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

Debt Crisis Dubai World – Why is Dubai still causing concern ?

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 30, 2009


original source Guardian UK

Why is Dubai still causing concern?

Yesterday was the first day investors were able to trade in many Middle East markets since news broke on Wednesday that Dubai World, one of the region’s largest property companies, was unable to pay its debts. Many suspect the news was released before the holiday, Eid, to limit the global reaction; instead investors panicked even more due to a lack of information. Their worst fears were confirmed yesterday when the Dubai government finally issued a statement but refused to stand behind the company.

What about western markets?

European and US stockmarkets have calmed down since last week, but the episode has reignited fears that our financial system is not through the worst. British banks such as HSBC, Standard Chartered, RBS and Lloyds are most exposed, although they have told City regulators that their losses are manageable. Other countries with large international debts such as Greece, Ukraine and the UK have seen investors take fright, sparking fresh fears that the next phase of the crisis will move from companies to countries.

Has Dubai gone bust?

Technically, the crisis at Dubai World is a purely commercial matter, and should not count as a national or sovereign debt default. But the company is so intimately tied to the emirate and its ruling family that the government would have tried everything possible to protect it before resorting to this.

What help is Dubai getting from other Arab states?

Abu Dhabi, Dubai’s larger neighbour, yesterday offered to provide emergency funding for local and foreign banks, but pointedly declined to provide specific guarantees to Dubai World. What support is offered is likely to come with strings attached.

Will the IMF need to get involved?

Rumours swirled over the weekend that the International Monetary Fund was preparing an emergency bailout. This was downplayed in Washington, but officials called on local central banks to intervene and said they were monitoring the situation carefully.

Has the crisis been overblown?

The recovery in international markets has led some market commentators to argue that the Dubai World default was an isolated incident. However, both western banks and local politicians have a strong incentive to underestimate the losses. Independent analysts who have studied Dubai’s debt problem such as UBS and EFG-Hermes, a local investment bank, estimate it is much larger than the official $80bn – possibly rising to $120bn-$150bn.

Will it come closer to home?

Jitters over the creditworthiness of countries such as Greece could become self-fulfilling if they are unable to finance their debts using international investors. This would put enormous pressure on the eurozone, which may be forced to bail out weaker members or see the future of the single currency put in jeopardy. Countries outside the euro, such as the UK, may also see the cost of borrowing increase if the cost of insuring their debt continues to rise. But the more immediate worry is the exposure of British banks, which make up four of the six banks most heavily involved in Dubai World.

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Dubai Stock Market Slumps – Black Monday 30 November 2009

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 30, 2009


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Gambles Dubai with its financial reputation ?

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 30, 2009


original source Zawya

When you start building a third island shaped like a palm tree, intending it to be as big and crowded as Manhattan, you are crying out for a sober voice to bark: “Stop!”

But when that island is just one atoll in an artificial archipelago that would reconfigure the Persian Gulf coast into a thicket of trees, a map of the world, a whirling galaxy, a scythe and a sun that looks like a spider, what you need is some corporate restructuring. That, we learnt on Wednesday, was exactly what holding company Dubai World, the parent of Dubai’s chief coastal developer Nakheel, would get.

Last year, Robert Lee, one of Nakheel’s executives, showed me a map of the future Dubai Waterfront as his company put the finishing touches on the more modest Palm Jumeirah, the skyscraper- and villa-crammed island that started the trend.
“That’s crazy!” I said.  “Bold,” countered Mr Lee.
Bold is probably not the word that the number-crunchers at Deloitte are muttering as they pore over the company’s books.

The Dubai government’s decision to postpone repayments on $3.5bn in Dubai World debts – seen by investors as the litmus test of the emirate’s creditworthiness – is the clearest sign yet of the dire state of its economy. Dubai’s fanciful island reclamation, a doubtful investment in an era of rising sea levels, was just one of the gambits that ushered this tiny emirate into the world’s consciousness.

Thankfully, many of these ideas wound up on the scrapheap. There is the cancelled Snowdome (although the city’s indoor ski slope lives on), part of a gargantuan amusement district that was to be larger than the city of Orlando it intended to rival. Also scrubbed is the $11bn Arabian Canal, a 75km moat that would have ringed the city. Enough of these sorts of schemes were built to make Dubai and the United Arab Emirates the holder of the world’s largest percapita environmental footprint.

Until Wednesday, investors were largely content to give Dubai the benefit of the doubt, given that ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum had assured the world that his emirate was good for its debts.

In a region where a man’s word already carries outsized weight, the blunt-spoken sheikh’s charisma had been built on the credibility of his pronouncements. It must be painful indeed for him to be seen as backtracking.

Sheikh Mohammed, whose family has run the emirate with astonishing stability since 1833, faces an acute test of his leadership and the clearest threat yet to his dreams for the city.
The ambitious sheikh wants Dubai to become the financial centre for a quarter of the globe, the under-served and fast-growing markets between Singapore and Frankfurt.

Wednesday’s announcement makes that goal less likely, damaging Dubai’s reputation among the investors and financiers it has worked so assiduously to court. “Naturally they are not amused,” says Eckart Woertz, chief economist at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Centre. “It will be a case of once bitten, twice shy should Dubai try to tap international markets again.”

In the longer term, the news could make Dubai’s rivals more attractive, persuading international companies to decamp to, say, Doha or Abu Dhabi. Unlike Dubai, those cities have sound, energy-based economies.
But for now they do not offer the same level of western lifestyle, nor can they match Dubai’s services in shipping, logistics, banking and air travel.

The emirate’s inability to repay also casts a shadow on the Maktoum family’s vital relations with its cousins who rule Abu Dhabi, the al-Nahyans, who seem to be letting their poorer kin sweat it out in public.
One wondered what price Abu Dhabi might demand for a full bail-out.

One plausible option was a tighter union among the seven UAE states, with maverick Dubai forced to trim its embarrassing ties with Iran and Israel. Dubai might also have been asked to merge its independent customs service into the federal bureaucracy.

Sheikh Mohammed may be calculating that Dubai’s foreign policy freedom is more valuable than its financial reputation.

There is logic in this.

The bankers in London and New York have been important in nurturing Dubai’s growth.

But the emirate’s ties with the region – Karachi, Mumbai, Riyadh and Tehran – are those that will make or break this city.

The writer is the author of City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism
By Jim Krane

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Dubai debt tops global headlines

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 30, 2009



Dubai property market set to see further price falls
 
Arabian Business 29 November 2009 

Dubai’s property market is likely to face further price falls and increased concerns over the availability of finance after the emirate said it would delay debt payment issued by two of its flagship firms, analysts said.
read the full article

Dubai World refuses assets sale – paper

Dubai World has refused to offload assets at fire-sale prices to repay obligations, forcing it to seek a debt standstill, a newspaper report on Sunday quoted an unnamed source at the government-controlled firm as saying.   read the full article..

The National

Central Bank to back country`s lenders

The UAE Central Bank has pledged support for lenders in the UAE and made emergency funds available to avert any liquidity shortage that might occur as a result of the proposed restructuring of Dubai World.

Banks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are expected to disclose their exposure to Dubai World’s estimated US$24.27 billion (Dh89.14bn) bonds and bank debt amid a global search for creditors.    read the full story

Reuters

UAE moves to counter Dubai fallout but markets wary

DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates offered banks emergency support on Sunday, the first steps to ease fears that a looming debt default by two of Dubai’s flagship firms could derail the global economic recovery.

But the move to inject liquidity into Dubai’s banks by the central bank of the Gulf Arab state, together with promises by neighboring city-state Abu Dhabi to provide selective support to Dubai companies was seen as by analysts as the bare minimum.

Dubai markets, which are set to open on Monday morning after a four-day holiday, are expected to fall by the maximum daily limit of 10 percent as banks, property and construction firms face investor ire over moves to restructure the Dubai economy.
more…

WallStreetJournal
The panic over Dubai`s debt problem tells us more about investors than it does about the emirate.
full story……

Video :   Gordon Bron says Dubai crisis is a setback

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Dubai Debt crisis and the Media Blackout for Sunday London Times in UAE

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 30, 2009


original sourche WallStreetJournal


DUBAI — The Sunday London Times newspaper was removed by authorities from shelves in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday amid intensive reporting of Dubai’s debt problems, an executive at the paper said.

The National Media Council ordered the paper blocked by distributors without providing a reason, an executive at the paper in Dubai told Zawya Dow Jones.

The Sunday Times edition available in the U.A.E. on Nov. 29 featured a double-page spread graphic illustrating Dubai’s ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum sinking in a sea of debt. The Times wasn’t given a reason for the block, or a timeframe when it will be lifted, the executive said.

A government official in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E., said that the picture of Sheik Mohammed, which accompanied a story entitled: The sinking of Dubai’s dream, was “offensive.”

Under the U.A.E.’s media code, publications are prohibited from criticizing the sheikdom’s rulers.

Local media and government officials have criticized international press coverage of Dubai’s debt crisis.

Markets around the world fell last week after the government requested a debt standstill for one of its biggest conglomerates.

Earlier this month Dubai’s Sheik Mohammed told reporters gathered at an investment conference in the city to “shut up” and stop criticizing the emirate and its crucial relationship with Abu Dhabi.

Dubai is struggling to deal with it debts estimated to exceed $80 billion.

The Sunday Times is part of News International, a unit of News Corp., owner of Dow Jones & Co. The Times and The Sunday Times are published in the U.A.E. through a local partner SAB Media.

Write to Andrew Critchlow at andrew.critchlow@dowjones.com

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Dubai Financial Crisis – Actual News Dubai Debt Problems

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 29, 2009


Telegraph UK 29 November 2009

Abu Dhabi will not race to Dubai`s rescue

Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai is under mounting pressure to explain the emirate’s debt problems, after Abu Dhabi indicated that it will not write a blank cheque to bail out its neighbour.
read more

From Bloomberg 29. November 2009
Samsung C & T stops Dubai Bridge Work as Nakheel halts payments

Wall Street Journal 29.November 2009
DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)–Debt-laden Dubai World’s unit Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority, or Jafza, faces on Monday a coupon payment on a 7.5 billion U.A.E dirham ($2.04 billion) Islamic bond in the first key test of whether it will default.

The Islamic bond, or sukuk, was issued in November 2007 through a Cayman Islands-registered company called JAFZ Sukuk Limited and pays 130 basis points over the six-month Emirates Interbank Offered Rate, according to Zawya.com.

The coming coupon payment is estimated to be between AED125 million and AED135 million, according to analyst calculations.

Spokespersons for Dubai World declined to comment on the payment Saturday, a holiday in the U.A.E. The Jafza sukuk is the first payment due for a Dubai government-related entity since the restructuring announcement Wednesday, which sent global markets and banks into a panic before the weekend.

Dubai World’s request for a standstill will include a key $3.52 billion bond owned by Nakheel, the developer behind Dubai’s palm-shaped islands, that matures on Dec. 14.

Payments on the sukuk are made semi-annually, on May 27 and Nov. 27. Bankers said that payment is due on Monday, since Nov. 27 fell on a weekend in the U.A.E.

Barclays Capital, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, and Lehman Brothers acted as joint lead managers and joint bookrunners, according to the bond prospectus. The sukuk is due November 2012.

Jafza operates a free trade zone and industrial parks in the port town of Jebel Ali, outside of the city of Dubai, and is a unit of Economic Zones World, or EZW. EZW is operated by Dubai World.

S&P and Moody’s downgraded Jafza and other Dubai government related-entities Wednesday, after Dubai World said it would restructure and ask for a standstill on all debts until at least May 2010. S&P placed Jafza on creditwatch with negative implications. Moody’s downgraded its issuer and debt ratings to Ba1 from Baa1.

Seoul officials meet to cope with Dubai debt crisis 29. November 2009

South Korea’s financial authorities were to convene a meeting later on Sunday to gauge the fallout from the Dubai debt crisis and discuss countermeasures to stave off any possible impact on the nation’s financial markets, officials said…… read more

Telegraph UK 29. November 2009

Tim Clark, president of Emirates Group, has said the Dubai business community is “shocked” by the financial crisis.

read more…

Telegraph UK 29. November 2009

Dubai an Emirate in crisis

…..Dubai is in trouble. We already knew that, long before the announcement last week that it wanted to delay payments on billions of dollars of debts owed by its Dubai World (DW) state holding company. But the trouble caused by a collapse in the property market put the city on a par with other states around the globe. This announcement was of a different order. It damaged the credibility of the city’s government and, by extension, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a whole. ….
read more

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Secenario – Why Dubai`s Debt Matters

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 28, 2009


original source Forbes from Oxford Analytica

If Abu Dhabi doesn’t mount a serious rescue operation, creditors are likely to seek legal redress against the defaulting Dubai government.

Dubai’s heavily foreign investment-dependent economy began to unravel in September 2008 following the global credit crunch. Property prices fell steeply, share prices in publicly listed companies collapsed and confidence was badly shaken in the emirate’s ability to survive the crunch. By the close of 2008, government-backed companies responsible for Dubai’s development had accrued debts of more than 80 billion dollars.

Abu Dhabi bailout.
In February this year, following Dubai’s difficulty in refinancing a $3.8 billion loan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Central Bank, backed by Abu Dhabi, subscribed to a $10 billion bond, with interest rates set at 4%. However, earlier this month, it became apparent that Dubai would need a much bigger capital injection, especially given that its largest property developer–Nakheel, a subsidiary of Dubai World–was due to refinance a $3.5 billion Islamic sukuk bond on December 14.

Article Controls
On November 24, it was announced that Abu Dhabi had provided an additional $5 billion loan:

–Significantly, insiders indicated that this loan came with strings attached, and that it was to be used to pay disgruntled foreign contractors rather than to re-finance the Nakheel debt.

–While little is known about Abu Dhabi’s reasons for these limits on its assistance, it may have been reluctant to be associated with Nakheel, a company with problems considered to be too big to solve through loans.

Sovereign default ?

Although not technically an example of a sovereign default, the request has been viewed as such. The agencies have thus downgraded most government-backed Dubai companies and entities either to below investment grade or to junk status.

The credit default swap rate on Dubai debts rose by more than 100 basis points, taking it to 434 points.
As a result, the emirate’s ability to seek additional credit on international markets has been sharply curtailed.

Political collapse ?

If Abu Dhabi does not mount a serious rescue operation, creditors are likely to seek legal redress against the defaulting Dubai government:

–In this scenario, ‘Dubai Inc.’ will be widely regarded as bankrupt and the ruling Al-Maktoum family held responsible, due to the ‘blurred lines’ between the government and the wealth of the ruling family.

–There would also be political ramifications. It would be unfeasible for Sheikh Mohammed or Sheikh Hamdan to remain in power following such a massive loss of prestige.

If, on the other hand, Abu Dhabi does agree to provide more credit, there will also be significant implications:

–It will do so only under very strict conditions, since it will be reluctant to pour money into rescuing failed projects.
–It will thus begin to dictate terms to Dubai, and almost certainly seek to centralize power in the UAE federation and rein in Dubai’s autonomy.
–However, given the political culture of the Gulf states, such moves are likely to be made discretely, in order to allow the Dubai ruling family to save some face.

Outlook.
Dubai World’s decision to delay paying its creditors is a serious miscalculation, since, by trying to restructure some of its largest debts, it has placed itself under close international scrutiny. This will make it extremely difficult for the company to acquire fresh credit, and increase the risks of further defaults. Only oil-rich Abu Dhabi is in a position to stage a financial rescue, but even if it does, Dubai is likely to emerge chastened, and to adopt a different approach towards economic development.

To read an extended version of this article, log on to Oxford Analytica’s Web site.
Oxford Analytica is an independent strategic-consulting firm drawing on a network of more than 1,000 scholar experts at Oxford and other leading universities and research institutions around the world.
For more information, please visit Oxford Analytica here

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Shocking – Dubai`s main investment fund seeks debt payment delay

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 25, 2009


original source BBC

The government-owned investment company behind Dubai’s rapid development drive has asked its creditors for a six-month delay on repaying its debts.

Dubai World, which has total debts of $59bn (£35bn), is asking creditors if it can postpone its forthcoming payments until May next year.

Dubai World has also appointed global accountancy group Deloitte to help with its financial restructuring.

The company has been hit hard by the global credit crunch and recession.

‘Shocking’

The Dubai government said in a statement that the request to delay debt repayments also applied to property developer Nakheel, a Dubai World subsidiary.

“It’s shocking because for the past few months the news coming out has given investors comfort that Dubai would most probably be able to meet its debt obligations,” said analyst Shakeel Sarwar, of SICO Investment Bank.

Dubai is one of the seven self-governing emirates or states that make up the United Arab Emirates.

Analysts say the Dubai government has paid the price for a flamboyant economic model centred on foreign capital and giant construction projects.

Some have speculated it is likely to turn to the more economically conservative Abu Dhabi emirate to bail it out.

The Dubai World announcement was made on the eve of the Eid al-Adha Muslim festival, which will see many government agencies and companies close in Dubai until 6 December.

see also: Bloomberg Reuters WallStreetJournal

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Dubai bonds gained after Sheikh Mohammed reduced of the power of some top executives

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 24, 2009


original Source Bloomberg

Dubai bonds gained after ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum reduced the power of some top executives as he tries to improve investor confidence in the emirate burdened by $80 billion of debt.

Dubai’s five-year Islamic bond, or sukuk, maturing in 2014 rose 0.11 cent to a three-day high of 100.63 cents on the dollar at 7:11 p.m. in Dubai, pushing the yield down to 6.243 percent, Bloomberg data show.

Sheikh Mohammed fired Omar Bin Sulaiman, the governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre, on Nov. 20 who had led efforts to transform Dubai into a Middle East finance hub. A day earlier, he removed three executives from Investment Corporation of Dubai, the state-holding company at the forefront of a debt-financed construction drive that collapsed last year.

“You might not understand completely what changes have happened and why, but you get the impression things are being done in a constructive way,” said Norval Loftus, the head of convertible bonds and sukuk at the Matrix Group Ltd. in London, which manages $2.5 billion of investments.

Investment Corporation of Dubai has stakes in more than 30 companies including Emirates Airline and Emirates NBD, the Persian Gulf’s biggest bank.

Dubailand

The executives removed from the board include Mohammad al-Gergawi, chairman of Dubai Holding, which owns developers including Dubai Properties LLC, Sama Dubai LLC and Tatweer LLC. Tatweer has put on hold a project to build “Dubailand,” a Disneyland-style leisure park that would be three times the size of Manhattan.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai World, a state-run holding company that has about $59 billion of debt and other liabilities, was also removed. Dubai World controls property developer Nakheel PJSC, which has had to cancel plans for a new waterfront development the size of Hong Kong Island. Nakheel has to repay a $3.52 billion bond maturing in December.

The third executive deposed from the board is Mohammed Ali Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties PJSC, the largest developer in the U.A.E., which is building the world’s tallest tower.

‘Calculated Move’

“This is a very deliberate and calculated move that goes hand in hand with other efforts being made by the Government of Dubai to restore its credibility in the market,” said Chavan Bhogaita, head of credit research at National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, the U.A.E.’s second- largest lender by assets. The emirate wants “to be seen to be taking proactive action to address the serious issues that have affected Dubai Inc. entities,” he said.

The ruler earlier this month took direct control over the emirate’s planning and supervisory agency. While Sheikh Mohammed is exerting control over the web of state-owned companies that he used to accelerate diversification away from oil, the deposed executives will keep their corporate positions. Bin Sulaiman stays as vice chairman of the U.A.E. central bank.

The Dubai government is in the final stages of preparing the second half of the bond issue, Alabbar said on Nov. 20. Investors will buy a “reasonable chunk” of the bond, he said. The bonds will be issued before the end of the year, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman of the emirate’s Supreme Fiscal Committee, said on Nov. 16.

“These developments are positive and in line with a strategy to provide the investor community more comforts,” said Jamil Hallak, head of credit trading at Standard Chartered bank in Dubai.

To contact the reporter on this story: Haris Anwar in Dubai on Hanwar2@bloomberg.net

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Dubai – Sheikh Mohammed downgrades prominent figures

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 23, 2009


original Source Bloomberg

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) — Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum consolidated his hold on the debt-laden emirate, downgrading powerful figures behind the city-state’s boom that turned to a bust.

Sheikh Mohammed on Nov. 20 sacked the governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre, Omar Bin Sulaiman, who had led efforts to transform Dubai into a Middle East finance hub. A day earlier, he dropped Mohammad al-Gergawi, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem and Mohammed Ali Alabbar from the board of Dubai’s main holding company, the Investment Corporation of Dubai. The three were at the forefront of a construction drive that began in 2002 and collapsed last year after the global financial turmoil engulfed Dubai.

The announcement, which follows the replacement in May of Nasser al-Sheikh, former director of the emirate’s Department of Finance, heralds greater consolidation of so-called Dubai Inc., the web of competing, state-owned companies that Sheikh Mohammed used to accelerate the diversification of Dubai. Dubai is struggling under $80 billion of debt amassed in the process.

The replacement of the DIFC governor is part of efforts to improve the efficiency of government institutions and companies, and “consolidate the emirate’s growing importance as an international center for finance, business, trade, tourism and all services,” Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, director-general of the ruler’s court, said in an e-mailed statement on Nov. 20.

Transparency

This needs to be accompanied by greater transparency and better coordination between the various state-run companies, said Tristan Cooper, a Dubai-based Middle East sovereign analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.

“It’s difficult to read too much into the personnel changes at this stage, but it would be encouraging if it helped to improve coordination and information flow within Dubai’s large and disparate public sector,” Cooper said by e-mail.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index tumbled today to its lowest level in two months, losing 2.6 percent to 2,073.66. Abu Dhabi’s measure slipped 2 percent to its lowest since Sept. 2.

Bin Sulayem is chairman of Dubai World, a state-run holding company that has about $59 billion of debt and other liabilities. It controls property developer Nakheel PJSC, which has had to cancel plans for a new waterfront development the size of Hong Kong Island. Nakheel has to repay a $3.52 billion bond maturing in December.

Dubailand

Istithmar PJSC, the investment company controlled by Dubai World, may lose control of the W New York Union Square hotel in Manhattan at a foreclosure auction next month by holders of the mezzanine debt on the property. Dubai International Capital LLC, a private equity investor controlled by the emirate’s ruler, is said to be offering junior lenders a 40 percent stake in Almatis, a maker of alumina products, in a debt-for-equity swap.

Al-Gergawi is chairman of Dubai Holding, which owns developers including Dubai Properties LLC, Sama Dubai LLC and Tatweer LLC. Tatweer has put on hold a project to build “Dubailand,” a Disneyland-style leisure park that would be three times the size of Manhattan. Alabbar is chairman of Emaar Properties PJSC, the largest developer in the U.A.E., which is building the world’s tallest tower.

Dubai’s real-estate market was the worst affected by the global financial crisis. Home prices have tumbled about 50 percent from their peak, and may drop another 20 percent this year, Deutsche Bank AG said in June.

Bond Issue

The emirate will study the viability of projects more closely in the future, Sheikh Mohammed said Sept. 9. “We’ll be more careful now,” he said.

The actions of Dubai’s ruler may also be aimed at helping him shore up his position with regard to the wealthier neighboring emirate, Abu Dhabi, said Jean-Francois Seznec, a professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies in Washington.

Abu Dhabi, which has 90 percent of oil in the U.A.E., holder of the world’s sixth-largest crude reserves, bailed out it’s fellow emirate in February with a $10 billion Dubai bond issue subscribed entirely by the U.A.E. central bank. Dubai is seeking to raise another $10 billion, a significant portion from the federal government in Abu Dhabi. The government is in the final stages of preparing the second half of the bond issue, Alabbar said on Nov. 20.

The cost of protecting Dubai bonds from default rose 3 percent to 313 basis points on Nov. 20, five-year credit-default swap prices show. The contracts, which get more expensive as perceptions of credit quality worsen, traded at 287 basis points on Oct. 20, the lowest in 12 months, Bloomberg data show.

Bankruptcy

Sheikh Mohammed is trying to salvage his business empire by merging assets, said Christopher Davidson, a professor at Durham University in the U.K. and author of the 2008 book “Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success.” “The ruler’s main government-backed companies are on the verge of bankruptcy and rapid centralization of these bits and pieces is needed to hold them above water,” he said by phone.

In June, Emaar said it was in talks to combine with Dubai Properties, Sama Dubai and Tatweer as it aims to control the supply of new buildings amid a glut of homes.

Alabbar shrugged off his removal from the board of the investment body. “As business goes on, all organizations restructure,” he said Nov. 20. Al-Gergawi didn’t pick up his mobile phone and Bin Sulaiman and Bin Sulayem didn’t respond to interview requests via their spokespeople.

Scapegoats

Ahmed Humaid al-Tayer, the new governor of the DIFC, which is home to regional offices of banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG, said yesterday he would pursue the same strategy as his predecessor. Al-Tayer is also chairman of Emirates NBD PJSC, the U.A.E.’s biggest bank by assets, and remains a member of the ICD board along with Al Shaibani, the head of the ruler’s court. The other four board members are Sheikh Mohammed, two of his sons and his uncle.

The four sidelined Dubai powerbrokers have to some extent been made scapegoats, according to Simon Henderson, an expert on the Gulf monarchies at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“They were given authority and access to capital and told to go out there and expand Dubai, they were given a license and latitude, and to that extent, they were obeying orders,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Dubai at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net.

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Dubai property prices may drop as much as 30 percent more

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 19, 2009


original source Bloomberg

Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) — Dubai home prices may take at least a decade to recover and increasing supply and a shrinking population will leave 25 percent of the sheikdom’s houses empty next year, according to UBS.

Prices may drop as much as 30 percent more, UBS analyst Saud Masud said in a note today. They have already fallen by more than 50 percent from the peak last year, making Dubai the worst-hit market in the global real estate slump.

Dubai’s construction boom petered out in the third quarter of last year after banks tightened lending and speculators left the market. UBS’s research contrasts with a Deutsche Bank report this month that said the market is “bottoming out” with slowing price declines and an increase in transactions. Masud said the market will probably reach its bottom in 2011.

Consolidation in the industry will result in asset writedowns, limiting the benefits of a possible merger of Emaar Properties LLC and three state-owned companies, UBS said. Emaar, the United Arab Emirates biggest real-estate developer, is in talks to join with state-controlled competitors Dubai Properties LLC, Sama Dubai LLC and Tatweer LLC.

Dubai’s population, which is 90 percent expatriate, may drop by 8 percent this year and another 2 percent in 2010, Masud said. Nearly half the workforce is employed in real estate or construction.

Banks in the United Arab Emirates have understated their non-performing loans and the total may grow to around five times the 27.8 billion dirhams ($7.57 billion) reported by the central bank in September, the Dubai-based analyst wrote.

Bank lending tied to real estate may be 35 to 40 percent of the total when including personal loans used for property investment. Central bank regulations cap real estate lending at 20 percent of a bank’s total. The loans could be 350 billion dirhams to 400 billion dirhams, almost double the stated 204 billion dirhams, UBS said.

Provisions for bad loans may grow to more than five times their current levels over the next 12 to 18 months, Masud wrote. Net provisions stood at 29 billion dirhams by the end of October, central bank data shows.

“We expect to see greater consolidation, higher provisions for non-performing loans, an increase in investor delinquencies and relatively lower end user demand for residential and commercial property,” Masud wrote.

Banks will face pressure to provide liquidity and late payments will probably present a continuing risk for contractors and subcontractors, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zainab Fattah in Dubai on zfattah@bloomberg.net

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Detained in Dubai – Support Group for Dubai Residents and Tourists who find themselves in Hot Water in Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 18, 2009


original source 7Days Dubai 18 Nov, 2009

With hundreds of Brits being arrested each year and hundreds more other expats ending up on the wrong side of the law, a support group has been set up to reach out to residents and tourists who find themselves in hot water in Dubai.

Detained in Dubai is a non-profit organisation set up by Radha Sterling after she fought for the freedom of close friend and TV executive Cat Le-Huy, who was arrested on arrival in the emirate for possession of a jetlag drug that turned out to be legal both in the UK and the United Arab Emirates.

She said: “I ran a campaign for the release of Cat after he was detained last year. He was picked up in the airport in Dubai and arrested for having melatonin – a jetlag pill which is not even illegal in the UAE. He was held in prison for more than a month and eventually released without charge.”

After Le-Huy’s ordeal hit the headlines, Sterling was contacted by other people whose friends and families were going through the Dubai judicial system.

She said: “I decided to set up something more formal as I was contacted by a lot of people after what happened to Cat. I have a legal background and worked closely with Cat’s lawyers during his experience so gained a detailed knowledge of the legal system and I wanted to share that with people who need help.”

Detained in Dubai is manned by a team of solicitors with experience in corporate, criminal and civil law as well a cross-section of researchers and interns. The drive behind the group is to raise awareness of the UAE’s laws to help foreigners avoid getting into trouble in the first place.

But when the worst does happen, Sterling, who works in the media and has a degree in law, is on hand to talk people through the legal process.

Detained in Dubai offers advice and support and recommends lawyers, but mostly, it helps people understand what to expect from an unfamiliar court system.

Sterling said: “A lot of the cases we come across are when a foreigner has got themselves in trouble because they aren’t familiar with the law.

That comes from ignorance really, but we would like to raise awareness of the expectations of Dubai and to make it clear to people that it is not another America or Britain – there are a lot of very serious rules.”

Many of the cases Detained in Dubai has come across in the last eight weeks since its online launch are relating to drugs.

The UAE’s banned and controlled substance list is 49 pages long. Dozens of substances from cough medicine to anti-schizophrenia drugs are included on the inventory.

Even tiny traces of an illegal substance can lead to years in prison.

But it is not only drugs offences.

Sterling says: “We are seeing a lot of financial and business related cases now which are very complex. It can be difficult for people to know where to start.”

Detained in Dubai offers daily support to people, whatever their nationality, and also helps those who come out of the other side adjust to freedom when they are released.

Sterling said: “That’s an important part of what we do as well because people can find it difficult when they do eventually get home so we offer after care support.

“We understand what they have been through.”

For more on Detained in Dubai, go to www.detainedindubai.org, call  +447050 686 745 or email info@detainedindubai.org

Cases helped by Sterling’s group

In trouble with the boss
Dive instructor Roxanne Hillier was jailed for three months in May this year after being convicted of having an affair with her Emirati boss.
The 22-year-old South African, who was working in Sharjah, was arrested when police broke into the dive centre where she had decided to stay overnight while maintenance work was being carried out on her apartment.
She claimed that she was upstairs, in a locked room, when police swooped. Her married boss was downstairs checking dive equipment. She says she was questioned in Arabic and could not understand.
Both Hillier and her boss were charged, although he was later acquitted. Hillier was released on appeal after nine weeks behind bars.

Drug problem
German TV producer Cat Le-Huy was stopped as he arrived at Dubai Airport last year and subjected to a full search.
He was found with melatonin – a supplement used for combating jetlag. He signed a confession in Arabic admitting to possessing illegal drugs, which led to him being locked up in the airport’s detention centre. The authorities also tested some dust and dirt inside his suitcase and found 0.03g of cannabis – smaller than a grain of sugar. Eventually, Le-Huy was released without charge after a meeting between his counsel and the prosecution.

Words of warning
In September 2009, Sun McKay was heading home to Sydney from Afghanistan where he was working for a security firm.
The 32-year-old Australian was queuing for his connecting flight in Dubai when he decided to go to the cash machine. As he stepped out of line, he claims he was grabbed by a man who shouted at him in Arabic. McKay swore in response and was arrested as the man was a police officer.
He has been charged with using insulting language to a police officer and could face three years behind bars. McKay is awaiting a court hearing on December 9.

Ps: Before travel to UAE Tourists should study the Guidelines for Import of Personal Medicines
and check this List of Restricted and Controlled Drugs
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Dynasty Zarooni Dubai back in the Headlines – Another criminal complaint ?

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 16, 2009


original source dailymail uk


For successful London jeweller Nadeem Osman, Dubai had all the bling in the world. Like thousands of others, he loved the city’s fast life, with its sports cars, glitzy shopping malls and super-luxury hotels. And, of course, its sun and fabulous beaches.

The 37-year-old businessman from Balham, South London, holidayed there at least twice a year with his wife and even thought of moving there eventually, away from the rain and cold of England.

So 14 months ago, as an investment on the side, Mr Osman decided to buy four apartments in the city, which he planned to rent and also use as his holiday homes.

Losing its sparkle: Jeweller Nadeem Osman bought four flats in Dubai last year, just before the property market there crashed

He paid £580,000 for two off-plan apartments in Villa Caria, a residential block in Jumeirah South, and two more in a proposed hotel on the Dubai Waterfront, known as Hotel K. But his timing could not have been worse, with the Dubai property market then going into free fall: down 32 per cent in the first quarter of this year and 47 per cent in the second, according to Knight Frank.

Assetz, a property investment company, estimates that the fall may reach 70 per cent this year. Mr Osman bought the apartments through Dynasty Zarooni (DZ) – one of the city’s biggest real estate companies, with a portfolio of properties worth £219million.

He paid the full sum upfront, assured that the money would be put into an escrow account which protects a buyer’s money until the work is complete.

In January, one of the directors of DZ was arrested on a £60million fraud allegation – and since released without charge – but work on Hotel K has not even started. It is scheduled to finish by 2011. The company does not even own the land on which it was to be built.

Villa Caria was supposed to be completed by the end of this year, but DZ has told him it may take a further two years. Mr Osman has also been told that his money was not put into an escrow account, and he is unable to get any back.

‘I don’t know what to do,’ he said. ‘If it was in this country I could do something about it, but in Dubai it’s so difficult as there is a huge backlog in the courts.’

Dynasty Zarooni has declined to comment after repeated attempts to contact it.

Mr Osman has now formed a group with ten other investors to decide whether to take legal action or file a criminal case.

Dubai’s courts are struggling with a mountain of property cases totalling £3billion – as much as £500million may involve British investors.

Stuart Law, of Assetz, says Britons, who were the largest Western investors, were partly responsible for the crash as they inflated prices through their highly geared buy-to-let schemes.

‘We’ve known of properties that were sold again and again about ten times one after another – it was good as each person made a profit, but the person who was left with the contract at the last was in trouble,’ said Mr Law.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/property/article-1228306/Why-Dubai-lost-sparkle-UK-jeweller.html#ixzz0X3PuoMQ0

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Dubai developers Cirrus and Kaizen disappear – Investors worried

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 14, 2009


original source Construction Week Online Dubai, 14 November 2009

Confusion has broken out over the whereabouts of international real estate firms Cirrus Developments and Kaizen Developments.

Both developers are responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of developments in Dubai and across the region, including Cirrus’ Aquarius Gate in the Waterfront area, and Kaizen’s Equinox Residences at Palm Jebel Ali.

Websites for the companies are no longer active, while phone numbers listed on their brochures have not connected.

Cirrus Developments had been developing Celestial Heights – a mixed-use project of three towers, in the Downtown Jebel Ali master development, but the project is now being looked after by a firm called Catalyst Project Consultants, Construction Week has learned.

“Cirrus was part of phase one of Celestial Heights, then the owners appointed Catalyst,” Catalyst Project Consultants’ director Israr Ahmed told CW.

“Cirrus have downsized and moved offices, but they handed over all work related to the project over a two month period.”

Ahmed also said that Catalyst was “not at all” related to Cirrus Developments but it did have links to Kaizen Developments whose logo featured on early Celestial Heights marketing materials.

The last number he had for Cirrus could not be connected.

Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) confirmed to CW that a developer by the name of Kaizen One Investment Limited was an approved developer, but the phone number it had registered for Kaizen now belongs to a general trading company.

Significantly, the registered website that Rera had for Kaizen One Investment Limited was http://www.cirrusdevelopments.com, which is now defunct.

Construction Week eventually managed to reach Cirrus Developments’ brokerage number where a receptionist said: “Due to the [financial] crisis, we have suspended the brokerage”, but insisted that despite not appearing on Rera’s list of approved developers, the development side of the company was still in operation.

Both public relations firms which represented Kaizen and Cirrus in the past confirmed that they were no longer their clients.

Kaizen Developments is unreachable.

Do you work for Kaizen or Cirrus? Have you invested in their projects or have you worked on their projects? Please contact constructionweek online

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Jumeirah Lake Towers – One more Dubai Property Disaster – Homes promised in 2007 won`t be ready before 2011

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 14, 2009


original source Zawya
Dubai: Investors who paid as much as Dh1.7 million for apartments in a residential tower said they are no closer to moving in though the project should have been completed two years back.

Three 40-storey buildings at Jumeirah Lake Towers two residential towers and a business tower — were due to be completed in 2007, but buyers have now been told that the buildings won’t be ready before 2011.

They claimed that the developer Al Attar Properties altered the original plans from two-bedroom apartments to one-bedroom plus a study and changed the views they wanted. An official from Al Attar Propertiessaid the delays have been due to problems with regulations and reassured investors that construction work would begin “in four weeks’ time”.

Mohammad Makram, an Egyptian national, said he is one of 60 investors affected and is currently forced to rent as well as pay off a bank loan that he took for the apartment.

He bought a Dh1 million freehold two-bedroom apartment in 2007 and was originally told it would be completed at the end of that year.

Sherif Atef, an Egyptian expat, who spent Dh1.7 million on a two-bedroom apartment in the Vista Del Lago tower, said: “It’s been so frustrating since I bought the apartment in August 2008. I don’t think we’ll see the money again.”

“We have taken independent experts to the area and they said that there is no way a 40-storey building will be ready by 2011 and that’s even if they start work right away,” Makram said.

He added that the group decided to wait for a change in the law in the new year before moving court. “My life has been on hold for two years. I had been planning to get married but that’ll be delayed as I don’t know where we may be living,” he said.

Many investors have been de-manding their money back but Al Attar Properties has been refusing, Makram added.

 

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Absoulte unhappy Nakheel Property Buyers – Dubai Jebel Ali Palm complaints investigated

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 12, 2009


original source The National

The Dubai Land Department (DLD) will investigate complaints over the stalled Nakheel Palm Jebel Ali project after about 125 disgruntled property buyers petitioned the authority.

Nakheel has offered investors alternative homes in other projects that are either completed or already under construction, including at International City, Jumeirah Heights and Al Furjan.

“After patiently waiting for seven years and putting all of our hard-earned money into this project, we are being given the option to transfer to inferior properties which are not in the same league as those promised to us,” the investors said in a letter to the DLD. “This is not what was sold to us.” An official said the department would compile a report on the situation.

Palm Jebel Ali, the second part of the Palm island trilogy, was launched by Nakheel in 2003 and was designed to accommodate up to 250,000 people and add 70km of beachfront to Dubai. Work came to a standstill on the vast artificial island development after property prices started to tumble last year.
read the rest of the Report The National

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Japanese construction companies are facing very serious debt problems as Dubai can’t pay

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 10, 2009


original source The National

Japanese builders are owed billions of dollars on projects that include the Dubai Metro and Palm Island, according to a top diplomat and leading contractors from the country,
Japanese builders have played a pivotal role in Dubai’s construction boom, spearheading work on the Dh28 billion (US$7.6bn) Metro and helping to build Nakheel’s palm-shaped islands off the emirate’s coast.

But as the global financial crisis brought many projects to a standstill, an increasing number of foreign companies, especially builders, have reported payment problems mainly linked to Dubai developers.

“Some Japanese construction companies are facing very serious debt problems as Dubai can’t pay,” said Seiichi Otsuka, the Japanese consul general in Dubai. “Some companies engaged with the construction of the Metro are facing some payment issues.” He said companies were also owed money by Nakheel.
read the rest of this article…The National

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Sheikh Mohammed Ruler of Dubai has told the emirates`s critics to ” Shut Up”

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 10, 2009


original source 7Days
Dubai Ruler tells critics to ‘do their homework’ as he stresses unity and confidence in the future

The Ruler of Dubai has told the emirate’s critics to ‘shut up’.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum yesterday broke away from a pre-prepared speech in Arabic on the Dubai economy to make his point in English.

His remark was directed at people who have tried to suggest there is a wedge between the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi after Dubai drew a $10 billion emergency loan from the UAE central bank.

But Sheikh Mohammed said these people “should really do their homework” about his country.

“I just want to tell these people who nag about Dubai and Abu Dhabi to shut up,” he told the MENA and Frontiers Conference in Dubai, organised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the prime minister and vice president of the UAE, stressed the close ties between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“Dubai and Abu Dhabi are one,” he said, adding: “I assure you that we’ll be there for each other when we need it.”

The comments were clearly aimed at dispelling perceptions of a rivalry between the two emirates.

There have been accusations around the globe that Abu Dhabi has become jealous of Dubai’s success in recent years as it tries to diversify its economy away from a dependence on oil.

But yesterday, in rare public comments on the subject, Sheikh Mohammed stressed the tribal bonds and blood relations between the emirates’ rulers.

“We, our fathers, grandfathers have fought for the Arabian Peninsula,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “We are very, very proud of our country, very proud of our people… And our people (are) very proud of us.”

The ruler also confronted critics who say Dubai was slow to react to the global financial crisis.

He said the government “preferred to wait rather than rushing” so it could restructure state-owned companies. And Sheikh Mohammed said he
was confident the worst of the crisis was over.

“As the global economy stabilises, Dubai today is well placed to exploit its inherent strength,” he said.

“The slowdown will never dampen the mettle of children of Dubai to steam forward in the drive toward development,’’ he added.

Dubai faces a debt of about $80 billion. As well as the $10 billion loan, it expects to raise an additional $10 billion in financing before the end of the year.

more Maktoob.com

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Dubai – Sheikh Mohammed`s speech at Bank of America Merill Lynch investment conference

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 10, 2009


original source SheikhMohammed

Follow the link to read an edited translation of the speech of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum Ruler of Dubai at an investment conference organized by the Bank of America Merill Lynch in Dubai.
Link

Video of the speech

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Dubai a legal system on trial

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 9, 2009


Dubai , Aug 07, 2009

Dubai legal System in questions

Dubai legal System in questions

Charles Ridley, a Bahrain-based British businessman, is facing trial in the Dubai court system. He is one of seven people accused of defrauding Dubai Islamic BankDubai Islamic BankLoading… of more than $500m, charges which he denies.

However, Mr Ridley, standing in white prisoner’s uniform in Dubai’s court of first instance, can understand proceedings only when the translator relates a direct question from the judge, or when the testimony turns to English. Even then he has to overcome the poor acoustics of the wood-panelled court.

“I need a translator so I can understand what is going on,” Mr Ridley says.

The high-profile case is one of many inching their way through the system this summer as the government’s corruption investigation leads to court cases.

The fate of Mr Ridley and other defendants has given rise to increasing calls for legal reform of the Dubai judiciary, which Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the emirate’s ruler, has criticised as outdated and inefficient.

Also the sharp economic downturn in the city has prompted an increase in financial crimes, especially default, which remains a criminal rather than civil matter in Dubai.

“We need full legal reform to update all the laws, not just commercial but also criminal,” says Habib al-Mulla, a prominent Dubai-based lawyer.

“Part of the issue is people are facing prosecution and the laws aren’t adapted to financial crimes, and the judiciary can’t handle the situation if laws are still holding us back. The problem, though, is when will it be done?”

Mr Ridley’s unheeded call for a simultaneous translator would be simple enough for the courts to satisfy, but changes to other elements of the United Arab Emirates judicial system would need approval from the federal government in Abu Dhabi, the capital.

The issue has been thrown into sharper relief by the case of Abdulsalam al-Marri, a former chief executive of Lagoons, a property development, who was held for nine months before last week being acquitted of bribery charges.

Mr Marri is one of many executives caught up in the Dubai government’s anti-corruption investigation, which was launched last year. He feels aggrieved at having spent almost a year behind bars, during which he missed the birth of his twins, and his professional reputation is shattered.

“We trust our legal system, but the procedures were not right. We can’t sit in jail and then go to court,” says Mr Marri, who is likely to face an appeal from the state prosecutor.

According to lawyers who declined to be identified, one of the most important legal reforms needed in the UAE is prompt investigation and presentation of evidence against the accused.

They are also concerned about the freer rein extended to the state security services by the public prosecutor’s office, which they say is a change from a decade ago when the security services were on a tighter leash.

“The prosecution should have a maximum six months to prove their case and charge defendants,” says one senior lawyer.

In recent years, the internal security service has played a larger role in investigations of white-collar crime, especially those relating to government corruption.

Suspects detained by state security are frequently held for weeks, sometimes in solitary confinement and without access to legal or consular access, lawyers say.

Photo: Shahram Abdullah Zadeh CEO Al Fajer Properties 2008. 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 Sheikh Hasher Juma Al Maktoum and his son Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum

Photo: Shahram Abdullah Zadeh CEO Al Fajer Properties 2008. 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 Sheikh Hasher Juma Al Maktoum and his son Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum

Shahram Zadeh CEO Al Fajer Properties Dubai, a longstanding Iranian expatriate in Dubai, says he was detained for two months last year. After extensive interrogation, Mr Zadeh was released without charge but has had his passport withheld.

Since then, the Dubai authorities have refused to accept attempts by Mr Zadeh to launch criminal proceedings against members of the ruling family over the ownership of Al Fajer Properties.

Al Fajer claims Mr Zadeh stole money from the company, but the courts are hearing a $1.9bn civil law suit filed by Mr Zadeh against Sheikh Hasher bin Maktoum Al Maktoum and two of his children ( the son, Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Malktoum and his sister Sheikha Maryam Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum)  in which Mr. Zadeh claims they used the detention to seize the company illegally. He alleges that they were only sponsors and did not invest. They deny the allegation.

Sheikh Maktoum Hasher bin Juma Al Maktoum Al Fajer Properties in Dubai. Appointed by his father Sheikh Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum Mid March 2008 to the President of Al Fajer Properties

Sheikh Maktoum Hasher bin Juma Al Maktoum Al Fajer Properties in Dubai. Appointed by his father Sheikh Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum Mid March 2008 to the President of Al Fajer Properties

Lawyers say defendants should be allowed to have a legal representative present when they are being questioned, and police should stop sitting in on the weekly conversations lawyers are permitted to have with detained clients in the run-up to and during court hearings.

The public prosecution’s file of evidence should also be made available if suspects are detained for long periods before being charged and tried, the lawyers say.

Changes to the commercial courts – especially those that deal with the collapsed real estate market – are also needed, the lawyers argue. These changes could include cheaper fees and more efficient scheduling of cases, which at present can drag on for months.

But even if the city decides to overhaul criminal and commercial procedures, the matter is federal and therefore needs to be addressed by the government based in Abu Dhabi.

“In the end, Dubai can improve efficiency on the edge, but this will still be short [of what is required] unless they get the federal umbrella to change,” says one critic.

By Simeon Kerr in Dubai
source Zawya

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Posted in Al Fajer Properties, Dubai, Dubai Fraud, Dubai Justice, Dubai Legal - Real Estate Lawsuits | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Dubai a legal system on trial

Shahram Zadeh Al Fajer Properties filed case against Sheikh Maktoum

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 9, 2009


Al Fajer Properties Dubai 2009 CEO Shahram Zadeh in Dispute with Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum

In this Gulf city-state, two things have long been untouchable: business interests and the ruling family. However, an attempt to sue a member of the family over an alleged financial swindle is a sign of how much the economic crisis has rattled business as usual here.

Shahram Abdullah Zadeh accuses the brother-in-law , Sheikh Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, of Dubai’s emir illegally of taking over his real-estate firm Al Fajer Properties and having him detained by police to help the swindle.

Zadeh, a 37-year-old Iranian national who has lived in Dubai all his life, brought a civil case against the brother-in-law and his son Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum to get his firm Al Fajer Properties back, a rare move. Even more surprising, shrahm Zadeh tried to raise criminal charges, but that step went nowhere because prosecutors rejected it.

The case has raised questions about whether Dubai really is what it claims to be: A boomtown where international businessmen can safely invest and turn a profit; or rather, a nest of cronyism and connections where royal blood can still trump entrepreneurial effort.

Such questions were largely ignored by everyone – businessmen and politicians alike – as long as the cash was rolling in during Dubai’s stunning expansion over the past decade. But now the emirate has hit the skids in the world financial crisis.

“During the boom, Dubai’s shortcomings were glossed over, but now that the economy is struggling, it’s becoming a different story,” said Christopher Davidson, an author of two books on the United Arab Emirates and a lecturer at Durham University in Britain.

Dubai’s emir, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, led the emirate’s vast financial ambitions. But business ran far ahead of the effort to modernize legislation in what remains a traditional Arab monarchy, where the ruler and his family hold final say.

Now the government has been trying to rein in some fast-and-loose business practices. About a dozen former executives are in custody for various investigations. Some have close ties to the government, but none of those in custody are related to the ruling family.

Zadeh’s case goes farther – breaking to taboo of questioning Dubai’s leadership. Zadeh says he’s a victim of a system in which the rulers can manipulate police and the courts to protect their business.

“If Dubai cannot provide security for foreign investors, they might as well switch off all the lights,” he said.

Attempts over the past weeks by The Associated Press to contact the brother-in-law, Sheikh Hasher Maktoum bin Juma’a Al Maktoum, were unsuccessful. Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoumand his company attorneys did not return repeated phone calls or respond to interview requests.

In the first session of Zadeh’s civil case, Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum and his lawyers failed to appear. In the second a week ago, his lawyer asked the court for more time to study the allegations. The case is to resume May 4.

Zadeh and the Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Al Maktoum went into business in 2004. Foreigners are allowed to deal in property only after finding an Emirati sponsor to officially register a company. The usual practice is for the Emirati sponsor to give his signature for an annual fee or profit share. Several members of the sprawling ruling family are involved in such deals.

Zadeh set up a firm, Al Fajer Properties, and was chief executive while Sheikh  Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum held the trade license. The firm was profitable and is now worth about $2 billion, according to Zadeh. But the partnership soured over delays in building a commercial tower, Juemirah Business Centre.

Zadeh said in an affidavit to Dubai’s attorney general that he was arrested in February 2008 and held for 60 days. He says he was never charged with any crime but was questioned over his business – including the combination of his safe.

While Zadeh was in detention, Sheikh Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum took over the company Al Fajer Properties by appointing his son Sheik Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum as chief executive, ousting Zadeh, according to Zadeh’s filing. When he was released, Zadeh says he found his office safe had been cleaned of documents showing he was the owner of Al Fajer Properties and Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoums partner.

Zadeh also says police tried to push him to sign a document saying he had no connection to Al Fajer Properties. He submitted to the court

Al Fajer documents listing him as CEO and transactions that his lawyers contend show he was the sole investor. The Associated Press was given a copy.

Sheikh Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum  “thought he could do it all because he’s a Sheik,” Zadeh said.

Police refused to comment on whether Zadeh was detained. Shahram Zadeh says they continue to hold his passport and so far he has had little luck pushing his claims.

He submitted a criminal complaint but the attorney general refused to investigate, giving no reason.

Zadeh then filed a complaint directly to Dubai’s emir, who holds what is called the Ruler’s Court. Residents can bring to the emir what they believe are injustices unaddressed by the courts – from disputes over money to wrongful deaths.

Zadeh says he has received no response.

see also: Terahn Times

More: Al Fajer Properties DubaiJumeirah Business CentreEbony Ivory Towers Dubai

Posted in Al Fajer Properties, Dubai, Dubai Fraud, Dubai Justice, Dubai Police, Jumeirah Business Centre, Shahram Abdullah Zadeh, Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum-2 | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Shahram Zadeh Al Fajer Properties filed case against Sheikh Maktoum

Apartment blocks in Dubai are suffering from a lack of confidence in the property market

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 8, 2009



source TheNational
Homeowners say its absence creates legal ambiguity and developers complain that without it they are essentially forced to provide extra services for householders.

Both, however, seem to agree that their dilemmas and Dubai’s lacklustre property market could be smoothed over by the emirate’s strata law.

Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency, or Rera, which took a lead role in shaping its regulations, has for the past several months been largely silent on the issue. Officials there did not respond to questions on the issue. And in the interim, developers, homeowners and property management firms warn, the result is wavering confidence and continued confusion in the market.

“Everyone’s frustrated,” said Adrian Quinn, chairman of Essential Community Management, a property management firm that has been waiting years and invested a total Dh8 million ($US2.2m) for the day when the law would allow it to bid for rights to manage freehold properties in Dubai.
read the full report The National

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Dubai residents say their water and electricity bills as much as doubled in September

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 8, 2009


A group has even formed on the social networking site Facebook called “My Dewa bill increased in September 09 by a crazy amount for no reason!”

One member claimed the bill for his three-bedroom flat in Al Barsha was Dh8,000. As of yesterday, the group had 144 members. Other Dubai-based websites have jumped on the bandwagon and are running similar discussions about what is causing the bills to shoot up.

read the full report original source The National

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Mr. FIX IT in Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 7, 2009



It`s said… this is a true story …..about a so called “Mr. Fix It” brought to you over a search…
original published by Prakash Subbanao.
Click on the Link and enjoy reading !

Posted in Corruption, Crime, Dubai | Tagged: | Comments Off on Mr. FIX IT in Dubai

Dubai Nakheel Palm Jebel Ali Home Buyers stay united

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 6, 2009


People who bought waterfront villas on Palm Jebel Ali, where prices have tumbled by about 45 per cent from their peak in the third quarter of last year, are now being asked to transfer their investments to projects that include Al Furjan and Jumeirah Heights, which are both under construction.

But the move has been criticised by investors, who expected to move into their new homes last year.

“Nakheel has called investors and given them this option,” said Saqib Iqbal, who bought a villa in the development in 2006.

“But most investors would like them to complete Palm Jebel Ali. People have paid premiums on top of what they paid originally, it’s a disaster to be asked to move somewhere else.”

Palm Jebel Ali was the second artificial island project to be launched by Nakheel and was designed to accommodate up to 250,000 people and add 70km of beachfront to the emirate.
“Further work on Palm Jebel Ali has been delayed until market conditions allow recommencement of these phases of the development, and customers are being given a range of options within the wider Nakheel portfolio to transfer their investment,” said Nakheel.

In an letter sent to Marwan bin Ghalita, the chief executive of the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), investors said: “This is not what was sold to us. The apartments being offered are much smaller, with no beachfront or private pool, and are at a much higher price.”

The investors, most of whom have paid 30 per cent towards their purchase, have called on Nakheel to instead resume construction of Palm Jebel Ali, register their plots with the Dubai Land Department and officially agree to link further payments with construction milestones.

original source The National read the full article…….

Posted in Dubai, Nakheel, Palm Jebel Ali Dubai, Property Dispute Dubai, Real Estate Dubai | Comments Off on Dubai Nakheel Palm Jebel Ali Home Buyers stay united

Dubai – More than a half million bounced cheques between January and May 2009

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 6, 2009



Bounced cheques are regarded legally as fraud, a criminal offence punishable by jail in Dubai and the UAE.

With more than a half-million cheques bounced between January and May of this year alone, the cases have been putting an increasing strain on the legal system.

But now the hard walls of debtors’ prison are beginning to crack.

No longer will home buyers in Dubai who cancel postdated cheques because of a developer’s missed deadlines or broken promises automatically face jail.

Instead of being investigated by police or prosecuted, delinquent tenants and homeowners will be referred to a new judicial committee that will make a binding judgment on whether they should be held to payment. It will also deal with developers who run into financial difficulties and cannot pay their investors.
read the full aricle in The National original source

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Dubai Prosecutors will hunt former senior executive of Istithmar World

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 6, 2009


Dubai, 05 November 2009
An Interpol Red Notice could be issued for the arrest and possible extradition of Chris Turner, who was sentenced in absentia to five years in jail for embezzling AED4.9 million ($1.3m), UAE daily The National reported on Thursday.

The former risk assessment manager for the investment arm of Dubai World was also ordered by Dubai Criminal Court to pay $2.7m in fines and restitution.

Turner, speaking to newswire Zawya Dow Jones from a location outside the UAE, said: “I’m innocent of the charges and I’m not in the country. I’m reviewing my legal options.”

“This is a matter for the appropriate authorities,” said a spokesman at Istithmar World in an emailed statement to the newswire.

But prosecutors in the UAE said they would hunt for him.

source Arabian Business here read the full article

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Fraud in Dubai and the Gulf Region – Just the tip of the iceberg

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 4, 2009


source The National

It is more than a year since Dubai launched a highly publicised clampdown on corruption, which led to the arrest of several executives from some of the emirate’s top property developers and financial institutions.

But while Dubai grabbed the international headlines, it represented just the tip of the iceberg in a region that has been identified as a hot spot of corruption.

Kroll, an international risk consultancy, said last week the Middle East was the world’s only region to see a rise in fraud in the past year. It singled out corruption and bribery as the single largest threats.
“For seven out of 10 cases of fraud, it had the highest incidence of any region, including bribery and corruption,” Kroll said. Average financial losses from corruption doubled to US$11.5 million (Dh42.2m) this year from $5.6m last year, it said.

read more of this article….

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Shareholders’ equity of the top 150 Arab banks is just 170 billion dollars – Gulf Banks cannot finance huge projects alone

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 3, 2009


source Zawya

Nov 02, 2009 (AFP) – Gulf and Arab banks are unable to finance huge projects in the oil-rich Gulf region and fill a credit gap created by the withdrawal of foreign banks amid the global financial crisis, bankers said on Monday.

“The total shareholders’ equity of the top 150 Arab banks is just 170 billion dollars,” Shaikha al-Bahar, deputy chief executive of National Bank of Kuwait, told the Kuwait Financial Forum.

“These banks are not capable of financing huge projects. We have limitations,” said Bahar, adding that the cost of projects in Gulf states over the next several years is estimated at more than 2.1 trillion dollars.

The global financial crisis has resulted in a major credit squeeze, forcing many countries in the region to cancel or postpone hundreds of projects for a lack of finance that was mainly provided by international banks.

The cost of lending also became expensive, thus raising the cost of projects.

Jean-Christophe Durand, BNP Paribas managing director in the Gulf, said good projects will still be able to attract capital at the right price.

“(But) we still need international banks,” for financing of major projects in the Gulf, he said.

Abdulaziz al-Ghurair, chief executive of Mashreq Bank in the United Arab Emirates, said Gulf banks can fill part of the credit gap with some help.

“Gulf banks can fill the (credit) gap created by foreign banks… provided risk is distributed at all Gulf states and with help from other sources,” he said.

Speakers said cash-abundant Gulf governments are required to play a key role in financing mega projects, while others said local investment companies should also contribute.

Banks in the Gulf have been strongly affected by the credit crunch and many were exposed to bad debt, resulting mainly from a slide in the value of assets and problems at investment firms and family companies.

All central banks in the region have asked banks to allocate provisions against bad loans, a process that impacted profits of Gulf lenders.

Former Kuwaiti finance minister Mahmud al-Nuri said he believes Gulf banks will not be able to face the post-crisis conditions without key mergers.

“I believe that over the next five years, there should be three to four regional bank mergers. This is very necessary,” he said.

Ghurair said there has been no strategic plan for bank mergers in Arab countries and the few mergers that took place were among distressed banks. “I hope there will be some strategic mergers in the next decade.”

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Dubai Good News – Dubai property dispute victims to get free legal advice – Let`s Hope that this is not again only a promise

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 3, 2009


source Arabian Business

Dubai Land Department on Monday announced a new initiative to introduce a free legal service to support home owners involved in real estate-related court cases.

The announcement follows a meeting between senior Land Department officials and representatives of law firms to finalise details of the move.

The Land Department said an agreement had been signed which would see the law firms become part of a new Legal Care Group.

The group will bring together senior lawyers, professional firms and consultants to offer free legal assistance to members of the public with “genuine real estate issues” who might otherwise be dissuaded from taking action because of the prohibitive cost of fees, the Land Department said in a statement.

Mohammed Sultan Thani, assistant director general of the Dubai Land Department, said: “The objective of this initiative is not merely to meet a need but to ensure fairness and justice is available to anyone who might have a concern which involves property, no matter their circumstances.

“This reflects the government’s commitment to ensuring there is in place a comprehensive equitable system of legalizing ownership and property transactions.”

He added: “Now, no one is prevented from pursuing their rights merely because of the possibility they might be priced out of the legal system.”

Richard Green, head of research at CB Richard Ellis Middle East, said: “The offer of free legal advice is another step in the right direction. Overall confidence in the legal dispute system has been somewhat low due to a time lag in addressing the current case backlog.

“This announcement will go some way to renewing faith in the system as well as providing confidence to individual investors facing financial difficulties in their disputes against developers.

“Overall this is seen as another positive advancement for the Dubai market.”

In August it was reported that property dispute cases that were originally submitted to the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) and Dubai Courts are now being dealt with by Dubai’s new Property Court.

The new court, which started operations in October, was set up under the First Instance Court to deal exclusively with property-related cases.

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German Sebastian Vettel wins Abu Dhabi Formular1 Grand Prix – Congratulations to our German Hero

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 1, 2009



Congratulations 
  
Sebastian

we are proud of you


more Stories about the Formular 1 GrandPrix Abu Dhabi 2009 read The National

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