwell, United Kingdom

lake view
Amy1 is right We have a forum on http://www.skyscrapercity.com if anyone wants to see the 400+ happy customers!The full building is a joke it looks like something out of a council development ready for demolition. Damac Breaking Dreams………..maybe an idea for a new slogan……

read more also  Palm Springs Damac Investors Group

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Nakheel Dubai is a public joint stock company – not a private one

Posted by 7starsdubai on August 17, 2009

Dubai, August 17, 2009

 A letter presented to the Dubai Court of Appeal yesterday established that developer Nakheel is a public joint stock company (PJSC), not a private one.

The letter was produced by a lawyer representing Nakheel in the case of two former employees who are appealing against their convictions for bribery.

The defendants’ lawyer, Saeed Al Gelani, had said in an earlier session that a ruling by Court of First Instance that Nakheel was a public shareholding company was not true to facts.

He referred to an article by Nakheel’s legal advisor, David Nicholson, that appeared in Arroaya magazine, which is published by the developer. The article said Nakheel had become a private company and was published before the defendants were sent for trial. As a result, said Al Gelani, the two had been tried wrongly.

The accused are 32-year-old UAE national WA, a former general manager of sales at Nakheel, and Egyptian KN, 28, who was a sales representative at Nakheel. Prosecutors say they allegedly asked for a bribe of Dh5.1 million from a real estate brokerage firm to help it buy a plot owned by Nakheel.

Dubai Criminal Court jailed the defendants for three years and ordered them to pay Dh3m. The court is considering a third appeal by Public Prosecution.

original source Emirates Business 24/7

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Dubai property owners treated like puppets – Loss off confidence swamps Real Estate Market

Posted by 7starsdubai on August 16, 2009

August 15. 2009 11:34AM GMT

DUBAI // Rashmey Seth paid Dh3.2 million for two luxury flats, furnished them and rented them out. That was nearly two years ago – but she is still not sure she actually owns the properties.

Receipts from Nakheel confirm that she paid the state-backed developer in full for a three-bedroom flat on the Palm Jumeirah. Mrs Seth has similar paperwork for a one-bedroom unit in downtown Burj Dubai, purchased last year from Emaar, the Middle East’s largest developer.

What she has not received from either of the property giants are title deeds – the crucial documents that verify ownership.

It is a predicament shared by many, their status as lawful owners in limbo because of the absence of a piece of paper that, after properties are registered with the Dubai Land Department, should be handed to buyers.

The issue, says Mrs Seth, makes her wonder whether she has a legal right to sell her flats.

She is by no means the only property owner in Dubai worried about not having deeds to the flats she has paid for. Without deeds, it is unclear what would happen if the company they bought their property from went bankrupt.

There could also be problems with selling the property on: potential buyers could find it difficult to get a mortgage without formal proof of ownership.

In Mrs Seth’s case, her dilemma has shaken her confidence in Dubai’s freehold property laws, introduced three years ago to give foreigners the right of ownership.
“Why am I not getting the comfort that there’s a legal structure to support me, that makes me feel sure that I really own my property?” said Mrs Seth, 52, an Indian who has lived and worked in Dubai for 28 years.

Her fears are not unfounded. Law Number 7 of 2006 states that until flats are registered with the Land Department, which will then grant title deeds, buyers lack the rights of fully fledged owners.

In an email statement, Emaar did not specify how many of its property holders had not had units registered or lacked deeds.

Nakheel said the “majority of … purchasers who have taken handover have received their title deeds”.

Given the size of Nakheel’s development portfolio, that could still mean thousands have not received them.

There are indications that a substantial number of buyers across Dubai lack deeds. After posting a query on Crest of Dubai, a website used by residents of the Palm Jumeirah, The National received nearly two dozen complaints.

And Michael Aldendorff, a 39-year-old South African who is one of the leaders of an informal homeowners’ group in the Discovery Gardens development, reckoned that most buyers in the 26,000-apartment community lacked deeds.

“I don’t think that many people here have them at all,” he said.

That, however, has not stopped developers from asking purchasers to pay to get their deeds.
Mrs Seth said she was asked to hand over about Dh55,000 for flat-registration fees to Emaar and Nakheel. She said she had little choice but to comply; according to Land Department regulations, a buyer cannot register a property without the developer’s consent.

“They take these undated cheques from you, and they bank it at their will, so what can you do about it?” she said of Emaar and Nakheel.

“If there is a delay or something from the Land Department in getting the registration, or the documentation is not ready from the developer’s side, then why are they taking my money?”

Sabri Pozem, who owns a one-bedroom flat in Discovery Gardens, in which he has a tenant, wonders whether the authorities – or anyone apart from himself – have records of his purchase.

Mr Pozem, a 29-year-old from Turkey, is one of the owners in the development who complain about disorganisation among Tamweel, the mortgage lender, Nakheel, the master developer, and property companies which, after purchasing Discovery Gardens apartment buildings from Nakheel, have sold them as flats to individual buyers.

He said a salesperson with the company he bought his flat from entered the property last month and began showing it off to a prospective buyer. His tenant had just come out the shower and was wearing only a towel when she encountered the surprise visitors.

“The problem is, they are so disorganised they don’t even know who bought which apartment in the building,” said Mr Pozem, who said he had tried many times to obtain his deed and has had no success.

He fears that if he wanted to sell his flat, the records would show it was still owned by the property firm. “If they go bankrupt tomorrow, I’m basically out of luck; all my money’s gone because I don’t have a title deed.”

Mr Pozem is not the only owner worried that without deeds they might not be able to sell their units.

Anne, 37, a British national, bought two one-bedroom flats in the Dubai Marina’s Marina Promenade in August last year and two more in Green Lakes Towers in Jumeirah Lake Towers. Despite investing nearly Dh4m, she does not have a deed for any of them.

Anne, who asked that only her middle name be published, said her main concern was that banks would refuse a mortgage to prospective purchasers without a deed, an increasingly common requirement after the credit crunch.

She also said Emaar, the developer of Marina Promenade, and Asam Investment & Real Estate, the Green Lakes Towers developer, had been little help.

“I’ve been given exactly the same reasoning: ‘there’s a queue at the Land Department; expect to hear from us in September’.”

A senior administrator at Asam Investment & Real Estate, who gave his name only as Abraham, told The National that a backlog at the Land Department was responsible for the delay.

In Green Lakes Towers, he said, about 700 units in the three towers were still waiting to be registered.

“We cannot do them individually; we have to register the whole tower together,” he said. He added that he hoped the process could be completed within a month.
Humaid al Shamsi, the head of the transactions section at the Land Department, acknowledged the issue.

Eighty per cent of the buildings on the Palm Jumeirah have been registered, he said, but he did not have details of how many flats had been registered or title deeds granted.

At Jumeirah Lake Towers, he said, “the process has been started now.” He attributed any delay to “extra measurements” being done to the buildings.

Emaar declined to give reasons for delays in handing over deeds, but said in an email that it “works closely with the Dubai Land Department to assist its customers during the process, including having a representative from the Land Department available for assistance at the Emaar Property Handover office.”

However, Karim Nassif, a property lawyer at Habib al Mulla & Co, said the slowdown in the property market meant a logjam at the Land Department was an unlikely cause for the problem.

In most cases of undelivered title deeds, he said, “the developer should be held liable – 100 per cent – for it. They should be delivering their title deeds”.

And he had a warning for the worried owners: “If they don’t have the title deed, their transaction, according to the law, is voidable.”

original source The National

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Malika Karoum hits back – Karoum accuses ex husband of conspirancy

Posted by 7starsdubai on August 12, 2009

source Emirates Business 24 /2
Malika Karoum, a senior executive of Dubai’s real estate sector yesterday accused her former husband of spreading rumours about her being convicted by an Egyptian court on charges of money laundering and involvement in arms trading.

Malika Karoum told Emirates Business the claims were made in a Dutch tabloid magazine to damage her reputation, career and life.

“This whole story has been created by my ex-husband and his private detective,” she said. “I was shocked to see my picture on the front page of your paper. I am Malika Karoum and I have been living and working in Dubai for the past three years.

“I have no problem with any authorities or police. Call any of my ex-employees and check with them. The only correct thing in this article is that I have worked for Omniyat, Define and ACI.

“My ex-husband started this and there is a long dispute between us over custody rights for our son. He says anything to destroy me and destroy my reputation by saying I am a spy and mafia and a fraud.”

Karoum alleged her ex-husband was a fugitive and accused him of spreading lies about her on the internet. “All these blogs are created by my ex-husband and a private detective. He has been doing this for the past six years through my family and friends. When it didn’t work he started with the media.”

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Malika Karoum finally arrested – 28 month imprisonment

Posted by 7starsdubai on August 10, 2009

malika Karoum dubai crime

While Australians languished in Dubai jails, a much bigger fish made fraudulent millions with impunity. This glamorous but treacherous spy is finally behind bars, writes Rick Feneley.

They call her the modern-day Mata Hari, a spy-turned-criminal who laundered fortunes from drug runners and arms dealers through Dubai’s high-rise wonderland.

Alternatively, they have cast Malika Karoum as an innocent woman, a fugitive not from the law but from an abusive husband who maliciously defamed her – and concocted the whole spy-crime thriller – as part of a bitter custody battle for their young son.

The Netherlands media have been wrestling over the two Karoums for a year. The 33-year-old Dutch-Moroccan’s exotic good looks made great fodder for magazines, newspapers and tabloid television. But on Wednesday this week came the bombshell. The cover story of Revu, a quality weekly magazine, announced: ”Spy Malika in the cell.”

Only now could it reveal that Karoum had been in jail for the past six months in Egypt, where the Ismailiya State Security Court convicted her in April of money laundering and involvement in weapons trading, but acquitted her of espionage.

Karoum, who had also performed intelligence work for Egypt, had been sentenced to 28 months in prison, and the Court of Appeal had upheld the decision last month.

More sensational, though, is the news of how Karoum was caught. In a top-secret operation, her former colleagues from the Dutch secret service arrived at her Dubai apartment at 2am on January 21. They held her there for several weeks under house arrest before taking her to Egypt, an intelligence source has told Revu’s reporter Jan Libbenga. Dubai has no extradition treaty with the Netherlands. The Dutch, in effect, abducted Karoum only after negotiations with her lawyers, to bring her back to Amsterdam, broke down.

Four days after the swoop on Karoum’s home, Dubai police arrested two Australians, Matt Joyce and Marcus Lee, on suspicion of fraud. The pair are former executives of Dubai Waterfront, the world’s grandest waterfront project, a subsidiary of the Emirate’s biggest property developer, the government-owned Nakheel.

The jailed Australians, who are fighting to prove their innocence, are in no way linked to Karoum.

Karoum – using her apparent cover as a real estate executive – did do some work on property developments within Dubai Waterfront, among other sites. She was accused of funnelling drug and arms money – including that of an Egyptian weapons dealer – into Dubai’s property bubble, which burst spectacularly last year. Millions invested through her by criminal networks are said to have vanished.

While Joyce and Lee and other Australians languish in Dubai’s jails, the Karoum story throws light on the way business is done in the Emirate. The sheikhdom is making a big show of cleaning up corruption in its property industry, but it showed no apparent interest in stopping Karoum. Indeed, Libbenga says, she ended up spying for the United Arab Emirates, too, and it offered her protection. She had also spied for Egypt.

Her old Dutch colleagues could well understand the analogy with the original Mata Hari, the Dutch exotic dancer Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, a seductress who became a double agent during World War I, working for both French and German spymasters.

Karoum joined the Dutch secret service in 2004, Revu says. Most of her work had concerned secret investigations of Islamic organisations in the Netherlands suspected of terrorist aid. She was sent to Dubai late in 2006 to investigate terrorist financing and money laundering to and from Dubai. Once there, she soon defected to her own cause: making money.

For her Dutch spymasters, the alarm rang in October 2007, when a Dutch-Turkish money courier was arrested at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, with more than €100,000. He said it was to be collected by Karoum. This man was not known to her spy colleagues.

The secret service contacted police. It transpired that observation teams from the Bureau of National Research had photographs of a woman in the company of Dutch drug dealers. Only then did they realise it was Karoum.

Now authorities suspect Karoum played an important role in drug trafficking, Revu reported.

Karoum had managed to slip back into the Netherlands at the time of the man’s arrest, but she escaped via Madrid and Casablanca to Dubai. She left her hire car behind, with a note to the hire company, in a garage in the town of Breukelen. Diplomatic pressure on Dubai failed to have her returned to the Netherlands.

The Herald began trying to find Karoum in early February this year. As late as April our calls were being transferred to her extension at ACI Real Estate in Dubai, the subsidiary of a German-based company. Like many caught in the Arab Emirate’s collapsing real estate market, ACI is struggling to complete grand visions such as its Sports Trilogy: the Niki Lauda Twin Towers, the Boris Becker Business Tower and Michael Schumacher Business Avenue. ACI’s switch repeatedly told the Herald that Karoum was, indeed, still working there. But messages went unanswered, as did emails to Karoum’s address with the firm, requesting a detailed response to the many allegations against her. Now we know why.

Also in February, Political News of Morocco editorialised that Karoum was giving its emigrants a bad name and asked why Dubai was doing nothing about her. Now we know that the Dutch secret service already had.

In a webcast by Panorama Magazine late last year, Karoum said the whole story against her was a lie, created by her former husband Mohammed Boulnouar. She said she had fled the Netherlands because he had mentally and physically abused her.

Jacques Smits, an Amsterdam private investigator and former policeman, has been on Karoum’s trail since January last year. He was originally employed by Boulnouar to hunt her down in Dubai and retrieve their son, Mohammed jnr, now aged about eight.

In February last year Smits flew to Dubai, hoping to confront Karoum. He had already intervened and warned her then employer, the Dubai property firm Omniyat, about Karoum. The company went on to sack Karoum and her boss for alleged fraud.

Smits only managed to get Karoum by phone. He told the Herald: ”She said, ‘I am going to kill you.’ I had ruined her life in Dubai.”

He believes she is capable of it, and this motivated his campaign to bring her to justice, long after he stopped working for her husband. A Dutch court later ordered Karoum to return her son to the Netherlands, then overturned that ruling last December.

Either way, Smits is no friend of Boulnouar, who had been a travel agent in West Amsterdam. He says Boulnouar paid him only €7000 ($12,000) and still owes him €10,000. Smits says he helped Dutch intelligence to keep pursuing Karoum.

Last November customers accused Boulnouar of stealing the money they had paid him for the haj to Mecca. He had claimed he was the victim of a robbery on October 31 when he tried to deliver about €300,000 in cash and several hundred passports to Royal Jordanian Airways. He claimed the robbers told him they were sent by ”Malika”.

Smits does not buy his story. Nor does he buy Karoum’s. In January last year Smits received a tip that she was returning to the Netherlands for a wedding. He says he went to Schiphol Airport and, armed with photographs, alerted a Dutch military police officer. The officer had called up Karoum’s Interpol file, then left the room briefly to get the print-out of the document. Smits says he was able to read the warrant on the screen. ”There were six or seven felonies.” They included money laundering and drug offences.

Dutch police observation teams had seen a woman in the company of a British man, Simon John ”Slapper” Cowmeadow. Only later did they realise she was Karoum. Cowmeadow was shot dead in an Amsterdam street on November 18, 2007.

Nadim Imac, a suspected heroin importer and the sponsor of a Dutch soccer team, Turkiyemspor, was thrown to his death from a moving bus on February 17 this year. Police found €223,000 in his home.

A player from his soccer team had acted as a money courier to Dubai, where money from a Turk associate of Imac’s was invested in Damac Properties. Karoum had handled that introduction.

Revu has reported on Karoum’s connections with the Dutch company Palm Invest, which has come under the spotlight for alleged fraud. Karoum’s old boss at Omniyat took her with him in June last year when he launched Define Properties in Dubai. Define had 12 lots on Nakheel’s Waterfront site, and relied heavily for funds on a key Karoum contact, an Egyptian arms dealer. But when stories began circulating about Karoum, the boss sacked her.

Later, Define could not raise enough capital and ACI Real Estate took over some of its properties. It first employed the Define boss, but dumped him after recruiting Karoum. ACI has not responded to the Herald’s questions.

From last December Karoum’s lawyers advised her to co-operate with Dutch authorities. Revu reported she was offered an ”ample golden handshake” from the secret service and an opportunity to start a new life in a third country. Los Angeles, Singapore, Luxembourg, Malta, Egypt and the Dutch Antilles were destinations recommended.

The Dutch, more than anything, wanted to stop her giving intelligence to other countries, and to stop her criminal pursuits.

Karoum had seemed agreeable but withdrew at the last moment. She reportedly believed she would be afforded the protection of sheikhs in Dubai. That came to nothing at 2am on January 21.

In most countries the snatching of Karoum – a breach of sovereignty – would have caused a diplomatic crisis. But there has not been a peep out of Dubai, which does not care about bad publicity.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it could not answer any of the Herald’s questions, on privacy grounds. The names of even convicted criminals are protected in the Netherlands.

Jan Libbenga will publish a book, The Hunt for Malika, Modern Mata Hari, in October.

Jacques Smits says an estimated €19 million is still missing from Karoum’s crimes and the Dutch secret service may recruit him to help retrieve it.

”If the price is right, I’m your guy,” he told the Herald. Smits says he feels safe until Karoum’s release from jail – but only until then

source  artivle original

also source Revu

read more about Malika Karoum

interview Video Malika Karoum in Dubai

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Dubai ist dringend auf neue Finanz-Injektionen angewiesen – 80 Millliaren Verbindlichkeiten

Posted by 7starsdubai on August 1, 2009

original Handelsblatt Germany

Dubai unternimmt einen neuen Anlauf, um seinen gigantischen Schuldenberg abzubauen. Die Regierung rief eine Finanzagentur ins Leben, die strategisch wichtigen Firmen des Emirats mit Krediten unter die Arme greifen soll. Das Geld stammt aus dem Verkauf von Bonds über 20 Mrd. Dollar und soll in einen Unterstützungsfonds fließen.

DUBAI. Die erste Tranche über zehn Mrd. Dollar wurde im Februar von der Zentralbank in Abu Dhabi gekauft. Die Märkte feierten den Schritt damals als Zeichen, dass die Regierung der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate dem hochverschuldeten Dubai im Zweifelsfall aus der Patsche helfen wird. Nun sucht das Emirat nach nationalen und internationalen Investoren, die das Kapital für die zweite Tranche über zehn Mrd. Dollar lockermachen sollen.

Dubai ist dringend auf neue Finanz-Injektionen angewiesen, um seine Verbindlichkeiten von insgesamt 80 Mrd. Dollar zu schultern. Das Emirat wurde durch die Immobilienkrise und den Rückgang der Touristenzahlen besonders hart getroffen. Seit Herbst 2008 brachen die Häuser- und Wohnungspreise zum Teil um 50 Prozent ein. Spekulanten konnten auf einmal ihre Bankkredite nicht mehr bedienen, Entwicklungsgesellschaften reichten den Zahlungsengpass an Subunternehmer weiter. Die Baubranche erwirtschaftet fast die Hälfte des Bruttoinlandsprodukts (BIP) in Dubai.

Experten begrüßten die Einrichtung der neuen Finanzagentur als positives Signal, kritisierten jedoch den Mangel an Transparenz: “Es ist völlig unklar, welche Betriebe in den Genuss der Staatsgelder kommen und zu welchen Bedingungen”, sagte Simon Williams, Chefökonom bei HSBC in Dubai. Finanzminister Abdulrahman Al Saleh hatte lediglich angekündigt, dass öffentliche oder regierungsnahe Gesellschaften von “strategischer Bedeutung” Zugang zu den Darlehen hätten. “Investoren würden auch gerne wissen, ob die Mittel für die Rückzahlung der Schulden oder für die Finanzierung neuer Projekte eingesetzt werden”, betonte deshalb Farouk Soussa von der Ratingagentur Standard & Poor?s.

Aus der ersten Bond-Tranche über zehn Mrd. Dollar wurde bereits mehr als die Hälfte verbraucht, teilte die Regierung in Dubai mit. Vor allem Immobilienfirmen mit staatlicher Beteiligung hätten profitiert, heißt es. Die Konditionen sind äußerst günstig: Die Unternehmen bekommen für ihre Kredite einen Zinssatz von etwas mehr als vier Prozent. Dubai seinerseits zahlt an die Zentralbank einen Zinssatz von vier Prozent über eine Laufzeit von fünf Jahren.

Die Frage ist nun, wer bei der zweiten Bond-Tranche über ebenfalls zehn Mrd. Dollar einsteigt. Nach Angaben von Omar bin Sulaiman, Vorsitzender des Dubai International Financial Centre, haben private Investoren und Staatsfonds Interesse gezeigt. Anleger von außen wären nach Ansicht von Fachleuten auch bitter nötig, um die Kreditwürdigkeit des Emirats zu heben. “Wenn Dubai die zweite Tranche komplett selbst stemmen könnte, wären das gute Nachrichten über eine frische Finanzquelle”, meint Philippe Dauba-Pantanacce von Standard Chartered.

Davon ist bislang allerdings nichts zu sehen. Falls alle Stricke reißen, steht jedoch die Zentralbank Gewehr bei Fuß: “Wir sind bereit, Teile des Bonds zu kaufen”, erklärte Notenbankchef Sultan Al Suwaidi. Marktbeobachter sehen darin eine wichtige Rückversicherung, dass die Zentralregierung der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate Dubai aus politischen Gründen nicht fallen lassen wird.

Dennoch kann das Emirat nicht bei allen Engpässen nach Abu Dhabi schielen. Mitte Dezember muss die Bau-Entwicklungsgesellschaft Nakheel einen Kredit in Höhe von 3,5 Mrd. Dollar refinanzieren. Die Firma, die so spektakuläre Immobilienprojekte wie die künstliche Insel Palm Jumeirah angestoßen hat, drücken massive Zahlungsprobleme. Nach unbestätigten Berichten aus der Finanzszene hat das Unternehmen seine Gläubiger aufgefordert, auf 30 Prozent ihrer Außenstände zu verzichten. “Die Refinanzierung von Nakheel ist ein wichtiger Lackmustest für die Entschuldungskapazität Dubais”, sagt Philipp Lotter von der Ratingagentur Moody?s.

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