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

Posted by 7starsdubai on December 5, 2009


original published Wall Street Journal

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123457503562586691.html

jbc-towersDUBAI — Amid the movers and shakers of this glittering city, Shahram Abdullah Zadeh cut a wide swathe. He cruised around town in a white Bentley and dined with royalty as his company ( Al Fajer Properties)  developed one of the emirate’s premier office complexes, the Jumeirah Business Centre Towers located at the Jumeirah Lake Towers district in Dubai.

But in February 2008, a phone call from Dubai’s state security effectively ended it all.

Hauled in and locked up for 60 days, Mr. Zadeh says he was interrogated about his role in Dubai’s freewheeling real-estate sector and his business relationship with the brother-in-law of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. When released, Mr. Zadeh says he had been frozen out of the real-estate company he had helped start.

Mr. Zadeh’s experience, compiled though court and company documents, offers a rare window into the murky business world that helped transform this city from an empty coastline into a metropolis. It also may offer a cautionary tale for investors lured to the city, which bills itself as the modern face of a new Middle East. Dubai is one of seven semi-autonomous emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates.

The U.S. government and human-rights groups have long criticized the judicial system in the U.A.E for a lack of independence and oversight. In the good times, investors didn’t fret much about these shortcomings. Now, some of the same deals that helped build Dubai are coming undone — in particular, a tradition of off-the-book business partnerships between Emirati citizens and elite expatriates like Mr. Zadeh, who was born in Iran.

Shahram Abdullah  Zadeh claims his detention came after a business dispute with his partner at Al Fajer Properties, Sheikh Hasher bin Juma’a Al Maktoum and his son, Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Maktoum al Maktoum. Both men are members of the extended family of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Mr. Zadeh alleges the two men took control of the firm while he was in custody, according to a lawsuit he filed with Dubai’s public prosecution office last year.

Mr. Zadeh has not been charged with a crime.

But for the past year, authorities have held onto his passport, making it impossible for him to travel or find work.

“I used to believe in the miracle of Dubai. But now I see it all as a mirage,” said Mr. Zadeh, 37. Sheikh Hasher denies any wrongdoing. He says he was not responsible for Mr. Zadeh’s jailing and that he removed him from the company because Dubai authorities said he had offered bribes, an allegation Mr. Zadeh denies.

Some of Mr. Zadeh’s claims are impossible to verify independently. His only copy of the real-estate partnership agreement is missing, and official company documents show the Sheikh Hasher as sole owner. Dubai’s security services, the public prosecutors’ office and the Dubai ruler’s court all either declined to comment or didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.

Last fall, the Emirates’ Human Rights Association, a government body, wrote to authorities asking for an explanation about why Mr. Zadeh’s passport was being held. The group did not receive any response, according to his lawyers.

Shahram Abdullah Zadeh grew up in Dubai, attending school with the children of some of the city’s top families. He managed his family’s hotel and retail holdings and decided to go into business himself in 2000. Real-estate development was off limits to foreigners, even longtime residents like himself. So, he turned to a common practice — a silent partnership with a U.A.E. citizen.

Typically, such partnerships involve an Emirati acquiring a business license and then granting his foreign partner management control. The foreigner either pays an annual fee to the Emirati or the two share profits. The terms are set forth in a parallel set of documents, separate from those submitted to the government. Such contracts are so common that courts here have upheld them in disputes, according to commercial lawyers here.

In 2004, an old friend of Mr.  Shahram Zadeh’s father brokered an introduction with Sheikh Hasher Maktoum bin Juma al Maktoum. The Sheikh owns Al Fajer Enterprises, a conglomerate that includes a construction and contracting arm.

In affidavits filed with Dubai’s prosecution office, Mr. Zadeh contends that he and Sheikh Hasher Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum verbally agreed to a partnership, signing a contract on Feb. 1, 2006.

The partnership, Mr. Zadeh says, established the two men as co-owners of Al Fajer Properties. The men would split profits equally and would invest equal amounts of capital. The contract named Mr. Zadeh as chief executive.

shahram-zadehShahram Abdullah Zadeh  provided $335,000 in start-up capital, and he invested another approximately $30 million in the company, according to bank documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Zadeh’s affidavits contend Sheikh HasherMaktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum didn’t contribute any capital. Sheikh Hasher denies the equity partnership ever existed.

Business took off quickly.

One of Al Fajer’s biggest projects was a planned $750-million development of five office towers,the Jumeirah Business Centre Towers,  set just inland from Dubai’s man-made, palm-tree-shaped island. Shahram Zadeh bought three of the five plots for the 40-story towers with his own money, according to financial documents. With investors lined up for units, he then awarded $215 million worth of contracts to the construction arm of Sheikh Hasher’s Al Fajer Enterprises, according to company documents.

But by late 2007, the contractors were behind schedule, according to company documents and former employees. Al Fajer Properties was facing fines for the delays, and buyers were starting to complain.

Sheikh Maktoum Hasher bin Juma al Maktoum wanted payments to continue to his companies, but Mr. Zadeh claims he said no.

The sheikh complained in a series of text messages that unless  Shahram Abdullah Zadeh released more cash, the Sheikhs contracting companies would go bankrupt.

On Feb. 21, 2008,  Shahram Abdullah Zadeh claims, he received an unusual phone call from Dubai State Security, asking him to come in that evening for a talk. When he arrived, , he claims that police blindfolded him, put him into a sport-utility vehicle and drove him to a detention center.

In the eight weeks he was jailed, Shahram Abdullah  Zadeh says he was never accused of a specific crime or shown an arrest warrant. Instead, he says, he was repeatedly interrogated about his personal life and Al Fajer’s operations, and gave his interrogators the combination to the company’s safe after they asked for it. “They told me that if I did not cooperate that they would ruin me,”  Shahram Abdullah  Zadeh said.

Mr. Zadeh contends the only copy of his partnership agreement with Sheikh Hasher Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum was in the safe. Former employees of Al Fajer say the company safe was emptied while Mr. Zadeh was jailed.

On March 6, Sheikh Hasher’s son, Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum, was named the new chief executive of Al Fajer Properties. Sheikh Hasher hired international accountants to audit Al Fajer Properties  books, according to former employees. He then presented the findings to employees and select clients, accusing Shahram Abdullah  Zadeh of embezzling funds. Phone calls and emails sent to lawyers and accountants of Al Fajer Properties were not returned.

Sheikh Hasher says Mr. Zadeh stole money from him, but the Sheikh did not provide evidence, or the audit, to back his claim. Mr. Zadeh denies it.

Prosecutors refused to investigate the case, citing an order from Dubai’s attorney general, an official appointed by the ruler.

In November 2008 , Shahram Abdullah  Zadeh tried one last option. He approached the ruler’s diwan, or court administration, and asked for mediation from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum himself.

So far, there has been no reply.

read more about ….

read also from The Independent Dubai Property Scandal claim emerges amid media blackout – Al Fajer Properties

read also  Criminal  complaint filed in Germany against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Al Maktoum Al Fajer Properties

4 Responses to “Shahram Abdullah Zadeh vs Al Fajer Properties – A Dubai Deal called into Questions”

  1. Cyrus said

    Dr. Shahram is a great guy! He is a hero, a Persian Robin Hood in fact. I knew him when he was a medical student in Brno and he was very generous, kind and hospitable. I do not have enough words of praise for him.
    He is a man of courage and he is always seeking justice. He is a defender and I had a feeling that he was going to get into trouble with doing business with the ……Makhtoums who are all originally pirates. I feel so bad for him, he is definitely in my prayers! Take care brother Shahram, you are an Iranian Lion! These Sheikh’s are …..! They have no honor! Your pal Cyrus from Pittsburgh.

  2. Al Fajer Employee said

    I started with Al Fajer Properties from day 1 under Dr. Shahram and saw how he invested his money, dedicated his time 24/7 and created a brand out of Al Fajer. Sheikh Hasher Maktoum is an old fashioned 65 year old who loves gossip and whispers.

    All the Al Fajer staff witnessed how Dr. Shahram fought with Al Ahmadiah (sheikh hasher’s contracting company that was building the towers for al fajer), because Al Ahmadiah was not doing anything on site. That was damaging Al fajer Properties name and Dr. Shahram felt responsible towards the investors and thats what triggered sheikh hasher maktoum’s aggressive behaviour towards Dr shahram.

    The son, Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Al maktoum, was a nobody. Even Sheikh Hasher always told us not to let him in the office! I remember sheikh maktoum hasher used to call Dr. Shahram’s secretary or the receptionist and request to book the meeting room to bring his friends and show off!!!

    When Dr Shahram disappeared, we were told by sheikh maktoum hasher that the state security has taken him and he is never coming back!!! That was the begining of a series of illegal activity by sheikh maktoum hasher in the company, including changing documents, illegal sales of properties, threatening many staff members with state security arrests,…etc

    Everyone in Al Fajer knows that Dr. Shahram was & is the owner of Al Fajer Properties. Sheikh maktoum hasher always uses his “uncles” name Sheikh Mohammed Bin rashid, the dubai ruler to threaten people.

    The rest of the world is not stupid, somebody is locked up for 60 days, tortured, passport confiscated for a year, no charges against him, his business has been stolen by the brother in law of dubai ruler, the case he filed at the public prosecution is closed without an explanation.

    Is this the fair, just society that sheikh mohammed bin rashid has envisioned in his Dubai Strategy? So the government is actively helping criminals? Why nobody dares to talk?

  3. Natasha said

    One more thing, Dr. Shahram, if you ever read this message please do get in touch with me. My name is Michele from Washington DC if you remember. God Bless You

  4. Natasha said

    I had the honor of meeting Dr. Zadeh at Al fajer but have never had any business with him or Al Fajer. I can only say he is truely a great phlanthropist. I never forget the incident when I spoke to him about a foundation in africa that supports abused children. Three months later I found out that he had made a contribution on his own and had made a written commitment from the trustee not to disclose his name.

    I am sure a publication like The Wall Street Journal being the world’s most credible newspaper examines everything especially if they are taking on the Dubai Royal Family.

    It is a sad tragedy that someone who has promoted dubai in various countries around the world as “the most secure investment hub” is to be falsely imprisoned, tortured, taken his business worth billions, obstructing justice by closing a clear law suit. One needs to ask why is Dubai government & sheikh hasher maktoum & his son sheikh maktoum hasher quiet?

    Logic says because they are GUILTY!! & Have nothing to say.

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