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

European couple is crying foul over a substandard unit sold to them by Damac in Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on November 11, 2011


Gulf News Dubai reported that Wahida and her husband, Mustafa Alibhai, both Swedish citizens, said they bought at shop at Lakeview Tower at Jumeirah Lake Towers Area from Damac  for Dh1.2 million, only to realise it fell short of their expections. Literally. The height of the mezzanine floor shop is just 2.1 metres, considered “unfit” for human occupancy .

The couple, who were textile merchants in Stockholm before they moved to Dubai, planned on putting up an apparel or a coffee shop in the 622-square-foot unit. They completed the payment on time in July 2009.

Quote in Gulf News Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President, Damac Properties, said,

‘’You will understand that I cannot go into details on individual customers’ cases albeit to say that the unit in question is fit for purpose and compliant with all prerequisites and requirements as per the sales and purchase agreement. However, as a gesture of goodwill, our customer relationship team have been working very hard with this customer to offer an alternative solution. This has included other units within the same project and also a variety of other units in other projects.”

However, when the couple did not like any of the properties offered, they said they were told by Damac to “take it or leave it”

continue reading…….. source Gulf News

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Posted in Damac | Tagged: , | Comments Off on European couple is crying foul over a substandard unit sold to them by Damac in Dubai

Maktoum Hasher Al Maktoum Al Fajer Properties Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 10, 2011


Video Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum Al Fajer Properties Dubai UAE

read also ….. Criminal complaint filed in Germany against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum CEO of Al Fajer Properties Dubai

Posted in Al Fajer Properties, Criminal Complaint, Dubai, Fraud, Jumeirah Business Centre, Maktoum Hasher Maktoum | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Fraudsters must be punished – Al Boom a Dubai property Tycon

Posted by 7starsdubai on June 12, 2010


original source 7Days ae
A Dubai property tycoon accused of stealing close to one billion dirhams from his investors spent the money on an extravagant lifestyle of fast cars, yachts and parties.

Abid Al Boom, the owner of Abid Al Boom Management and Development Properties, was a struggling businessman in 2004, driving around in a car worth just dhs30,000.But three years later, prosecutors allege, he was living a jet-set lifestyle with 53 high-end cars, a yacht and two boats on which he would throw parties for his friends and hold business meetings.He also splashed out on personalised number plates and gave generous donations to football clubs to boost his profile.The details of his spending spree emerged at Dubai Misdemeanors Court, where he is on trial for the ‘betrayal of trust’ of 3,700 investors. It is alleged he took nearly dhs900 million from them.
In his closing speech yesterday, Prosecutor Youni Hussain said Al Boom and his co-conspirators were “wolves in human form” who betrayed the trust of their investors.
Al Boom is accused of taking money from clients, telling them he would invest it in property. He offered them a guaranteed return, and even paid dividends initially.
But, in reality, prosecutors claim, he was blowing the money on a life of luxury.
“He spent the money for his own gain and to improve his social standing. He left victims helpless,” Hussain told the court. “In 2004, he owned one car by just before the scandal broke in 2007 he owned 53 fancy cars… From where did he get this money in just a  couple of years? Fraudster ‘must be punished’

“He bought those cars using the savings and cash of his victims. Some of them are now in jail because they had taken out a loan and gave the money to Al Boom. When they failed to repay the loan, they were sent to jail.Al Boom has hurt many families.”

Hussain told how the Emirati businessman spent tens of millions of dirhams on “polishing up his image and on parties”. “He was even donating money to football clubs and to the fans to make himself more popular,” Hussain added.

“Some prosecutors even trusted him and gave their money to him to invest it… Justice must be done and Al Boom must be punished for his acts.”
Al Boom has been charged with betrayal of trust and bouncing cheques.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, has previously issued a decree setting up a judicial committee to liquidate the assets of Al Boom. The committee is responsible for collecting the money and paying back the creditors.The case has been adjourned until June 27, when the defence will make its closing speech.

If convicted, Al Boom could be sentenced to up to two years in prison. However, he could remain in jail until he pays back all his victims.Prosecutors allege dhs900 million of investors’ money bought him…53 TOP-END CARS, A LUXURY YACHT, TWO ‘PARTY’ BOATS, PERSONALISED NUMBER PLATES.FRIENDS IN FOOTBALL…

Posted in Criminal Complaint, Dubai Legal - Real Estate Lawsuits, Fraud, Immobilien Betrug Dubai, Real Estate Scandal Dubai | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Fraudsters must be punished – Al Boom a Dubai property Tycon

Dubai Crisis : This is why investors are nervous. It’s not the lack of money

Posted by 7starsdubai on December 1, 2009


original source Wall Street Journal

Dubai’s troubles offer a warning of the perils of investing in places where leaders–whether of governments or companies–have limited accountability.

In fact, it raises questions about other investment destinations: China, for example.

One reason why markets continue to be jittery over last week’s news of a standstill on property conglomerate Dubai World’s debt is the lack of transparency surrounding it. That’s a direct function of a closed political system that is not conducive to foreign investment.

The announcement of the restructuring has been handled abysmally. Even with Dubai World divulging long-awaited details Monday, information has been spotty and contradictory.

It’s still not clear which creditors will be hit, and there are still big questions over how much of a guarantee oil-rich sister emirate Abu Dhabi is willing to give to back up Dubai’s debt.

Investors have been left to speculate over political motives.

One theory holds that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is withholding his support–despite the financial risks of not doing so–because he’s angered by his Dubai counterpart’s close ties to Iran.

Alternatively, others say that the naturally more conservative Abu Dhabi is simply reluctant to stoke moral hazard by bailing out Dubai’s risky property investments.

Either way, because they can’t divine what’s going on in either of these two billionaire monarchs’ heads is the essence of investors’ problems. In an information vacuum, many have imagined the worst and have felt compelled to sell their Dubai debt positions, which in turn creates problems for banks with exposures there and, by extension, for global stock and credit markets.

This all stems from the overarching political system in place.

In the absence of democratic institutions, the UAE’s sheikhs are not required to explain themselves.

And as the majority owners of many of the biggest companies, they face no checks and balances from minority shareholders. Meanwhile, contract law is fraught with the uncertainty of a legal system that’s low on judicial independence.

This is why investors are nervous. It’s not the lack of money.

After all, Abu Dhabi, with a sovereign wealth fund worth anywhere from $300 billion to $900 billion, has plenty of that.

The bigger lesson in all this is that investors need to be doubly careful of investing in countries with closed political systems.

With the spectacular failure of U.S. financial markets last year, it has become fashionable to laud the top-down central planning of countries like China, which was able to more quickly put its giant fiscal stimulus to work this year.

But if and when China faces a crisis, investors will have a more difficult time interpreting the actions of government officials and of the managers of its state-run corporations than they would in more openly governed countries.

To be sure, the Chinese Communist Party functions with more consensus than monarchy like Dubai. And for now, China’s capital controls make it nearly impossible for foreigners to make portfolio investments there.

Nonetheless, direct foreign investment in China is soaring, as is broader exposure to its boom via assets in neighboring countries. If nothing else, Dubai’s crisis is a reminder that those investments carry political risks that are absent from more transparent markets.

—Michael Casey writes a regular column on fixed income markets for Dow Jones Newswires. Previously he was Newswires’ Buenos Aires bureau chief and before that, assistant managing editor for the U.S. economy, Treasurys and foreign-exchange group in New York.

Write to Michael Casey at michael.j.casey@dowjones.com

Further Stories

read also: Dubai Debt Follows String of Troubles for Its Ruler  by Margaret Coker WSJ

read also from BBC : What is Dubai and who runs it ?

read also from BBC: Dubai shares see biggest fall this year


Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Dubai Crisis : This is why investors are nervous. It’s not the lack of money

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

Powered by ScribeFire.

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

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.

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Dubai Good News – Dubai property dispute victims to get free legal advice – Let`s Hope that this is not again only a promise

Test Case for RERA Dubai – Investors file case with RERA over Dubai project delays

Posted by 7starsdubai on October 24, 2009


source ArabianBusiness
 A group of around 30 investors has filed an official complaint at the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) over ongoing delays and specification changes at the Vue de Lac and Vista del Lago developments in Dubai.

Investors on the Al Attar project at Jumeirah Lake Towers accused the developer of unreasonable delays and changes being made to apartments without the consent of owners, Construction Week Online reported.

“We have been promised the project since then end of 2007. It was then pushed to 2008, then the end of 2008, and now he’s saying 2011 – which will never happen, because up to date they’ve only finished the piling,” investor Makram Mohamed told the website.

Many asserted that apartment specifications have changed so drastically that they no longer wish to purchase property in the project and want a full refund.

Investors are unhappy at what was described in a letter from Al Attar as “some small changes”, where two-bedroom apartments have been changed to one-bedroom ones.

Al Attar had revised the prices of the apartments in line with the reduction in apartment size, but investors said that they had bought two-bedroom apartments specifically and a smaller alternative was not acceptable.

“Because of the change of designation and all of this delay, we don’t want this property any more. The majority of people investing were buying to live in this property. Ninety per cent of our group wanted to live in this. Now they’ve changed the designation, we don’t need it. I bought a two-bedroom; you can’t give me a one-bed plus study,” said investor Shailendra Sainani.

“The majority of us need our money refunded and the costs absorbed. [Al Attar] needs to resell the project from the beginning.”

In addition to changes in designation, many investors are also concerned that delays to the project will result in a huge interest bill arising from finance agreements that can only be concluded following apartment handover.

Some investors took out finance agreements in 2006 under the impression that the project would be handed over in 2008. They are now facing the prospect of paying five years’ worth of interest on finance agreements, should the project be delivered according to a new completion date of 2011.

Some investors also query Al Attar’s ability to deliver the project on time.

“Can we still believe Al Attar can deliver in 2011, if they couldn’t even start construction in the last three years?” said one investor.

The group has filed a case with Rera because they say that Al Attar Properties is refusing to communicate with them except through a lawyer.

No-one from Al Attar was able to comment on the case or development.

The case has now been filed with Rera, who said a decision on the steps it would take would be forthcoming in the next few days.

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Test Case for RERA Dubai – Investors file case with RERA over Dubai project delays

Damac breaking Dreams

Posted by 7starsdubai on August 17, 2009



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

comment: straks  (Jul 8, 2009)  United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comment: Nas001 (May 20, 2009) United Kingdom

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

Comment: Joe (May 18, 2009)Kildare Ireland

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

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

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

read more also  Palm Springs Damac Investors Group

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Dubai `s glitzy property market is in trouble – no doubt about that

Posted by 7starsdubai on July 29, 2009


Western investors fear Dubai`s Wild East reputation.

Dubai’s property market is in trouble, there’s no doubt about that. Just take a look at the hundreds of motionless cranes, unfinished projects and the expats who are leaving in droves as they lose their jobs.

And prices and rents which soared during a six-year boom have crashed since late last year. According to one resident who recently moved in the City, it now costs 150,000 dirhams to rent a three-bedroom flat on the Palm, a man-made island off the coast of the emirate, around the same it would have cost to rent a one-bedroom appartment there a year ago.

It’s not just the global downturn thats the concern for Dubai’s once-booming property market, but also the lack of transparency and need for greater regulation. And that’s what’s going to keep the western investor from splashing the cash.

Investors looking at Dubai’s real estate sector are a different breed. They are no longer looking to snap up properties in the hope of making a quick buck. They are more conservative with a longer term outlook.

“RERA (the Real Estate Regulatory Authority) has been trying to introduce regulation to minimise the impact of speculative investors,” said Andrew White, head of Middle East operations at UK-based investor Kenmore property Group.

“But some have said this is like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted because the downturn has more or less wiped these out anyway.” So, a little too late perhaps ? And what about the recently announced planned merger of Emaar Properties, builder of the world’s tallest tower, with
three other local property firms?

Well, so far no one really knows. Simply put, there has been little in the way of information about this.

“If you look at Emaar and the potential merger, there is little financial clarity on how this will proceed and that is going to worry investors,” said Bobby Sarkar, analyst at Al Mal Capital. ”The U.S. and European markets have high levels of clarity in terms of regulation, but that isn’t the case here.”
 
There is no doubt however that the government is trying to improve regulation and transparency. Several wins for the property market over the last year include the introduction of a monthly rental index and new laws for property maintenance, not to forget the continuing effort to crack down on corruption.

But there is a long way to go and more is needed for Dubai to come close to rivalling mature markets such as the UK and U.S. which offer the longer-term investor the transparency they crave.

original source Reuters

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Damac Dubai – UK TV news investigation

Posted by 7starsdubai on July 29, 2009


Dubai – 29. July 2009

In a report broadcast Monday night in the UK, Channel 4 News spoke to unhappy British investors with property developer Damac who have yet to see a return on their money in the Dubai market.

While some wanted quick returns, others simply wanted an apartment in the sun – not least David Hunter of Oxfordshire who said he had handed over £60,000, so far, for an apartment at Damac’s Lotus development.

Hunter said a Damac representative told him at the time (February 2007) of purchase that construction on the development had already started.

Three months later Hunter found out otherwise when it emerged that the plot was occupied by a UNICEF building. Hunter not surprisingly said he ‘should have been told’.

Citing documents, Channel 4 claimed Damac had been selling developments off-plan without having title to the land in the first place – a practice outlawed by the Dubai Government last August.

Another document, dated from ‘late last year’ alleged that almost one quarter of the firm’s projects had been put on hold.

Meanwhile, a Harrow NW London resident who bought off-plan in the Flamingo Heights development 18 months ago, told the broadcaster he had paid three instalments totalling £70,000.

”I asked them in writing what the current state (of the development) was before I made my investment. I was assured that the foundations had been laid and construction was well under way at the site.”

With the Flamingo Heights development showing no evidence of construction when Channel 4 recently visited it Ludmila Yamalova of Al Sayyah Legal Consultants – to whom Channel 4 took the investor’s complaint – said he may have a case as a statement claiming foundations that had been laid when in fact they hadn’t, could amount to misrepresentation.

Erik Pekarski, former VP Customer Relations at Damac said the line being put out to customers was that ‘progress is ongoing, development is ongoing and construction is ongoing’.

Customers would continue to scream and yell at you as they should, because they had been put off for months, he added.

Damac has, in some cases, since offered alternative flats either complete, or near completion. However, many investors Channel 4 spoke to said they wanted their money back but, like the Harrow investor, had been informed by Damac that there is a ‘no refund’ policy.

When asked about the ‘no refund’ policy an unnamed former manager at Damac said the company took a tough line. David Hunter meanwhile says he has hired a lawyer.

In a statement to Channel 4 News the company confirmed it didn’t have a refund policy, except within ‘the provisions of the regulatory framework’.

It also denied any allegations of wrongdoing and said investors interviewed by the broadcaster were ‘not a representative group’. The company added that it had no intention or policy to mislead customers.

Addressing the allegation that the company had claimed foundations had been laid at the Flamingo Heights development when in fact they hadn’t Damac said: ”It is possible to have a rogue element who communicated information which was inaccurate and not endorsed.”

It added that the Flamingo Heights project tender is due to go out shortly.

source of this report Arabian Business

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Damac back in the Headlines – Stressed Investors from UK – A TV Report

Posted by 7starsdubai on July 28, 2009


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From Sunday Times – Dubai – Construction halted, westerners jailed for adultery

Posted by 7starsdubai on July 20, 2009


source TimesOnline SundayTimes July, 2009

Andrew Blair says he will pick me up from outside my sleaze-bucket of a hotel, give it 20 minutes or so, got some work to finish off. He has a job again, contracts apparently “coming out of his ears”, which is good, because until recently he had earned a certain notoriety for not having a job and, more to the point, for the manner in which he went about finding a new one. He drove around Dubai, back in January this year, from the plug-ugly creek to the plug-ugly marina, in his white Porsche, with a sign in the back window saying he wanted a job; vroom vroom he went, gizza job. Scratch scratch scratch went the keys and coins along the side of his car whenever it was parked up.

Such conspicuous flaunting of vulgar affluence seems to me entirely appropriate for this foul city — especially when combined with an admission of desperation and hopelessness, that scrawled sign and telephone number in his rear window. Fur coat and no knickers, etc. But, unaccountably, the local expats found it all a little contemptible and the journalists — none of whom possessed Ferraris — sniggered long and loud in print, out of exquisite Schadenfreude. Just look at this idiot on his uppers, was the subtext. But the ploy worked, and Andrew is once again in gainful employment as a construction project manager, and therefore can remain in this country where they deport you if you’re skint, so who’s laughing now? Not Andrew, as it happens. The whole episode, he says, made him think, made him change his ways. Those first two years out here in this dusty and scorched semi-reclaimed desert were enormous fun: huge tax-free income, palatial apartment — “the crème de la crème” — silent or monosyllabic servants, all that sex (a city containing 8,000 air hostesses can’t be bad), the fast cars, the alcohol.

But he’s a changed man, he says; that epic, shallow, soul-destroying materialism and vulgarity now leave him cold. Being out of work for a while left him a little bruised but a better person, understanding that money and consumer durables are not everything. A changed man. Although not that changed, I notice, as the white Porsche pulls up.

“Why did you leave Britain?” I ask him, slung well below sea level in the bucket seat as we cruise the baked streets past the filthy, crumbling apartment blocks where the Bangladeshi slave labourers live or die, 10 or 12 to a room, and then into the hideous bling of downtown Dubai, a vast architectural experiment conducted by, seemingly, Albert Speer and Victoria Beckham. One skyscraper appears to be gilded in gold leaf, another looks like the birthday cake of a spoilt five-year-old brat — and all of them trying desperately to be taller, flashier, more grotesque than the one next door.

“Well, you know,” he says, in a soft Scottish burr, “I think it was the immigration more than anything else.”

“But Andrew, you’re an immigrant now…”

He looks astonished at this, as if the notion had never occurred, then says: “Yes! Ironic, I suppose. But the difference is, I’m a wanted immigrant.”

Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. Up to a point. In truth, needed more than wanted. As one local put it: “We are fed up of westerners who come here thinking they deserve an easy meal ticket. You were nothing in the West, so you came here for the houses and cars you could never get back home, you stole through taking out excessive finance that is not justified by you [sic] salaries. Then when you cannot pay you run, this is theft born out of greed and arrogance.

“Anyway despite all of this you still disrespect our cultural and religious values with your behaviour, dress and conduct in our malls and on our beaches and comments about us our race and our religion. You spend all your time critizising [sic] our laws, society and systems. Yet, you could never have the lifestyle you have here back in your system. You people are no longer welcome, please go and pollute somewhere else.”

That was the message posted by a disgruntled Emirati on an expat website recently, and, as a description of the British, South African, Australian and eastern-European workers now living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it has a certain truth about it. The Emiratis are a minority within their own country, the UAE, and an even smaller minority within Dubai, the most populous city of the UAE, where they number about 20% of the population.

On the other hand, it seems a bit rich coming from an Emirati, the inhabitant of a country that lucked into oil money about 43 years ago and is now utterly dependent on foreign labour for its current, unsustainable prosperity — the ranks of the skilled and talented working class from Europe, who come here and run their absurd, extravagant and now faltering construction projects, and the traders and the dealers.

The British expats I spoke to believed, without exception, that the Emiratis are utterly useless, corrupt and indolent, and, according to several, some British managers are leaving rather than abide by a new law that requires them to employ a certain percentage of Arabs on every job. They’re simply not up to it, they say. As it is, the locals make up less than one-fifth of the total UAE population, the westerners roughly half that amount. The majority population in Dubai is the criminally low-paid, enchained, abused, dispossessed peasantry from south Asia.

The Europeans work long hours, mind — you could not really call it an “easy meal ticket”: 12- and 14-hour days and not much in the way of holidays. But there was, until recently, an unspoken quid pro quo: listen, you soft, decadent westerners, you can have your salary income-tax-free, providing you don’t lose your job, obviously (in which case we’ll deport you and you’ll lose everything you own). You can have your big apartments, providing you don’t default on the payments when times are hard, in which case we’ll put you in prison — there ain’t no bankruptcy get-out clauses here, inshallah. Owing money to people is a crime. You can swan around in your flash cars and hang out at the malls, just as if you were in Maidstone or Cottbus or Pretoria. You can dress like you were at a stag-party pub crawl in Prague, or like an infidel whore on the make, and we’ll grit our teeth and smoke our hubba-bubba pipes and look the other way. You can even have that other stuff you seem to like so much, the relentless, enervating fornicating, the stuff Allah really dislikes; we will turn a blind eye to the legion upon legion of addled post-Soviet whores in your horrible Brit-style pubs, nightclubs and wine bars, the cheap babes from the ’stans. Just keep the money pouring in, please: keep building those gargantuan hotels and facilitating those loans for us.

But this long-standing deal may be in the process of disintegrating. The credit crunch hit Dubai badly, and it is clinging to its despised but less feckless neighbour, Abu Dhabi, for a very large bail-out. Troubled state-backed firms owe British companies more than £400m. The plush apartment complexes down at the marina are half-empty, investment has collapsed and property prices with it — house prices are down by as much as 50% and are predicted to fall by another 20%. It is almost impossible to put a precise figure on the rate of the collapse, because, according to one estate agent, there is no market. Nobody is buying, nobody is renting; there is no new business. An estimated £335 billion of projects have been halted or are on hold. And it is predicted that the population could decline by 17.1% by the end of the year, so things will not be getting better too quickly.

The depression in Dubai makes our own look like a vague afterthought, because nowhere else in the world was unregulated and unfettered capitalism and a belief in perpetually rising property prices embraced with quite so much ardour as here. And it seems, as a consequence, that since the crash the locals are in recriminatory mood: if you’re going to bring us a depression, they seem to be saying, then you can clear off and, in the meantime, behave like dignified human beings rather than dragging us down into your gutter. The sex thing has been bothering them particularly.

Mohammed is an Emirati who owns a big dive shop a hundred miles across the burning sand to the east of Dubai, at Khawr Fakkan, in the slightly more conservative province of Sharjah. Khawr Fakkan, circled by stark and beautiful mountains, is on the Gulf of Oman and there is good diving to be had, plenty of tourists. Mohammed is a divorcee and he employed young western babes and chicks to run his business, because working in a dive centre is a sort of halfway house between backpacking and the real world for a certain sort of young postgrad western chick. Roxanne Hillier worked for him: young, blonde, pretty and half South African, with an English dad called Freddie. Roxanne’s in the rather bleak Khawr Fakkan prison right now, and will be for the next few months, following an unsuccessful appeal against her sentence in late June. Would you like to hear what she did to get herself there?

It was about 2am when the old bill arrived. Mohammed had been filling up the 80 or so oxygen tanks he needed for the next morning’s dive; Roxanne had returned from the last dive of the day, helped out for a bit, then, exhausted, took a nap in an anteroom. Outside, Mohammed heard a disturbance, so he went down to check it out.

“It was local people, gathered around the door to the dive centre,” he told me. “They were angry, saying, ‘Who have you got in there? You’ve got a woman in there, haven’t you?’ I told them, ‘No, no, the dive centre is closed.’ They said to me, ‘Where is the key?’ Later the police arrived. I told them there was nobody there, but they took my key and opened the door and searched the place and that’s when they found Roxanne.” The two of them were carted off to Khawr Fakkan prison (separate cells, natch) and held on remand for a week until the case came to court. Did you have sex with Roxanne, I ask Mohammed. “No, no, no, never!” Did you kiss her? “No, of course not. It is not true. It is all a misunderstanding.”

Well, as regards the first denial, we don’t have to take Mohammed’s word for it, because the Sharjah judicial authorities were kind enough to check the whole business out for themselves. They stripped Roxanne Hillier bare and invaded her with swabs and scrapes; a little bit of Mohammed’s DNA found inside her would have hugely increased the eventual sentence. As it was, she received a sentence of three months for the crime of being alone in the same building as a man who was not her husband. She didn’t know this was the sentence, because the court proceedings were conducted in Arabic and therefore she could not put her case across, either. It was later they told her what had been decided. Mohammed got a couple of weeks on the same charge.

I take a cab to the beach, Jumeirah beach, and spend 3 minutes watching sarcomas grow on the semi-naked expats strung out across the sand under flimsy shades, E-number-flavoured Slush Puppies to hand, their eyes closed against the vicious glare, their bodies porky and immobile. It is 46C out here, unendurable — this is the country where you should never go outside. Thirty miles or so across the water is Iran, where they are probably not stripping off for the beach. Behind the beach is a dusty freeway and a hospital for people with bad kidneys. It was this beach upon which the British woman Michelle Palmer performed an ill-advised act of fellatio upon a chap she had just met — Vince Acors, from Bromley — and ended up doing three months in the local nick as a consequence. I just hope it was a shade cooler when Michelle went to work.

Vince did a lot of interviews bragging about the women he’d had sex with in Dubai when he got out. Reading the interviews, you feel Vince may have been the last person in the world you should ever give a blow job to on a beach. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Bromley say, or Downham.

Then there are the adultery cases that are stacking up. Such as Marnie Pearce, 40, sentenced to six months initially (three months plus a £600 fine and deportation after appeal) for an unproven adulterous relationship with a man she insists was just a friend: she was already separated from her husband. And the case of Sally Antia, whom the police swooped on as she emerged with a male friend from a Dubai hotel in the early hours of the morning — two months in prison reduced to six weeks on appeal. You get the feeling that the Emiratis are feeling vindictive right now.

Nor is it just sex: the Dubai authorities are getting a bit twitchy about all sorts of western behaviour when it impinges directly upon them. An Australian immigrant, Darren O’Mullane, had just finished a 14-hour shift as a nurse at a Dubai hospital and was driving home when he was badly cut up by another driver who swerved in front of him. When he finally overtook this clown, he — again, ill-advisedly, as it turned out — stuck one finger up in fury. Just one finger. Three weeks in prison, lost everything — house, car, the lot. He told me the whole process had been devastating, not least having to apologise to the idiot driver who was, as bad luck would have it, a UAE police official. “I am fed up with foreigners not respecting the rules and our culture,” the puffed-up medieval official told the local Arab media later. You can tell a lot about a country from a quick look at its policemen going about their business. In Dubai they appear strutting, arrogant and faintly ludicrous, the sort of policemen you might have seen in a pre-war Third World fascist theocracy. That is not too far removed from a description of Dubai today.

The Rattlesnake bar at the Metropolitan Hotel Dubai at 10pm, just before the Filipino dance band comes on, is the place to be; this is where the Islamic blind eye is at its most consciously, calculatedly, unseeing. The whores outnumber the punters by about two to one, and that’s only the lucky whores actually inside the place. There’s a phalanx of about 30 of them crowded just inside the door, just standing and watching, possessed of insufficient money to buy drinks. Another 40 or so are working the rooms, their buoyant pre-recession breasts rubbing up against some happy but bewildered surveyor from Daventry, or project manager from Glasgow, or engineer from Düsseldorf. Outside, 40 or 50 more sit at tables, or stroll arm in arm along the pathways, begging western men to take them inside. These girls are almost exclusively Russian — but not from Moscow or St Petersburg, or even Kiev. They are Russians from the de-Russified ’stans, drawn here by the lack of work for people of their ethnic origin in Almaty, Dushanbe, Tashkent, Samarkand. They are a remarkable phenomenon. I will bet that right now, in a village halfway up the Andes, or in a yurt just south of Ulan Bator, Mongolia, or somewhere down a long broad river in Sarawak, Borneo, Svetlana and Olga and Zinaida are sidling up to the local menfolk, offering them a bit of vigorous glasnost and perestroika for £30 an hour.

Iliana, a pretty chemical blonde in her twenties from Uzbekistan, is telling me who she would deign to sleep with for money. “English, good. Scottish, better. Irish, good. German, okay. But no f***ing blacks and no f***ing Arabs.” No locals? “Arabs?” she asks, outraged. “No Arabs.”

“What if they paid you 20,000 dirhams [nearly £3,500]?”

“Oh, well, then, yes, sure,” she says, laughing.

None of the Russian girls will sleep with black people or Arabs, not even Luba from Turkmenistan, who is a little older and a little brighter and a little more circumspect. There were lots of West African girls in this bar not so long ago, but the Russkies forced them out. The refusal to have anything to do with the Emiratis is not confined to the sex workers: every taxi driver I spoke to — almost all of them Pakistani — said they would refuse to pick up an Arab. Why? “Because they are arrogant scum,” one driver told me. Nobody wants anything to do with the Emiratis.

Luba worked in a travel agency in Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, but the money was appalling and she needed to put her son through university, so she came here. As we talk I notice her still working, trying, over my shoulder, to catch the eye of someone who might actually pay her for her time. She hates her work — most of the girls hate their work — but not Iliana. “I like f***ing men,” she says cheerfully, and disappears, presumably to meet a client. Luba looks like she will not be so lucky tonight, which is a shame, because I like her, although she’s quite fervently racist, as they all are. As everyone here in Dubai is, here in this lovely little melting pot, all these races gathered together, loathing one another.

At midnight I make to leave but am stopped by Keri, who is a very attractive young lady from Almaty in Kazakhstan. She hangs onto my jacket because she has found something very attractive to admire in me, too. This is gratifying, if you’re me. “So lovely, so lovely,” she says, holding the thing in her hands, turning it over and over, “I haven’t seen one like it.”

I blush a little and clear my throat.

“Um, it’s a Bic,” I tell her.

“Bic? What is this Bic?” she says shaking her pretty head, still stroking it.

“A lighter. Its name is, you know, Bic. I think they’re, er, French.”

“Aah,” she says, kohl-heavy eyes flashing. “So you have been to France, yes?”

“No — I mean, yes, um, I’ve been to France. But you can get these lighters in England too!”

“Really?” She says, entranced.

“Er, yes. In Sainsbury’s. Or a corner shop. For about 70 pence.”

I give her the lighter and skedaddle, back to my hotel room. She is less pleased with the lighter now that she possesses it.

My interview at the Islamic Information Center is a brief, uncomfortable experience, albeit conducted with exquisite politeness and civility (on their part, at least). This is a propaganda arm of the government, or more properly a state-run evangelistic Islamic operation aimed at westerners, situated in a lock-up shop in a frowzy sector of downtown Dubai. What happens is this:

I sip water (they were out of beer) and ask a question like — hey, have you seen all those whores down at the Rattlesnake? Isn’t that against the law? And then the five berobed interviewees talk among themselves at great length in Arabic and eventually one of them explains to me very courteously, with a shy smile and an apology, why they won’t answer the question. Not their responsibility, you see. This happens seven or eight times, and eventually the interview is terminated. After many handshakes I am sent on my way with a copy of a little book about how Jesus Christ was quite a nice man but totally useless, if we’re being honest. One of the men, Wael Osman, sort of agrees that the economic downturn has made relations between Emiratis and their western Gastarbeiter a little more tingly, a little more fraught, and concurred that while the government turned a blind eye to all sorts of westerner shenanigans, this was becoming harder to do of late. But when I say “agrees” and “concurred”, I mean that I said this stuff and he smiled a little and in a very vague sort of way nodded his head. The man I should be speaking to was the chief of police, they said, but sadly he was away receiving a medal in Djibouti.

I didn’t really have a chance to get on to the main topic, the stuff about Dubai that really, truly offends — and indeed should offend Islamic sensibilities. I don’t mean Luba and Iliana, although the traffic in Russian prostitutes is brutal and violent. I don’t mean the westerners in their Porsches, or the authoritarian nature of this place and complete and utter lack of democracy, or the vile architecture and unbounded materialism, or the prosecution of women for the crime of standing near men. I don’t even mean the mass rounding-up and prosecution of homosexuals, who are summarily imprisoned and — the government has suggested — may face hormone treatment in order to make them, uh, “better”; this is a Sodom where sodomy carries a 10-year stretch. All of that stuff makes Dubai a fairly foul place to be, but compared to Dubai’s real crimes, they are as nothing.

Maz, a Pakistani from Lahore, drives a taxi for a living (he won’t pick up Emiratis, of course). He lives in a room in the grim suburb of Al Quoz, a room costing £700 a month that he shares with six other Pakistanis. His passport has been taken from him in case he nicks the car he is driving. He cannot get home, he hasn’t the money or, indeed, the passport. Maz, though, is one of the lucky ones, very near the top of the hierarchy of Third World workers induced to come to this country by the promise of large wages — wages that are rarely forthcoming. Maz at least gets paid, even if all the money goes on rent.

The bar staff are also near the top of this hierarchy. Mostly Roman Catholic Goans, they get looked after by the hotels and even get a chance to visit their families once a year or so. I spoke to one barman to glean a bit more detail about his living conditions, but an Emirati overseer barked something out and the man ceased talking to me. But at least the hotels provide their staff with accommodation, even if it is in dormitories.

t is the construction workers, the labourers — the Bangladeshis, the Tamils, the Filipinos, the Somalians, the Chinese — who are the real scandal of Dubai. Hundreds of thousands of them lured again by the promise of large wages, stripped of their passports, their contracts rarely honoured — some have gone months without being paid, some have even paid just to be there. They cannot go home. They hunker down in cramped, squalid apartments in Sonapur and Al Quoz. This is Dubai as a slave state. There were serious riots recently in the Chinese quarter: the workers finally had enough of criminally low wages — 500 dirhams, or about £83 a month — and continual mistreatment. The Chinese embassy got involved. Worse still are the conditions of the south-Asian workers, the construction men and the maids, effectively imprisoned in this country, abused by their employers, scrabbling around in sometimes 50C heat to earn enough to pay the rent on their shared accommodation. The Indians rioted too last year, but were forced back to work by water cannon. In the year 2005 alone, the Indian consulate estimated that 971 of its nationals died in Dubai, from construction site accidents, heat exhaustion and — increasingly — suicide. The figure for suicides the next year alone was more than 100. The Emiratis were, to give them credit, appalled by this figure, so they asked the consulate to stop collating the statistics. In October 2007 a construction-work strike resulted in 4,000 migrant workers being flung in jail and then deported. In 2006 the campaigning charity Human Rights Watch detailed the “serious” abuses of workers’ rights — the wages withheld, the high rates of injury and death with “little assurance” of medical care, the passports confiscated, the wages either criminally low or never paid. The UAE had done “little or nothing” to address the problem. You get the picture?

Local human-rights activists, when they raise their concerns, tend to receive a visit from the secret police; some have had their rights to practise as lawyers stripped from them.

Andrew Blair, he of the Porsche, is a project manager for construction work. He believes the condition of the labourers is appalling, unforgivable, almost beyond belief. I suggest to him that in his position, he could ensure that the contracts went out to firms that treated their workers fairly. He thinks about this for a moment. “Um, well I don’t care about it that much,” he says.

He is not a bad person, Andrew, and my suggestion is probably a little naive. He is, at least, conflicted. He acknowledges the issue and can comprehend that it is an evil. But that’s what you sign up to when you buy property in Dubai, or go there to work, or to stay in one of its bling hotels. You sign up to all that stuff you condone it.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed my taxi ride back to the airport with Tariq, the taxi driver from Peshawar (he won’t pick up Emiratis); to see that towering skyscape left behind in a cloud of desert dust. Paris Hilton had just flown in to do something pointless in a mall. When that happens, you just have to get the hell out.

where the money comes from

GDP in 2007: £23 billion

Trading: 31%

Construction/ Real estate: 22.6%

Financial Services: 11%

Oil/Petrol/Gas: 5.8%

Dubai’s foreign debt is well over 100% of its GDP

Annual incomes

Project manager, Construction: £57,576

Project manager, IT: £38,438

IT manager: £33,891

Construction worker: ± £993

Politics and human rights

1 No suffrage

2 Political parties illegal

3 Freedom of association and expression curtailed

The UAE refuses to sign the following treaties:

4 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

5 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

6 Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

7 Convention against Torture

Crime and punishment

8 Death penalty by firing squad for several offences

9 Death penalty by stoning for adultery

The people

Population (Inc Migrants)

Male 75.5%

Female 24.5%

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Al Fajer Properties Case – Zadeh says he’s a victim of a system in which the rulers can manipulate police and the courts to protect their business

Posted by 7starsdubai on July 19, 2009


Al Fajer Properties Dubai 2009 , Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al 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

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Dubai Police Nab Real Estate Agent on the Run

Posted by 7starsdubai on July 8, 2009


source KhaleejTimes

DUBAI — A real estate agent, on the run for
nearly a month, was caught by Dubai Police for allegedly issuing dud cheques worth Dh203 million to high
end clients.

Ahmed Thani bin Ghalita, Director of the anti-crime department of Dubai Police said, about 39 people, including top soccer players, had lodged complaints against the man, a British citizen of Pakistani origin.

Ghalita s
id the complainants alleged that the man had sold them property, for which they gave deposits, and when the deals fell through, the deposits were not repaid as guaranteed. “The police received information that the suspect, who is a holder of a British pa
sport, was trying to escape from the UAE. The police launched a search for the suspect who worked as a real estate broker and who was wanted by Interpol for issuing dud cheques to clients, including soccer players of various teams,” he said.


he police was informed by employees that the suspect was not living with his children and that he changes his appearance and was not using his mobile phone to avoid being caught by
the police.

“The suspect was stunned when he was arrested by the police in a coffee shop in the Murraqabat area — he thought that the police would not recognise him. The suspect has been on the run for 25 days.”

Ghalita said the suspect, using his work in the real estate company, dealt with clients through the email and online resources so as to avoid providing evidence for an office or home address.

Ghalita would not say which company the man was working for or which property or properties he claimed to be a broker for.

The department of anti-crime, established by the Dubai Police on September 2008, has approved a number of ways to curb crime, including the investigation of bounced cheques of large sums.

It was a part of this initiative that Dubai Police tracked the 39 complaints issued at various police stations, investigated and arrested the man for issuing bounced cheques worth Dh203 million.

During the first half of the current year the police recovered thousands of dirhams by investigating on dud cheque cases and arrested 278 wanted people.

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Dubai Property Developer Al Barakah chief arrested on bouncing cheque charges

Posted by 7starsdubai on July 8, 2009


source The National

The chief executive of the property developer Al Barakah is in custody, and is likely to face charges relating to the signing cheques worth millions of dirhams, which later allegedly bounced.

SIK, whose company was planning what would have been the tallest tower in Ajman, surrendered himself to the Dubai police last Thursday and was officially arrested on Sunday, according to the public prosecutor’s office of the Muraqqabat police station.
“He has been captured on Sunday this week,” said a first sergeant at the public prosecutor’s office. “He said that his name has been blocked and that he can’t leave. He told that his business had [gone] worse and that he wanted to solve everything by the court. And because of that he surrendered himself.”

According to the officer, the charges related to a bounced cheque. “He had one bounced cheque of nearly Dh10m and the case has been sent yesterday to the court,” he said.

The chief executive was being sought by Dubai Police for more than seven months for allegedly bouncing cheques that totaled more than Dh40 million (US$16.33m), according to the Dubai police.

Al Barakah, which launched a dozen projects in Dubai and Ajman from 2007, found itself in difficulty last year.

SIK signed agreements with investors promising to buy back their properties after six months with a guaranteed 50 per cent profit on the downpayment. He issued post-dated checks as a guarantee of the buy-back.

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Dubai – Forbes – Al Fajer Properties Scandal – Battle over the Books – Behind the $870 million ”rescue” of a royal developer

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 31, 2009


original published Forbes

March 08. 2009 12:36AM UAE / March 8. 2009 8:36PM GMT

zadehmaktoumjbcOn Feb. 3, Al-Fajer Properties, a high-profile real estate development firm owned by the brother in law of Dubai’s ruling sheik, announced a 3.2 billion dirham ($871.2 million) restructuring of its operations. Under the leadership of its new president, Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher al-Maktoum–the eldest son of the company’s owner, and nephew of Dubai’s ruling sheik–the company explained it had liquidated its land bank and sold off its remaining inventory after a “rigorous” business review in order to strengthen its balance sheet.

But sources close to Al-Fajer tell Forbes that the restructuring was actually a wholesale “rescue” from financial ruin as an independent entity, after nearly three years of alleged mismanagement under former manager Shahram Abdullah Zadeh, a flamboyant, Iranian-born businessman who was fired last year and who claims to still be owed at least $1.9 billion by Al-Fajer.

Forbes has consulted documents–including bank statements, company contracts and employee interviews drafted by an auditing firm, which was called in to help conduct the business review last year–that purportedly tell the story of how Zadeh allegedly forged company contracts, kept fraudulent, unaudited accounts and moved money back and forth between Al-Fajer Properties and other companies owned by him.

Sources close to Al-Fajer say the new president, Maktoum, was called in by his father to fix the so-called “financial shambles” after an employee indirectly alerted the elder sheik to the company’s financial situation by requesting cash in early 2008. Documents show a cash balance of approximately $8.2 million when Maktoum arrived, which was restored to $163.4 million to $190 million 60 days later.

The sheik, say sources close to the company, did this by unwinding investments that would have saddled Al-Fajer with massive liabilities–in the “hundreds of millions” of dirhams–narrowly escaping the real estate slide that hit Dubai months later after the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in September. Since then, property prices have fallen an estimated 20% to 25%.

Al-Fajer’s cash balance as of February 2009 was not made available to Forbes, but sources close to the company hint that nearly all of it has been plowed back into construction projects.

Zadeh flatly denies any wrongdoing and claims that the so-called “rescue” was a full-blown theft of a company he had owned and financed alone throughout the course of its existence. Moreover, he denies that the company was a financial mess and claims that his erstwhile partner, Maktoum, breached his trust to take control of a successful firm.

“I was the sole investor, and Al-Fajer Properties was my company,” he says. “Sheik Hasher Maktoum has not invested a single dirham into the company; his only contribution has been the real estate license.”

The payment for this license, which cost $82,000, sat in a bank account from the company’s inception in 2004 and was not used as operational capital, Zadeh says.

Zadeh claims that Maktoum, his father and others together “cooked the books” and took control of Al-Fajer Properties while he was detained in jail by the authorities, without being charged, between February and April 2008. After being blindfolded, tortured and interrogated for weeks about unfounded bribery allegations and his operations at Al-Fajer in detail, Zadeh says he emerged from jail only to find a letter demanding he cease all involvement with the company.

Zadeh says he believes his detention was the result of a false report. Sources close to Al-Fajer say that any such claims did not come from them.

The battle has already spilled into the courts, a potentially embarrassing development for a company linked to Dubai’s ruling family. After filing two unsuccessful criminal complaints against Al-Fajer last year, Zadeh said his lawyers filed a civil lawsuit against the company on Feb. 26 at the Dubai Courts, claiming he was still owed $1.9 billion.

Although Al-Fajer Properties is said to have filed a criminal complaint against Zadeh in late February, alleging fraud and embezzlement of funds, the company’s lawyer would not confirm this. “I am aware of no suits against me,” Zadeh says.

Zadeh does not deny moving funds between Al-Fajer and other companies he owns, but claims that he put the money into the company’s account in the first place and later took it back as his “investment.” He said that no money was missing, though he admitted there had been no auditing of the company accounts because the firm was understaffed and had big ambitions.

Sources close to Al-Fajer also confirm that no money appeared to be missing; Zadeh is said to have made up the balance of withdrawn funds with later payments back into the firm.

The corporate tussle casts no direct shadow on the reputation of Dubai’s ruling family, even though Al-Fajer’s operators are one degree removed from Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. But it’s another example of the dark side of Dubai, one more blow to its image as a spectacular hub for global investment. After recently being forced to borrow $10 billion from the United Arab Emirates’ central bank in Abu Dhabi to help its enterprises pay short-term debts (see “Dubai’s Jolt Back To Reality”), Dubai is bracing for more bad news as its gross domestic product growth plunges from 8% or so in 2008 to an expected 2.5% this year.

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Clouds over Dubai – Petitions – Demonstrations: Dubai Homeowners go on offensive

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 30, 2009


source TheNational

DUBAI // In an increasingly familiar display of discontent with the property market, two dozen residents of Discovery Gardens gathered yesterday to petition for more transparency and better property management services.

Homeowners in the community pay annual service charges of Dh30 (US$8.17) per square foot, among Dubai’s most expensive, but accuse its developer, Nakheel, of not fulfilling its building maintenance and service obligations.

Their complaints include broken door locks, frequently clogged toilets and unstable balconies, and slow repair service. Many also say they have not received apartment title deeds, which verify ownership, despite purchasing their units months ago.

“We want to make it very clear to Nakheel that if they don’t fulfil their agreement as to what is stipulated on their turnaround times for maintenance, then we want our money back,” said Michael Aldendorff, 39, an apartment owner in the 50,000-resident community who helped organise the demonstration.

“Either they serve us the next year for free, and they improve their maintenance substantially, or they give us back the money that we’ve already paid in maintenance fees.”

The group plans to get 400 signatures for two petitions to be delivered to senior officials at Nakheel and Tamweel, the country’s largest home lender by volume which has financed purchases at Discovery Gardens.

In the other petition, homeowners are demanding breakdowns of Dh32,000 in fees that have been added to their expenses but not clearly explained by Tamweel.

“Till now, I really don’t know which fees are for what – there’s absolutely no transparency,” said Doaa al Ghamrawi, 32, an Egyptian who purchased a one-bedroom flat financed through Tamweel.

Officials at Nakheel and Tamweel could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But in an e-mail sent on Thursday, a Nakheel spokeswoman said the responsibility for title deeds was not Nakheel’s but that of the building owner. “Nakheel, however, is assisting building owners in facilitating the registration of the titles with the Dubai Land Department,” she said.

She said the company had reviewed the existing service fee structure “to take advantage of recent reductions in cost of services” and that homeowners could expect a reduction.

Asked about the deficiencies in services alleged by residents, the spokeswoman said: “Nakheel is committed to providing the best possible service to all our customers. We have a 24 hour customer service call centre for residents, and we endeavour to address service requests in a timely manner.”

The spokeswoman, who declined to be named for unspecified reasons, did not give further details about the reductions.

Juergen Schmidhofer, a 41-year-old German flat owner in Discovery Gardens, said his maintenance and cooling fees were unjustifiably high, about Dh2,000 a month, for the quality of service he receives.

“Why don’t they use a normal electrical meter like they do in Germany to determine what you pay?” he said. “That would save us all money and energy.”

Meanwhile, Flo Weisweiler, 28, a German national who rents a one-bedroom flat in International City, said months of complaining by residents had essentially yielded nothing from Nakheel, the community’s developer. “We’re not asking them for miracles here,” he said. “We just want basic maintenance, security, proper paint on our walls.”

Hallways and façades in the 60,000-resident complex were crumbling and besmirched by dirt, he said, while odours from a nearby sewage-treatment plant continued to permeate the area. Municipal and federal rules were also not enforced, evidenced by the scores of labourers moving into studio flats or residents smoking in such communal areas as elevators or hallways.

“We told Nakheel that a lot of people smoke inside buildings, in the elevators, and that they set off alarms,” Mr Weisweiler said.

“We asked them to put up no-smoking signs, but they said they didn’t have a budget for that.”

In Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), Paul Vincent wonders why he and other homeowners are asked to pay high maintenance and service fees when basic amenities have yet to be built. Despite trying on several occasions to obtain a breakdown of the Dh25,000 in yearly fees, there has been no response from JLT’s master developer, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).

“You can’t go out in the night-time because there is no street lighting and no sidewalks,” said the 32-year-old Briton. “It’s still a construction site here – no supermarkets, no shops – you’re basically confined to your apartment.”

“We really don’t know what we’re paying for, so what we want to know is where this money is going, bearing in mind that we already pay electric and water separately. The only formal channels we have to communicate with officials in the development is what’s indicated on DMCC’s website.”

But Bryan Wilson, the executive director for property management at DMCC, said the company “had been completely transparent with all our fees.”

Some developers have launched programmes recently to improve customers service. Deyaar, which expects to deliver 3.6 million square feet of finished units in 2009, has introduced a newsletter for property owners and made its website more user friendly.

Still, many residents appear unappeased.

Softening rents have persuaded growing numbers to relocate to higher-end communities with better reputations in residential management. Others are pursuing a collective-bargaining approach, such as the Jumeirah Beach Residence homeowners group. They and other grassroots groups have banded together to call for transparency from authorities and more say over community management decisions.

Authorities have also sought to more thoroughly intervene in the ailing real-estate sector, most notably with the increasingly active role of Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency, or Rera. But falling property values and expected population declines, by as much as 17 per cent in Dubai this year, according to a March EFG-Hermes report, may require bolder intervention.

“My feeling is, looking forward, the Government is going to have to step in and take a bigger regulatory role in this market, because it has become uneven between different parts of Dubai,” said Hafed al Ghwell, the director of external affairs at the Dubai School of Government.

This may mean a painful but necessary break with Dubai’s long-standing preference for managing communities from a hands-off, private-sector-led approach, he said, mainly because “the private sector doesn’t run these things for any larger goals than making profit.”

“If you’re running your own company, you’re not really worried so much about the public good,” he said.

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RERA Dubai freezes developer escrow accounts

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 27, 2009


source TheNational

May 28. 2009

The Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) has frozen the escrow accounts of some property developers as it awaits assurances that construction is progressing and that all homes sold have been registered with the Dubai Land Department.

This is the latest measure by the authority to safeguard the interests of property investors as the market grapples with a shortage of lending and declining property prices.

Marwan bin Ghalita, the chief executive of RERA, said some developers needed to provide technical reports to the authority’s trust account department detailing the progress of construction before they can withdraw money from the accounts.

“There can be no withdrawal until they have completed the technical report,” he said.

“Payment needs to be linked to construction progress. They also need to prove to RERA that they have registered investors rights with the Land Department.”

Mr bin Ghalita would not say how many accounts had been frozen. RERA introduced the escrow account law in February last year.

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Dubai: Petitions over Petitions – and no Response – The sheikhdom`collapsing property market

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 27, 2009


source MaktoobBusiness

British government is being asked to help UK investors in Dubai who fear losing millions of dollars in the sheikdom’s collapsing property market.

A group of investors based in the UK have sent a petition to Prime Minister Gordon Brown asking him to intervene in what they claim are “harmful real estate practices” in the United Arab Emirates.

“We as investors have recently discovered the blatant embezzlement of our money by unscrupulous developers,” the petition, seen by newswire Zawya Dow Jones, says. The petition was referred by Downing Street to the Foreign Office.

“We have been contacted by individual investors,” a spokesperson for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office told Zawya Dow Jones. “The FCO takes this matter seriously.”

A near 50 percent fall in real estate prices in some parts of Dubai has spurred a rash of increasingly ugly real estate disputes between developers and investors. The industry accounts for 30 percent of the emirate’s economy.

The Dubai Land Department estimates that British investors own property worth 4.7 billion dirhams ($1.3 billion) in the emirate. British buyers now account for 12 percent of international property investors in the emirate, behind Saudis and Indian buyers, according to regional investment bank EFG-Hermes.

The involvement of the British government on behalf of disgruntled property buyers will further damage the reputation of Dubai as it struggles to clean up its financial image and attract foreign investment that’s vital for its economy.

The Foreign Office spokesperson said that while the British government would advise investors on how to resolve disputes “ultimately this is a legal matter between the interested parties”.

Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency, the government watchdog, did not respond to written questions from Zawya Dow Jones, but Thursday said it plans to set up new “real-estate communities” to increase transparency. 

British national Nick Jasani is one of a group of investors who is lobbying parliamentary representatives to put pressure on Downing Street to intervene in the rising number of disputes on their behalf.

Jasani, who bought a commercial unit from a developer in Dubai’s Business Bay district for 2 million dirhams in early 2007, is worried because construction at the project hasn’t started, even though he’s already paid 640,000 dirhams or 30 percent of the unit’s value.

He said the Dubai-based developer is still demanding payment installments even though they’re not working on the project.

A letter seen by Zawya Dow Jones and sent by a number of individual investors to Members of Parliament states that “even though projects have no hope of going ahead due to the current financial climate, the money (investors) they have put down may not be refunded.”

As the bottom falls out of Dubai’s once-soaring property market, developers are scrambling to respond. Many are being forced to cancel or delay projects amid falling sales and property prices.

Last month, a report by investment bank Morgan Stanley said the United Arab Emirates is delaying or canceling real-estate projects worth more than $260 billion. An earlier HSBC report said Dubai is delaying or canceling almost 60 projects worth $75 billion.

Amid growing uncertainty about whether they’ll see their money again, investors are organising themselves to take on the emirate’s sometimes unscrupulous developers and convoluted real estate regulations.

This week a group of more than 100 investors delivered a petition signed by more than 350 investors to Dubai developer Nakheel’s office urging the firm to reschedule payment plans for villas on Palm Jebel Ali because of delays.

This followed a petition to Emaar Properties, the Middle East’s largest developer, requesting the cancellation of three of its projects.

Nakheel did not respond to questions from Zawya Dow Jones.

“There are certainly a number of investors who seem to have claims with merit. Others simply have been caught out by a falling market and insufficient contractual protection,” said Matthew Hooton, head of real estate in the Middle East for law firm Ashurst.

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Al Fajer Properties – Comment of the Day

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 26, 2009


To 7Stars from Court Expert May 26. 2009

1. Under UAE Law, Article 69, the presiding Judge MUST appoint an expert/auditor to look into the historical records of the company from the first day of establishment. The expert will rely on evidence and facts only. It is a very simple task. Any party who is afraid of the truth will try to block the court from appointing an expert auditor to examine the company account.

2. In this case, where the Iranianian Plaintiff had been detained illegaly for a period of 60 days without any charges, and in violations of a series of UAE Laws his rights have been deprived by the authorities, which indicate the facilitating the take over of the company by the sheikhs raises serious questions about the involvement of the various authorities as potential partners in crime.

3. The current false claims filed by the sheikhs in police are a tactic used to mislead the public/ court and to try to pressure the judge to close the lawsuit against the sheikhs. Although sometimes these tactics work, but normally it can backfire especialy if the other party can provide evidence that it is a false case. Which will result in a criminal prosecution of the sheikhs for creating false cases.

4. In my 25 years experience of complaex financial cases where I have been appointed as an expert , I can give my personal view that if FOR ANY REASON the judge does not appoint an auditor expert with a crystal clear mandate to look into the company records and determine who has invested capital in the company and what is the contribution (IF ANY) of the sheikhs, and hence determine who is the true owner of the company. Then I can conclude that the sheikhs have used their influence to close the case.

CONCLUSION: IF THE JUDGE DOES NOT APPOINT AN EXPERT AUDITOR AS PER THE LAW, THEN DUBAI JUSTICE SYSTEM IS QUESTIONED AND THE RULE OF LAW IS NOT APPLIED TO SHEIKHS.

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Al Fajer Properties Sheikh plans counter claim

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 25, 2009


source Zawya (AFP)

DUBAI, May 25, 2009 (AFP) – A Dubai sheikh being sued by an Iranian businessman over 1.9 billion dollars in property investments plans to file a counterclaim demanding compensation for losses, his lawyer said on Monday.

Shahram Abdullah Zadeh, the former chief executive of Dubai-based developer Al-Fajer Properties, filed the initial lawsuit against the firm and  Sheikh Hasher Maktoum bin Jumaa al-Maktoum, in February, claiming he was the sole investor and real owner of the company.

“We have requested time to file a counterclaim to demand compensation from Shahram Zadeh,” lawyer Samir Jaafar told AFP following a fourth hearing in the case on Monday.

Zadeh accused the defence of “running away from responding to the lawsuit” against Sheikh Hasher, a brother-in-law of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

He said Sheikh Hasher was registered as owning Al-Fajer PropertiesAl-Fajer Properties
Al Fajer Properties, because being a foreigner he could not register it under his own name.

He told AFP his defence had requested the appointment of an auditor to trace capital inflows into the company, and said despite claims that he was just an employee he never took a salary or had an employment contract.

“He was supposed to earn a share of profits made under his management. But the company did not make any profits,” Jaafar responded.

Al-Fajer Properties, which since February 2009 has been run by Sheikh Hasher’s son, Sheikh Maktoum, filed two complaints with Dubai police in February and March, accusing Zadeh of embezzling 114 million dirhams (31.06 million dollars).

A representative of Zadeh’s lawyer, Salim al-Shaali, called the two claims false and said a complaint about them has been lodged with the public prosecution.

Zadeh is demanding the recovery of all assets of Al-Fajer PropertiesAl-Fajer Properties
Al Fajer Properties, estimated in the lawsuit at seven billion dirhams (1.9 billion dollars).

The judge adjourned Monday’s hearing to June 17.

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Al Fajer Properties – Dynasty Zarooni – Investors Petition – 500 signatures

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 25, 2009


Al Fajer – Ebony & Ivory – Petition – Ordered to Pay 500 Million

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Britons face losing savings as Dubai property market collapses

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 23, 2009


source Telegraph UK  23 May, 2009

Britons who invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in unbuilt property during Dubai’s boom years face losing the money after a collapse in the market.

An 800-strong group of investors, from individuals who put deposits on holiday flats to property brokers, says hundreds of millions of pounds is at risk.

Work has slowed or stopped on swathes of building sites, including on a second “Palm Island”. The city was planning a series of artificial peninsulas in the shape of palm trees packed with seafront holiday villas, but only one is finished. 

Of all the world’s property crashes, Dubai’s has been among the most spectacular. According to an estimate from Morgan Stanley, projects worth £165 billion have been delayed or cancelled across the United Arab Emirates. Prices in Dubai have fallen by more than 40 per cent since September.

As prices soared, many investors bought off-plan, either because it was cheaper, in the case of small-time buyers looking for a home in the sun, or because they could “flip” or sell on for a quick profit without ever having to pay the full value.

Investors on the end of a chain of “flippers” have been hit particularly hard as prices fell while building was put on hold. But even those who bought from developers now face the dilemma of whether to keep paying or cut their losses.

The situation has been made worse by local authorities which are revising rules on repaying money for property bought “off-plan” which could mean investors cannot get their full investment back.

Adam Tordoff, a self-employed businessman from Sheffield, has already used his life savings to pay £150,000 towards a £500,000 villa and is facing demands for further instalments even though it has not been built.

“We just want to get our money back and get out of it,” he said. “The next best thing would be to have something actually built rather than the money going into thin air.”

Nick Jasani, from St Albans, bought two shops off-plan as an investment, paying a deposit of £100,000. He believes there is little chance of them being built but the project has not been cancelled enabling him to reclaim his money.

“I am totally fed up,” he said. He has written to the British government asking it to intervene.

The Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority has drafted new rules under which investors who pull out of contracts are refunded on a sliding scale, depending on how much has been built. But developers are still entitled to 30 per cent of the money paid even if nothing has been built at all, giving them an incentive to claim projects are still viable.

Nigel Knight, a spokesman for the investors’ group, said its members had bought property valued at around £1 billion, of which almost a fifth had already been paid over.

RERA is preparing further revisions. It may also order 27 projects to be cancelled with full refunds – if the money is left.

In some cases, deposits were used to buy the land, a practice now banned, while Mr Knight alleges some developers were using money paid down for one development to buy land for new projects.

RERA did not reply to questions but Alexis Waller, a lawyer at the Dubai offices of legal firm Clyde and Co, said it was trying to strike a balance between developers and purchasers.

She said many investors signed contracts which did not specify what would be built when. By law developers have to start work within six months of registering projects, but many investors signed contracts obliging them to keep up instalments even if developers failed to do so.

“Investors signed up to payment schedules that were in no way linked to milestones,” she said. “That’s how the market worked here, and purchasers didn’t query it because they were making so much money from property. It’s become an issue because they are no longer making money.”

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Dubai courts are suddenly finding themselve flooded with cases

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 22, 2009


source KippReport

Thanks to the credit crunch the number of trade disputes at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) doubled in April 2009, reports The National. And the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) received 40 trade dispute cases last month, compared with 20 a month earlier, taking the total number of cases in the first four months of the year to 80.

According to the DCCI, there were only 28 arbitration cases in the whole of 2008.

The DCCI legal services department received 156 cases of business mediation in April 2009, and 322 cases in the first four months of this year as compared to 182 cases for the same period last year, an increase of 80 percent.

The DIFC (Dubai International Finance Centre)-LCIA (London Court of International Arbitration), a joint arbitration centre formed in 2008, has also reported seeing an increase in the number of arbitrations in 2009. It has confirmed that it is increasing the number of case handlers to deal with the increasing caseload.

But it’s not just the arbitration courts which are being inundated; 520 cases have also been registered with Dubai’s Property Court this year. Chief Judge Mohammed Yousuf Sulaiman, deputy director of Dubai Courts, told Emirates Business last week that the court has already passed judgment on 145 property-related cases.

The Dubai Property Court was set up in September 2008, and will be getting a mediation centre soon. According to Sulaiman this will reduce the number of cases going to court. “In the mediation centre, there will be a panel of real estate experts who will screen cases and try and resolve them before they are passed to the court,” he said.

According to a recent report from Norton Rose, an international legal group, over 1,000 disputes have also been lodged with Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) in relation to delayed or cancelled projects, and the centre reportedly resolved 95 cases during March 2009.

And it seems the number of cases is set to rise further.

The report says that in the past, contractors and consultants were reluctant to take action against developers in the region for two reasons. Firstly, the major developers in Dubai had a large number of significant projects on their books in which contractors were keen to remain or become involved. And secondly, many large developers are wholly or partially state-owned, and there was a perception that taking action against them might limit a company’s future business opportunities in the region.

But now, following numerous project cancellations and suspensions, cash-strapped sub-contractors are being forced to take action against main contractors in an effort to recover outstanding sums.

And, with investors and developers both defaulting on agreements, going to court seems like the only way to resolve the differences.

The rising number of legal cases will prove to be an acid test for Dubai’s legal institutions and frameworks, says Norton Rose, particularly with regards to the speed and efficiency of the dispute resolution processes, and in respect of the “effectiveness and enforceability of the judgments or arbitral awards obtained as a result of those processes.”

Will Dubai be able to pass the test?

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Middle East’s rich and powerful may not be beyond the law any more

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 21, 2009


source Times UK May 22, 2009

When a crime is committed in the Middle East and nobody is punished, invariably the explanation is that the rich and powerful have proved once again that they are beyond the reach of the law.

For years the shady activities of Gulf sheikhs, powerful ministers and rich businessmen have been swept under the carpet. But something profound could be changing in the Arab world.

Thanks in part to the advance of technology, satellite news channels and internet blogs, the elite are no longer shielded from public scrutiny. Now they may also have to answer to the law.

First was the case of Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a brother of the President of the United Arab Emirates, who was filmed apparently torturing a business associate. The footage was smuggled out of the country and aired on television last month. The incident caused a diplomatic spat with Washington and the sheikh was detained while the authorities investigated.

Now we have the case in Egypt of Hisham Moustafa, a businessman and member of Cairo’s elite being sentenced to death for ordering the murder of Suzanne Tamim.

The actions could give renewed hope to others seeking justice in the region, like the family of Martine Vik Magnussen, the Norwegian student who was murdered in London last year. Police want to question Farouk Abdulhak, the son of an Arab billionaire, who left Britain soon after the murder in Mayfair and is now in Yemen.

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Questions and Answers with the Dubai Land Department

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 21, 2009


Source Zawya

There has been considerable debate in the real estate sector following the issuance of Law No 9 of 2009 amending Article 11 of Law No 13 of 2008 on the Interim Register in the Emirate of Dubai . This law concerns specifically the issue of termination of sale and purchase agreements (SPAs) for off-plan units and the damages payable.

Mohammed Kamal, Head of Real Estate-Middle East at Lovells’ Dubai office, recently met with Emad Farouq, Senior Legal Counsel at the Dubai Land Department (DLD)
and Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).

Below is a summary of the question and answer session with Emad Farouq.

Law No 9 of 2009 is now in force. Can you please explain the main implications of this law and how it affects the termination of SPAs for the sale of off-plan units?
This law seeks to impose a new regime for the termination and payment of damages for SPAs for the sale of off-plan units which will apply retrospectively to all prior SPAs. It will amend the provisions of Article 11 of Law 13 which previously stated that upon termination the maximum damages payable to a developer would be 30% of monies paid to date.

The law will also override the administrative circular which was issued by the DLD
in 2008.

Under Law 9, the developer will be entitled to damages strictly according to the progress of construction for the project regardless of what has been agreed in the SPA. There are 5 categories of damages ranging from no damages (i.e. developer will refund all monies received), in cases where RERA cancels the developer’s project, to entitlement to retain all monies received and recover any shortfall if the developer has completed 80% or more of the construction. The intention behind the law is to create a balanced and fair mechanism for the termination of SPAs and assessment of damages. The vast majority of SPAs and arrangements in the market are either vague or unfair, or both. Therefore it was absolutely essential to intervene to provide certainty in the real estate sector going forward.

Can you explain the developer’s obligations under Law No.9?

Generally the developer is obliged to issue notices for termination of SPAs through the DLD
will assess the merits of the case and then decide on whether the developer is justified in terminating the SPA and will also assess the status of construction of the project in order to identify which category of damages will apply.
It is important to note that although a developer may be entitled to resell a unit, it must account to the purchaser for any surplus monies it receives once it has received any damages it is entitled to i.e. the developer cannot be unjustly enriched.

Under Law No 13 of 2008, there is a requirement for all sale and purchase agreements to be registered by 30 October 2008. Has this deadline been extended?

Yes, the deadline has been extended but will be confirmed through the Executive regulations which are being reviewed. Currently, the DLD will allow registration of SPAs after the deadline, provided there is a valid reason for the delay.

What is the Land Department’s view on the recent Property Court judgment concerning the master developer, Mizin?

In this case the Property Court (which is a division of the Dubai Courts) considered an agreement which was not registered on the interim register under Law 13 of 2008 as null and void and ordered Mizin to refund all monies paid by the purchaser. It is clear that the Property Court has taken a literal interpretation of Law 13 and in this case has made a decision which is in favour of the purchaser.

The DLD considers the decision to correspond with our understanding of the interpretation and application of Law 13. In particular, it confirms that if an agreement is not sufficiently registered under the law, then it will be considered null and void and is not enforceable as a binding agreement. Registration is conclusive evidence of rights relating to property, whether they are registered in the real register or the interim register.

Does Law No 9 cover terminations of SPAs for both sales of plots and off-plan units?

Law 9 is intended to cover sales of off-plan units only. SPAs for plots will not fall under the categories for damages under Law 9 and the parties will need to rely on the provisions related to termination and damages under the SPA and, if necessary, issue proceedings in the Property Court to settle any disputes.

Can you confirm what will be covered under the Executive Regulations following Law No 9?

The Executive Regulations under Law 9 are intended to provide guidance on the procedures and practical application of Law 9, amongst other issues. The Regulations will predominantly cover the procedure for termination of SPAs and payment of damages. They will also confirm the rights and obligations of a developer when reselling a unit upon termination and refunding any excess monies to the purchaser. The Regulations will also cover the grounds for cancellation of projects by RERA.
RERA may also request an independent third party expert report to assess the status of construction for a project.

What other laws and regulations can we expect to be issued in the coming months by
Dubai Land Department and RERA? e.g. Strata law regulations
The draft Strata regulations are being considered and will clarify the status of master community declarations, owners’ associations and the management and operation of common property.

We also expect further laws and regulations from DLD/RERA concerning Real Estate Investment Portfolios, Trust Law, Granted Land and Land Development laws and regulations on the restriction on developers collecting no more than 30% of the purchase price before commencement of construction and the requirement for developers to have paid for the land and obtained title and completed 20% construction before it can sell units off-plan.

The future…

Law 9 has been much anticipated by the real estate market and it now paves the way for a swift resolution to property disputes. The Executive Regulations must ensure that a fair balance is created between the rights of the developer and the purchaser and it will be crucial that the Property Court demonstrates consistency in the application of Law 9. Recent reports in the media have indicated that approximately 520 cases have been registered with the Property Court in 2009 and we expect many more to follow. It is expected that the Property Court will also be supplemented with a mediation centre in order to reduce the number of cases.

Lovells will remain at the forefront of new developments in the real estate sector and we aim to provide you with further updates on this topic as more information is available.

About Emad Farouq
Emad is the Senior Legal Counsel at the Dubai Land Department. Previously, he spent 15 years with the UAE Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Emad has played a significant role in the last 5 years in the development of property legislation and regulations in Dubai. In December 2008, Emad was awarded “Best Government In-House Counsel” by the Dubai Corporate Counsel Group.

About Mohammed Kamal
Mohammed is the Head of Real Estate for the Middle East in Lovells’ Dubai office. He has been based in the UAE for several years and has been consistently involved with some of the largest real estate deals and projects in the region. Mohammed is recommended as one of the leading real estate lawyers in the region in Who’s Who Legal.

For further assistance please contact Mohammed Kamal, Head of Real Estate-Middle East.

© Lovells 2009

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Al Fajer Properties – Dubai Court Case – Lawyer rubbishes lawsuit against Dubai sheikh

Posted by 7starsdubai on May 18, 2009


source BusinessMaktoob and  Zawya

Dubai Monday, May 04, 2009

The defence lawyer( Samir Jaafar) for a Dubai Sheikh ( Hasher Maktoum bin Juma Al Matoum, brother in law of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum) being sued by an Iranian businessman over $1.9 billion property investments  on Monday rejected the lawsuit as baseless.

“All his allegations and the sums that he claims to have pumped into the company are unfounded,” lawyer Samir Jaafar told news agency AFP after the third hearing in the case.

Shahram Abdullah Zadeh has filed the $1.9 billion case against Sheikh Hasher Maktoum bin Jumaa Al-Maktoum and the Dubai-based real estate developer Al-Fajer Properties.

Zadeh insists he was the real owner and sole investor in Al-Fajer, which is registered under the name of Sheikh Hasher, a brother-in-law of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

“There are surprises in the documents that we have presented to the court which will turn the case upside down,” Sheikh Hasher’s lawyer Samir Jaafar said, declining to elaborate.

“We believe that the lawsuit will be rejected after the court goes through the documents that we have presented,” Jaafar added.

Legal sources close to the case, asking not to be named, said the defence has charged that the sums which Zadeh says he invested in the company were in fact the “company’s money that he misused to appear as if it was his own”.

Zadeh, for his part, demands the “recovery of all material assets of Al-Fajer Properties“, according to legal documents obtained by AFP.

These include liquid assets and property, which are estimated at 7 billion dirhams ($1.9 billion), and 9 percent interest since the suit was filed.

His lawyer Salim al-Shaali, who asked the judge for time to study the defence document, said that at the next hearing on May 25 he will ask for an auditor to be appointed to look into the company’s accounts.

“The expert would decide who pumped capital into the company and … whether the defendants paid any money,” he told AFP.

Zadeh charges Sheikh Hasher made no investment in Al-Fajer and that he acquired the licence under the sheikh’s name only because Emirati law does not allow non-Gulf citizens to register real estate firms under their own names.

“For every dirham that Sheikh Hasher can show the court he has invested in Al-Fajer Properties, will give him the company and an extra $10 million bonus,” Shahram Zadeh told AFP after the latest hearing, which he did not attend

Shahram Zadeh said he started up the company from scratch, pumping in cash “as and when the company needed”, and that he only withdrew part of his initial investments after the company expanded from property sales.

“The Sheikhs claim I was an employee,” said Zadeh.

“My question to the court is what employee (can be) the sole investor, work for four years with absolute single authority signing billions of dirhams on cheques, contracts … but work without a salary or an employment contract?”

In addition to Sheikh Hasher, Zadeh is suing his daughter, Sheikha Maryam, a partner in the company, and son Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Juma Al Maktoum, who was made president of Al-Fajer after Zadeh was sacked in February.

Zadeh said he was detained by Dubai police after he was sacked and then held without charge for 60 days, and that his passport was confiscated and is still being held.

“I still don’t know why I was arrested,” he said.

The case comes as several executives from high-profile Dubai firms are being held on suspicion of embezzlement and as the once-booming regional business and tourism hub struggles to stave off the impact of the global economic crisis.

Dynasty Zarooni

Al Fajer Properties

GulfNews The first report about this case in the local UAE press

Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Al Fajer Properties – April 8 , 2009 – Dubai court postpones 1.9 Billion Dollar case against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher bin Juma Al Maktoum, Sheikh Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum and Sheikha Maryam

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 25, 2009


DUBAI, Apr 08, 2009 (AFP) –

A Dubai court postponed on Wednesday a 1.9 billion dollar lawsuit by Shahram Abdulla Zadeh ( Iranian) gainst members of the ruling family over an allegedly lost property investment to give the defence time to prepare.

Lawyer Hussein al-Jaziri asked for a “long period of time to respond to the case,” but the judge set May 4 as the date for the next hearing.

No one represented the defence during the first hearing, on March 11.

Iranian Shahram Abdullah Zadeh claims he invested the 1.9 billion dollars as the sole capital of a company, Al-Fajer Properties

Under United Arab Emirates law, only UAE and Gulf citizens may register property firms, and ruling family member Sheikh Hasher Maktoum bin Jumaa al-Maktoum is listed as the owner.

“I was the sole investor. Al-Fajer Propertiesis my company. Sheikh Hasher’s only contribution has been the real estate licence as a sponsor,” he said in March.

Zadeh, who was sacked as company president last year, is demanding the “recovery of all material assets of Al-Fajer Properties,” according to legal documents obtained by AFP.

These include liquid assets and property, which are estimated at seven billion dirhams (1.9 billion dollars), and nine percent interest since the suit was filed.

“We have enough documents to prove he was the sole investor,” Zadeh’s lawyer Salem al-Shaali told AFP after the first hearing.

Sheikh Hasher is a brother-in-law of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. Also named in the suit are his daughter, Sheikha Maryam, a partner in the company, and son Sheikh Maktoum, who was made president of Al-Fajer after Zadeh was sacked.

Their names were only made public on Wednesday.

Zadeh said he was detained by Dubai police at the time he was dismissed last year and held without charge for 60 days, and that his passport was confiscated and is still being held without explanation.

The case comes as several executives from high-profile Dubai firms are held on suspicion of embezzlement and as the once-booming regional business and tourism hub struggles to stave off the impact of the global economic slowdown.

ak/al

More about the case Al Fajer Properties
which must be seen also in relation to the pending case Dynasty Zarooni

Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Dubai law pins down property defaulters – If the developer has not been able to start construction “without any negligence or omission on the developer’s part”, the developer may keep 30 per cent of the money paid by the buyer to that point

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 19, 2009


source The National

The Dubai Land Department is planning to issue an amended property law that will determine refunds for investors who default on their payments based on construction progress of the project, according to lawyers briefed on the matter.

The move will bring clarity to the property market in Dubai, where a credit squeeze and the effects of the global financial crisis have led to defaults by home buyers. But some investors have criticised the amendment for being too heavily in favour of developers.

Lawyers say the amendment to article 11 of Dubai Law 13 of 2008 will stipulate that in cases where a buyer defaults and the developer has constructed at least 80 per cent of the project, the buyer loses all money paid to that point. The home can then be auctioned to compensate the developer for the rest of the cost.

If a developer has completed at least 60 per cent of the project and the buyer defaults, the developer is entitled to keep 40 per cent of the purchase price.

But if a developer has completed less than 60 per cent of the project, it can only keep 25 per cent of the purchase price.

If the developer has not been able to start construction “without any negligence or omission on the developer’s part”, the developer may keep 30 per cent of the money paid by the buyer to that point.

Developers would have to refund any money due to the purchaser within one year, or within 60 days of the resale of the home.

A legal briefing from the law firm Clyde & Co said the amendment “provides much anticipated clarification regarding the procedures required to be followed by developers in respect of defaulting purchasers, as well as the rights of developers to retain purchaser monies upon cancellation”.

The original law specified that if a buyer defaulted on payments to the developer, the buyer would be able to recover 70 per cent of any money they had turned over to that point.

But when the property market started to face difficulties last autumn, the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) issued an interpretation of the law that said the developer could retain 30 per cent of the total price of the property. In some cases, this meant the developer could keep all payments a buyer had made to them.

Officials from RERA later admitted that the interpretation was an emergency measure intended to prevent a wave of defaults that would cripple the property sector.

The new amendment, called Dubai Law No. 9 of 2009, will not only provide more specific terms but be retroactive for all property contracts signed in Dubai. If a contract between a buyer and a developer has a contrary clause, it will be rendered void, according to the Clyde & Co briefing.

Emad Eldin Farouq, a senior legal counsel with the Dubai Land Department, told a panel last week that the amendment had been signed into law and would soon be published in the official gazette of Dubai, according to an article in Xpress, which first reported the story. The amendment would “maintain the confidence of investors and safeguard the real estate of Dubai”, Mr Farouq said, according to Xpress.

But some investors said the amendment did not go far enough in protecting investors from developers who had delayed construction indefinitely.

“It is taking away our rights from the way the law was originally written,” said Nigel Knight, a homebuyer and member of the Dubai Property Investors Group.

The investors’ group handed the Land Department a petition last week asking for a meeting to discuss concerns it has with the amendment.

A Dubai Land Department spokesman could not be reached yesterday.

Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Comment of the day

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 14, 2009


Comment by “Criminology Professor” to Al  Fajer Properties – April 8, 2009 – Dubai court postpones 1,9 Billion Dollar case against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher bin Juma Al Maktoum, Sheikh Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum and Sheikha Maryam

In criminology, state crime is activity or failures to act that break the state’s own criminal law or public international law. For these purposes, A “state” is defined as the appointed officials, the bureaucracy, and the institutions, bodies and organisations comprising the apparatus of the government. In this situation the sheikh is not alone, the role of the state as one of the possible perpetrators of crime whether directly or in the context of state-corporate crime must be examined.

One way of examining state crimes is to study the occurence of a trend by the state security forces, whether the state respects human rights in the exercise of its powers.

A classical situation is when, the state is directly involved in excessive secrecy and cover-ups, disinformation, and unaccountability which often reflect upper-class, royalty and nonpluralistic interests, and infringe human rights and the state laws. One of the key issues is the extent to which, if at all, state crime can be controlled. Often state crimes are revealed by an investigative news agency resulting in scandals but, even among first world democratic states, it is difficult to maintain genuinely independent control over the criminal enforcement mechanisms and few senior officers of the state are held personally accountable. When the citizens of second and third world countries which may be of a more authoritarian nature, seek to hold their leaders accountable, the problems become more acute. Public opinion, media attention, and public protests, whether violent or nonviolent, may all be criminalised as political crimes and suppressed, while critical international comments are of little real value.

In a state where there is dictatorship and reoccurence of State Crimes, it will result in fostering organized crime, corruption, and authoritarianism. In some third world countries, this political atmosphere has encouraged repression and the use of torture.

JUDGING THIS CASE AGAINST THE SHEIKHS:
THIS IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF A STATE CRIME, WHERE THE STATE INSTITUITIONS BREAK THE RULE OF LAW TO SERVE THE ROYAL FAMILY MEMBERS

Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

ACI Real Estate Dubai Niki Lauda Tower Project – Define Properties executive detained

Posted by 7starsdubai on April 10, 2009


source The National

DUBAI // A principal shareholder of Define Properties has been detained by Dubai authorities on provisional charges of fraud, prosecutors said today.

The arrest of the executive comes in the middle of negotiations with Alternative Capital Invest Real Estate (ACI), a Germany-based property developer operating in Dubai, to take over some of Define’s assets.

The major shareholder was arrested in mid-March after complaints were filed by an investor in Define Properties, said Tarek Daoud, the administration director of the company. He said the amount being sought by the investor was close to Dh30 million (US$8.1m).

“He is arrested and in Bur Dubai police station,” Mr Daoud said. A lawyer for the detained executive did not return messages today.

Robin Lohmann, the managing director of ACI, said the arrest would not disrupt his company’s negotiations with Define Properties.

“It is not affecting our deal,” Mr Lohmann said. “We are negotiating over a different part of the company that is unrelated to this case.”

Earlier this year, ACI took over the Niki Lauda Twin Towers in Business Bay from Define Properties after construction stalled and the future of the project appeared to be in jeopardy.

ACI had marketed and sold units in the building last year, but Define Properties was still responsible for building it. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Case Dynasty Zarooni – Dubai Prosecutors Rejected Bail of Kabir Mulchandani

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 25, 2009


source WallStreetJournal 7starsdubai

Dubai prosecutors Sunday rejected a bail application from Dynasty Zarooni‘s Chairman Kabir Mulchandani who is being held by police on 450 million U.A.E. dirhams ($123 million) fraud allegations, according to documents seen by Zawya Dow Jones.

Mulchandani, who couldn’t be contacted by Zawya Dow Jones, has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Ayman Merdas, a lawyer for Global Advocates & Legal Consultants representing Mulchandani declined to comment when called by Zawya Dow Jones Monday.

Mulchandani applied for bail on March 11 but was refused March 22, according to the Public Prosecution document seen by Zawya Dow Jones.

The Dubai public prosecutor handling the Dynasty Zarooni case couldn’t be reached Tuesday.

-By Stefania Bianchi, Dow Jones Newswires, +9714 364 4967 Stefania Bianchi@dowjones.com

more about this case from Archive 7StarsDubai

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Al Fajer Properties Case opened on Wednesday – lawsuit also targets Sheikh Hasher Maktoum`s daughter as a partner of the firm and the son, Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Maktoum

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 17, 2009


DUBAI, Mar 11, 2009 source Zawya

An Iranian businessman ( Shahram Abdulla Zadeh )  is suing members of Dubai’s ruling family for close to two billion dollars over real estate investments, in a case which opened on Wednesday.

Shahram Abdullah Zadeh, former CEO of Al-Fajer Properties
who was fired in 2008, has filed the lawsuit against the firm and its owner Sheikh Hasher Maktoum bin Jumaa al-Maktoum, a brother-in-law of the emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

The lawsuit also targets Sheikh Hasher’s daughter as a partner of the firm and a son, Sheikh Maktoum, who has since been appointed president of Al-Fajer, according to legal documents obtained by AFP.

The case demands the “recovery of all material assets of Al-Fajer Properties
which gave no immediate reaction to the opening of the case.

Zadeh insists he was the real owner of the company and the only investor.

He had used Sheikh Hasher’s name to obtain the firm’s licence, as foreigners are not allowed to register real estate companies under their own name in the United Arab Emirates.

“I was the sole investor. Al-Fajer Properties
is my company. Sheikh Hasher’s only contribution has been the real estate licence as a sponsor,” he told AFP.

Zadeh is demanding seven billion dirhams (1.9 billion dollars), which “includes the plaintiff’s investments and the return on them,” his lawyer Salem al-Shaali said.

“We have enough documents to prove he was the sole investor,” he added.

Only a representative of the plaintiff’s lawyer was in the Dubai court of first instance for the hearing, which lasted a few minutes. The court’s list named Al-Fajer as the defendant, with no mention of the Maktoums.

The judge referred to them by numbers before the hearing was adjourned to April 8.

Zadeh has said he was detained by Dubai police without charge for 60 days last year, at the same time as he was dismissed, and that his passport was confiscated for a year, without an explanation.

The civil case comes as several executives from high-profile Dubai firms are held on suspicion of embezzlement and as the once booming regional business and tourism hub struggles to stave off the impact of the global economic slowdown.

ak/hc

also pulished in Press TV

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Comment of the Week – to Al Fajer Properties Dubai

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 11, 2009


I am not a lawyer, but as a real estate investor I am familiar with the real estate license being registered in the name of a local because the laws do not permit a non UAE national to be the owner of a real estate company. Every single real estate company I know has done the same thing.

The big question is,

IF ZADEH IS SAYING IT SO OPENLY IN THE PUBLIC MEDIA THAT SHEIKH HASHER MAKTOUM HAS NOT INVESTED A SINGLE DIRHAM INTO AL FAJER PROPERTIES, WHY IS SHEIKH HASHER MAKTOUM NOT REPLYING? IF ZADEH IS NOT TELLING THE TRUTH SURELY THE SHEIKH SHOULD BE COMING FORWARD WITH A STRONG STATEMENT AND PROOF OF FUNDS HE HAS PAID INTO AL FAJER PROPERTIES!!!

BY KEEPING QUIET SHEIKH HASHER MAKTOUM AND AL FAJER PROPERTIES ARE CONFIRMING WHAT ZADEH IS SAYING THAT THE COMPANY BELONGS TO HIM AND SHEIKH HASHER MAKTOUM HAS NOT INVESTED A SINGLE DIRHAM INTO THE COMPANY!!!!!!!!!!!

I don’t know any of the parties involved. I fail to understand why they have taken over Al fajer Properties when zadeh was detained without any charges for 2 months???? wHY THE AUTHORITIES ARE NOT REPLYING ABOUT THE 2 MONTHS JAIL WITHOUT CHARGES??This is going to damage dubai’s reputation and will hurt the rest of the real estate market because at the end, dubai will be regarded as a city that investors do not have the basic security. So what is the difference between Dubai and Zimbabwe? Mugabe did the same to my parents’ farms.

Very sad, because it affects all our businesses.

Dear John, I am sure sheikh hasher maktoum is an honorable man in your eyes but sheikh hasher and zadeh have to be treated equally under the law or we have to accept Dubai is Zimbabwe

read more about ….. Al Fajer Properties

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Al Fajer Properties – Comment of the day

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 5, 2009


dubai-2009-globus-small1I 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?

Al Fajer Employee
22. February 2009

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Al Fajer Properties Scandal – Comment of the day

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 4, 2009


what-aboutComment of the day – to 7starsdubai by Sulaiman

May be Altik you have been coming here for 30 years and have seen the locals stealing from the foreigners. But that is wrong to say all locals are the same. The big fuss is that its the first time a sheikh from the al maktoum family stealing a company from its true owner, threatening the staff and then going ahead to partner with a crook like kabir mulchandani in a mass misrepresentation campaign showing construction photos that don’t exist and cheating investors thanks to the arrogant support of sheikh maktoum hasher al maktoum the nephew of the dubai ruler.

Dubai is not a bad place and has wonderful people, its just that the law is not enforced equally and that has been more evident recently. Dubai can not afford to continue to allow such injustice towards investors while a junior member of the royal family is pocketing the money.

Sheikh mohammed himself is a man of law and order, its the clan around him who are corrupted and take advantage of the situation. That happens in many countries by the way, but normally the courts are supposed to be independent, in here unfortunately, dubai police, public prosecution, courts are all biased towards prominent locals who get away from such criminal acts as al fajer properties and dynasty zarooni.

read more about …..

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Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum Interview – The easy money maker – From the Archive

Posted by 7starsdubai on March 4, 2009


Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum bin Juma al Maktoum loves to win – on the racing track and in business, writes Andrew Cave

original published in 2007  telegraph uk

maktoum-hasher-maktoum-faceSheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum is sitting surrounded by bodyguards trying to explain how easy it has been to make money in booming Dubai.

“If you invested 10pc down, say $300,000, in new-build properties and waited for them to be built and rented out, over five years the rent increased so much that if you sold them you could get profits of $10m,” he says at his family-owned Jumeirah Carlton Hotel in Knightsbridge.

Dubai has had the highest yield return for offices anywhere in the world, and it is still very high-yielding.”

Similar returns have apparently been available all over the tiny emirate state, according to Maktoum, a nephew of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed.

Large villas on The Palms, the controversial offshore development popular with Premiership footballers, could be bought for £630,000 six years ago, he says. They now fetch £2.5m.

“Anyone who bought there would have made a killing,” says Maktoum, who clearly did so himself. “I bought a couple,” he confirms, adding that his investment success helped increase his company’s value tenfold in four years.”

Maktoum, 30, who is dyslexic, seems to have found that grand prix racing cars are pretty profitable too, even if they did wreak collateral damage on his slender frame.

“I have broken every bone in my body except my spinal column motor racing, skiing, mountain biking: anything that involved danger,” he says.

At the age of 26, Maktoum set up A1 Grand Prix as a winter “world cup of motorsport” to rival Formula One, launching the venture in 2004 and selling out last year after a successful first year of competition. Hedge fund group RAB Capital bought 80pc of the venture for a reported £100m.

So how much money did he make?

Maktoum starts to look nervous. He’s apparently not allowed to say, as part of the contractual arrangements of the sale, but suggestions by a trade newspaper that he pocketed £5m profit look to be a bit light.

“I cannot say I did not make £5m,” he says eventually, “but had someone offered me that, I would not have taken it.”

“I achieved all my financial goals,” says Maktoum. “I had a very, very nice return on my investment. It was a project for me to prove myself; something for me to get my teeth into. And it has been a huge success.

“I sold it because I achieved my financial targets. It took me three years. It was a very challenging project but it has proved what I can do.

“A1 was a big risk. I planned the whole project myself.” Maktoum hadn’t lain idle before that. He helped his father run Al Fajer Group, one of the largest office contractors and developers in Dubai and was one of the founding investors in the first Virgin Megastore in the United Arab Emirates.

He also became a big personal investor in property. Now he plans to go into consumer electronics through his holding company DIHC.

So is he setting himself up as Dubai’s answer to Sir Alan Sugar?

Maktoum shrugs off the comparison but is hugely excited about the mass market product he is patenting. He thinks it can become very, very big. But does he really need to make even more money? He takes the question seriously. “When you achieve most of your dreams by the age of 30, you can become very introspective,” he says.

“The most important things in life are friends and family. I think you have to achieve a blend. You have to try to give something back. I don’t want to be the richest man in the human race. That’s not my game.”

Instead, he says he has been approached to help his state government in a fund management project and also has opportunities to get involved with hedge funds and to go on the board of a US private equity group.

Maktoum has the well-mannered poise of many of his oil-rich contemporaries. Still single, he is bashful about his private life and the delicate question of how much he is worth. He is predictably supportive of Dubai’s increasing involvement in western capital markets, such as Dubai Ports World’s £3.3bn takeover of Britain’s ports and ferries group P&O in 2005, and Dubai International Capital’s purchase of Tussauds Group.

He also applauds Sheikh Mohammed’s huge development of Dubai’s tourism industry to make up for the expected loss of oil revenues.

“It’s a very efficient way to move,” he says. “If you are the government, you want to make the economy efficient and generate less red tape.

“Sheikh Mohammed has seen the challenges ahead and is responding to them. He is a real visionary.

“There is still a lot of value being created in Dubai. Last year we had one of the biggest stock market crash anywhere in the world, with stock prices going down by 60pc to 70pc, but it is still a pretty rewarding place, which has had some of the best stock market growth anywhere in the world.

“Fifty years ago, Dubai was a little desert oasis. Dubai now is like the swinging 1920s in America. We have had a big crash. It is not to say that we will not have a big crash again, but there has been a lot of success as well.”

It’s easy to be sanguine about a financial crisis when you took sufficient precautions beforehand. Maktoum’s claim that he has a “gut instinct” for finance and markets seems to have been borne out by his actions this time.

“A month before the crash, I thought something was happening and sold a lot of my investments,” he says.

“Part of my success is that I am not greedy… You want to leave a party while it is still going on. You don’t want to leave at 3am. I want to leave something when it feels good.”

Read also: Criminal complaint filed in Germany against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum

and

Shahram Zadeh Lawsuit against Al Fajer Properties Dubai

and

Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre, Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Al Maktoum | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum Interview – The easy money maker – From the Archive

Al Fajer Properties Dubai – For all who ask 7starsDubai about a construction Update Jumeriah Business Centre 8 and 9, or Ebony and Ivory Tower by Al Fajer Properties – Dynasty Zarooni

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 25, 2009


Here we go. Construction Update Jumeirah Business Centre 9  , Plot H3 the so called Ebony Tower Jumeirah Lake Towers Dubai, construction status 15 February 2009, original published Skyscrapercity

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RERA Dubai – Dubai Property Investor Group Petition – Surprise

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 22, 2009


http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090222/BUSINESS/942576581/1051/rss

DUBAI
The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) and a group of private property investors will combine to create an investor’s advisory panel that will provide feedback to the Government as it tries to resolve disputes.

Marwan bin Ghalita, the chief executive of RERA, agreed to the plan during a meeting with the Dubai Property Investors Group, a coalition of more than 350 investors that was formed after sales began to slow last year. Group members say they are concerned about the safety of their investments and ability to get their money back if a developer cancels a project or refuses to start construction.

“We want to protect the real estate investors,” Mr Ghalita said. “We are studying project by project… Once we have enough information about a project, we will intervene as a regulator.”

Ludmila Yamalova, a lawyer with MAC Davidson & Associates and a member of the investors group, said she was encouraged by the meeting with Mr Ghalita.

“Until today’s meeting, we felt that the Government was in denial,” she said. “But he was very welcoming to investors. He said we all made mistakes, investors and developers. Now we need to solve the problems and move forward.”

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CEO RERA Dubai: “Dubai is like a movie star, and just like a movie star everyone is looking at us, adding more pressure.”

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 13, 2009


KippReport

http://www.kippreport.com/kipp/2009/02/12/is-dubai-acting-smart/?bnr=1

confusion“Dubai is like a movie star, and just like a movie star everyone is looking at us, adding more pressure.”

That’s what Marwan Bin Ghalita, the CEO of Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) told Emirates Business, explaining that the city’s success is leading to incorrect media rumors about cancellations of property projects in the city.

A recent report by HSBC said that $75 billion worth of projects are being cancelled in the UAE, but a Morgan Stanley report put the number at $263 billion.

Rera’s CEO, however, says the authority is still “studying the market at present.” He rubbished a list that is doing the rounds, telling Al Bayan that “The list was not accurate and not true simply because it was not issued by Rera, Department of Lands or any official relevant body. Those behind the list are only seeking to raise fears and panic so as to make narrow gains.”

“We understand the feelings of worry resulted from the impact of the global financial crisis but we are against the unjustifiable panic, exaggeration and hitting under the belt by some for the sake of making illegitimate ends,” he added.

While the list is possibly inaccurate (Kipp did try to ascertain some projects earlier, but was unable to confirm the status of several projects), it has been more than three months since the effect of the economic slowdown began to be felt in Dubai’s real estate sector.  Hundreds of people have been laid off from their jobs in the property sector, with developers blaming it on postponement or cancellation of projects; and financial houses like HSBC and Morgan Stanley have already come out with their lists.

Rera will be releasing “accurate data next week that would show the true picture of Dubai’s real estate market.”

“We didn’t announce any cancellation of projects especially those sold to investors, and this is a stabilizing factor which can contribute to further boosting confidence in the vibrant real estate market in Dubai,” Ghalita told Al Bayan. “We want to send a clear message that we have confidence in the city,” he told Emirates Business.

Well, Kipp isn’t sure how confident investors are of the movie star’s talents.

 

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Now it getting agressive in Dubai ? – Hunting complaining Investors – Dynasty Zarooni Fraud – Kabir Mulchandani hit back with a counterclaim

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 13, 2009


http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/64f5823c-f945-11dd-90c1-000077b07658.html?nclick_check=1

fraudThe executive at the centre of $100m fraud allegations rocking Dubai’s property sector has hit back with a counterclaim that his accusers have defaulted on more than $18m of debts owed to his company.

Kabir Mulchandani, chairman of Dynasty Zarooni, claimed that a series of cheques written by investors had bounced as the real estate industry’s fortunes plunged late last year.

The case – involving one of Dubai’s largest private real estate companies – highlights concerns that the emirate’s legal system is poorly equipped to cope with the slew of disputes arising as the sector turns sour.

Dynasty and Mr Mulchandani deny investor allegations of fraud and misrepresentation of the group’s property portfolio.

In an interview at Dubai’s Port Rashid police station, where he has been held since last month, Mr Mulchandani told the Financial Times he was pursuing cheques totalling Dh68m ($18.5m, €14.5m, £13m) that were written by Dynasty investors to pay for property. He claimed they bounced in late December as the international financial crisis hit the emirate’s business community.

dynasty-zarooniHe said: “Certain key investors who had issued post-dated cheques to us got caught in the financial trap. They could not pay.”

Mr Mulchandani said he suspected the investors whose cheques he alleges bounced – a criminal offence in Dubai – had made the accusations of fraud against him because they saw it as a way to recover money after the market fell.

Salem Al Shaali, who is representing investors claiming up to Dh280m from Dynasty, admitted some of their cheques had not cleared. But he said this was because his clients had decided not to honour the cheques because of their suspicions about Mr Mulchandani.

His clients had deposited cheques covering the money they owed, he added, showing that they had the ability to pay if their allegations against the company were satisfactorily addressed.

Hundreds of complaints have been made against Mr Mulchandani, but the initial claims at the heart of the case came from 10 individuals known as Dynasty’s “investment club”. Mr Shaali said: “Mr Mulchandani broke Dubai’s real estate laws by selling properties without a proper licence and misrepresenting construction progress at the buildings”.

Mr Mulchandani, an Indian national, said he was being well treated in custody but expressed frustration at the time taken to investigate a case in which he said he had “nothing to hide”. He is expecting a hearing this week over whether he can receive bail.

He said: “This is a wonderful country but … it is still gearing up to deal with these complaints, because this is the first time they have had a property meltdown.”

The Dynasty imbroglio is a further blow to confidence in Dubai as it scrambles to cope with the sudden end of a six-year property boom on which a good part of its modern-day wealth is founded.

More than 25 executives have been detained over the past year in anti-corruption investigations at state-linked property companies, while lawyers say more claims against private sector property developers are likely to emerge this year as prices collapse and funding dries up.

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RERA Hits Back – Dubai RERA CEO said: “The investor should feel happy when he sees the authorities hit with an iron fist all those who put interests of the city and investors at risk.

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 13, 2009


http://www.7days.ae/storydetails.php?id=73857&title=RERA%20hits%20back

justice2Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) has denied receiving a letter signed by 300 real estate investors, developers and advocates expressing concerns over the fate of their investment in the emirate.

In their letter, they demanded RERA act before prices in the real estate market crash, according to a report published by Zawya Dow Jones news web site, which also blamed the RERA CEO of declining to comment on the issue.

Marwan bin Ghalita, CEO of Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), branded the news as absolutely untrue. “Personally, I did neither receive a letter of this kind nor any call from the said news web site or other,” he affirmed in a statement.

He added that RERA could not have made any regulatory achievements in the real estate market if it had not been keeping regular contacts with developers, brokers and investors alike.

It was reported that the petitioners demanded RERA to take measures to bring the situation under control especially following recent financial investigations into several property companies, a move which raised questions about RERA standards.

Commenting on this, the RERA CEO said: “The investor should feel happy when he sees the authorities hit with an iron fist all those who put interests of the city and investors at risk. It’s illogical that such a measure could feed concerns… on the contrary it should send a message of confidence and assurance across the board.”

marwanbinghalita-reraHe explained that RERA had, since its creation about one year ago, been taking tremendous efforts to regulate the real estate sector by issuing flexible regulations at bar with the highest possible level of transparency.

Answering a question about a list being circulated on the internet about tens of cancelled or delayed developments, the RERA CEO affirmed: “The list was not accurate and not true simply because it was not issued by RERA, Department of Lands or any official relevant body. Those behind the list are only seeking to raise fears and panic so as to make narrow gains.”

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Affected Dubai Property Investors started Petition to RERA Dubai in January 2009

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 12, 2009


to get more information please click on this link:

http://groups.google.com/group/dubai-property-investors/browse_thread/thread/8efbb7983955fc97?hl=en

 

the link to the letter, hand delivered Petition, to RERA Dubai Januar 2009, against Real Estate Practices that harm Dubai

http://dubai-property-investors.googlegroups.com/web/The+Petition144.pdf?hl=en&gda=EtP61kUAAABCDKK3M95qOHhW6MrAvHpOv6-qWixPv2gLwjFoEVch5D-z-44yj33cbUGq43XpXhMcn8WIbWh5zqeDKtDBmq67Gu1iLHeqhw4ZZRj3RjJ_-A

or

http://groups.google.com/group/dubai-property-investors/files?hl=en

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News from Dynasty Zarooni and Al Fajer Properties – I’m the victim’, says property tycoon

Posted by 7starsdubai on February 12, 2009


http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090211/BUSINESS/886702850/1051

  • Last Updated: February 11. 2009 10:28PM UAE / February 11. 2009 6:28PM GMT
  • fraud1Kabir Mulchandani, an Indian property tycoon detained by police in Dubai, says people who are accusing him of fraud are trying to get out of investments that turned sour because of the property downturn.

    The chairman of Dynasty Zarooni is being held because more than 25 investors, with claims worth Dh280 million (US$76.2m), have accused him of fraudulently selling them property and running an illegal investment scheme, a lawyer for the investors said. Mr Mulchandani, 36, denies the accusations and says he is being targeted by a group of investors who are unable to meet their obligations as the property market deteriorates.

    “I am the victim here,” he said. “After Lehman Brothers went bust the world changed… The system is being misused by certain individuals who are just wanting money and wanting to get out of commitments they have made that they are not able to fulfil because the market has turned.”

    Mr Mulchandani said his case was likely to be a predecessor to a rash of similar cases caused by the decline in the property market. Dubai property prices have fallen by about 25 per cent since hitting a peak last year.

    “It is going to turn into a bloodbath of attacks by investors who just want to get out of obligations,” he said. “Do you think I would be sitting here had the market been OK?”

    Dynasty Zarooni, a joint venture between Mr Mulchandani and Hilal al Zarooni, an Emirati businessman, is one of the highest profile property companies to come under scrutiny by the authorities since the property market began to fall late last year. The company was the top newspaper advertising buyer in the Emirates last year, spending $14.6m and topping the likes of Nakheel and Emaar Properties, according to figures from the Pan Arab Research Centre. Its advertising spending ranked 10th across the Middle East.

    The company, founded in 2005, is a property resale and marketing operation. It has bought entire buildings off-plan from developers with a bulk discount and re-sold floors and units to investors at a premium. Then, as a service to these core investors, it would market the buildings prominently around the country to facilitate their resale to retail buyers. Usually, Dynasty Zarooni would play a middleman role for the first payments and then contracts would be issued between the buyer and the developer, cutting the company out of the deal.

    It sold 29 buildings in this way last year, according to executives. The business was profitable, with Mr Mulchandani planning a foray into New York City property before his arrest.

    He lives in the Emirates Hills development in Dubai.

    A group of investors, however, allege Mr Mulchandani built his company by misleading investors, according to Salem al Shaali, a lawyer representing several investors.

    One of the allegations is that Dynasty Zarooni displayed one building and sold another.Investors said they were shown buildings that were several storeys high, and told that they were the Ebony and Ivory towers. They bought dozens of units, and in some cases several floors, of the buildings. The buildings were also misrepresented in advertising, the investors say.

    One advertisement in a daily newspaper on July 23 last year showed 24 photographs of “round the work” progress on the Ebony and Ivory projects. A caption for the photographs reads: “Shot at location on 10th June 2008. Ebony & Ivory – Jumeirah Lakes Towers.”

     In fact, the images showed other buildings in the Jumeirah Business Centre complex that were further advanced in construction.

    Work on the Ebony and Ivory towers plots still has advanced only to shoring and piling. A contractor has yet to be chosen for the Dh2 billion project.

    sandhole-g32The Picture shows the construction Status of today 2009, Ivory Tower ( or named Juemirah Business Centre 9, Developer Al Fajer Properties, Jumeirah Lake Towers Dubai)

    Al Fajer Properties, the developer of Ebony and Ivory towers, said a construction contract would soon be signed for the towers, which it said were to be finished between next year and 2012.    An Al Fajer spokesman declined to comment on the issue.

    Mr Mulchandani said the advertisements were meant to show the larger Jumeirah Business Centre complex and depict Al Fajer as a hard-working developer.

    “I don’t believe it is misrepresentative in any way,” he said.

    He said the company had sold the entire building in April and that the investors involved in claims against him had signed contracts that detailed which plot of land the buildings were to be built on.

    Claims have emerged involving other projects that were bought and resold by Dynasty Zarooni, including the Sheffield Classique and Al Qoraishi Tower, according to Mr al Shaali.

    Imran Karim, the son of an investor taking action against Mr Mulchandani, said his father, Abid Karim, was sold units in the Classique and Al Qoraishi Tower under the impression that Dynasty Zarooni was the developer.

    Mr Mulchandani said he never represented himself as a developer.

    Officials from Sheffield Real Estate and Baiti Properties Development, the developer behind the Al Qoraishi Tower, declined to comment.

    Another allegation against Mr Mulchandani is that he created an illegal “investment club” where 12 investors were invited to pay Dh300,000 a month for 12 months for a guaranteed return of up to Dh1m a month. After six months, they expected to redeem their investments, but Mr Mulchandani did not pay, investors said.

    One such investor, Mohammed Arif, who also invested with Dynasty Zarooni in several properties, said he had Dh25m with Mr Mulchandani and projects sold by Mr Mulchandani.

    “I invested a lot of money with him,” he said. “I fear the money is gone.”

    Mr Mulchandani said the Dh300,000 was actually a membership fee for 12 investors who bought from him in bulk. The fee would give the members the first right of refusal to buy up to 5 per cent of buildings that Dynasty Zarooni acquired, as well as use of the Dynasty Zarooni offices for resales. The fee also contributed to advertising, he added.

    Marwan bin Ghalita, the chief executive of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), declined to comment on the accusations against Dynasty Zarooni. In November, RERA stated that there were no complaints against Dynasty Zarooni, after allegations in two Indian publications that the company had sold projects while representing to investors that they were buying another project.

    Officials from the Dubai Public Prosecution declined to give details on the cases, but confirmed staff members were investigating the claims.

    Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre, Kabir Mulchandani | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on News from Dynasty Zarooni and Al Fajer Properties – I’m the victim’, says property tycoon

    An Example of : The differenence between PR and Reality – 5 Towers Jumeirah Business Centres will be delivered in September 2009 ?????

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 12, 2009


    Jumeirah Business Centre 1 , Developer Al Fajer Properties  was launched Dezember 2005. Sold within a few weeks after the launch, said by the company. The completion of this Office Tower was announced first for end 2007 , after this end 2008 and now end….. of year ……… ???

    The History between PR and Reality show this pictures:

    Happy going ? …. 2006   sand-castle-photo-july-20062

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Construction Status of Jumeirah Business Centre 1,launched in December 2005,  Plot G2, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Al Fajer Properties 

    jbc-1-2007-01

     

     

    Jumeirah Business Centre  1 by Al Fajer Properties Construction Status in May 2007

     

     

     

    jbc1-feb-2009-panorama1Panorama of February 2009 shows that the Towers around Jumeirah Business  Centre 1( those Towers around also launched in 2005) are still ready.

    The completion of the Jumeirah Business Centre 1, the first ever launched Tower of Al Fajer Properties is…………. ??????????

    Latest interview , February 2009,with the project Manager , construction company, for Al Fajer Properties:

    o3. Feb. 2009 7days.ae  

     http://www.7days.ae/storydetails.php?id=73328%20%20%20%20&page=local%20news&title=Riding%20out

    ………“[The atmosphere in construction] is a bit depressed, but I think Dubai and the UAE in general is much better off in general than the rest of the world,” said Andre van Schalkwyk of Al Ahmadiah Contracting and Trading (AAC), who is site manager of Al Fajer Properties’ Jumeirah Business Centre.

    He added however, that his workers are more confident of their position, as he believes AAC will outlive the downturn.

    “The workers are not anxious, AAC has a very stable working environment and we tend not to over extend ourselves, which makes it much easier to get through downturns, particularly of this magnitude. I think we’re a lot better off than a lot of other companies,” he said.
    Van Schalkwyk has been working in construction in Dubai for six years and has always found it challenging.
    “[Challenges] are very simple – usually time and Dubai has a knack for changing things very suddenly!”
    “It’s the changing environment that is your biggest challenge in the whole construction industry,” he said.

    His current development with Al Fajer Properties is the largest he has been involved with since coming to Dubai, although he has been part of big projects such as Ibn Battuta Mall.
    Jumeirah Business Centre is a group of five high-rise office buildings in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers development, which are scheduled to be delivered this September.

    “The biggest challenge [with this project] is having to do five towers running exactly on the same timeframe, while not being located on the same plot. They’re in the same area but not on the same plot, that is a serious challenge, because projects are usually phased,” van Schalkwyk said.
    Back when the centre got started, he also had to deal with the cement shortage, which he said affected them “quite seriously”.However, he is “fairly confident” of reaching the September deadline for the new development.
    “After His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum came on board, it changed the whole management structure of the Al Fajer Group and we’re now managing to accelerate the project quite dramatically. We’re actually doing very well – we’re running slabs at around six, sometimes five, working days cycles,” he said.
    When Sheikh Maktoum became president of Al Fajer Properties (AFP) in March last year, workers were working days and knocking off at night, but now construction takes place round the clock with the workers doing shiftwork in order to meet the delivery date.

    In fact, a lot of changes have taken place at AFP so that it can streamline its business and meet its obligations.
    Joseph Paul, finance manager at AFP, told 7DAYS that a “planning and financial restructuring” had taken place last March, which resulted in the entire land bank of the company being disposed of by the middle of last year.
    “[This] has turned out to be an excellent decision, keeping in view the current drastic devaluation of land,” he said.
    “Because of apt and timely decisions, AFP is still in a robust position to operate with zero debt, even in this worst scenario of world economic recession.”

    Van Schalkwyk also sees the upside of downturn, particularly for real estate and construction.
    “I think there will be a lot more stability and sense in the market. My personal belief is that the downturn at the moment is a bit of a blessing in disguise – it will stabilise the market and I believe we will get a much more healthy growth afterwards,” he said.

    And despite the myriad announcements of job cuts in the sector, he feels construction won’t stay down for long.
    “I think in the next two to three years, the workforce will shrink overall – but then it will grow again,” he said.

    Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on An Example of : The differenence between PR and Reality – 5 Towers Jumeirah Business Centres will be delivered in September 2009 ?????

    Three detained in Dubai corruption probe

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 11, 2009


    http://www.arabianbusiness.com/546445-three-detained-in-dubai-corruption-probe

    moneylaundrydirahmDubai authorities investigating alleged fraud among local property companies and banks have detained three senior managers at Nakheel’s Waterfront development.Two of those held are confirmed to be Australian nationals, who were detained after questioning on Jan.25 in relation to allegations of bribery, the Australian Foreign Ministry told UK daily the Financial Times.

     

    One of the Australian detainees is former Waterfront managing director Matt Joyce, who was made redundant from Waterfront last month, it was reported on Wednesday

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Dubai | Tagged: | Comments Off on Three detained in Dubai corruption probe

    Dubai Fraud alligations – The Case Dynasty Zarooni: Complaint at Dubai Police now also against Al Fajer Properties

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 10, 2009


    original published Financial Times

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2af58370-e013-11dd-9ee9-000077b07658.html?nclick_check=1

     

    fraud1Dubai Police are investigating fraud allegations against the chairman of one of Dubai’s largest private real estate companies as dozens of aggrieved investors claim he defrauded them of more than $100m.

    Kabir Mulchandani, the chairman of Dynasty Zarooni, was arrested last week on allegations of fraud and is helping with inquiries, police officers told the Financial Times.

    At least 10 members of Dynasty Zarooni’s ”investment club”, which last year promised vast profits from the company’s preferential access to real estate deals, have lodged complaints against Mr Mulchandani, an Indian national, his Emirati business partner, Hilal Al Zarooni, their joint venture Dynasty Zarooni, and two other employees.

    Investors say that Mr Mulchandani in March received subscription fees of Dh300,000 a month from 12 members. He promised them returns of Dh1m a month after six months, or Dh6m, in September, they say.

    One British loser says he was encouraged by initial profits made by another club member, who had reinvested the proceeds into the scheme rather than taking the cash.

    The fraud allegations weigh further on Dubai’s financial hangover as its six-year property boom fizzles out, with investor confidence hitting rock bottom as people are marooned in an illiquid, declining market while developers are hamstrung by financing difficulties.

    More than 25 executives have been detained in an anti-corruption investigation at state-linked property companies. None have gone to trial yet, but the arrests have had an impact on investor confidence in Dubai.

    News of the complaints against the chairman could raise concerns among other investors in Dynasty Zarooni’s claimed Dh21bn real estate portfolio.

    Mr Zarooni denied any participation in, or knowledge of, a fraudulent scheme. ”One hundred per cent I deny this, there is nothing illegal whatsoever,” he said.

    Mr Mulchandani, who has been detained but is seeking bail, could not be reached for comment. He denied any wrongdoing in a local press interview last week.

    Lawyers say more than 100 other investors are preparing cases against Dynasty Zarooni over misrepresentation during the sale of its real estate projects.

    ebony-ivory-al-fajer-properties-plot-h3-g3-jlt-dubaiOne aggrieved investor, who in May placed a 20 per cent deposit on an apartment in Ebony Tower 1, opposite the Dubai Marina, for Dh650,000, yesterday lodged a complaint with the police against Dynasty Zarooni and their development partners, Al Fajer Properties, for allegedly misleading him about the progress made on the building’s construction, thereby raising the supposed value of the property. ”I have been cheated and am very distressed,” he said.

    The cases, if they go to trial, could seek the recovery of hundreds of millions of UAE dirhams, said Salem Shaali, managing partner at Al Shaali & Co, which is representing the victims of the alleged fraud.

    This could develop into one of the UAE’s largest fraud cases if other individual investors in Dynasty Zarooni come forward, he said.

    Posted in Dubai, Jumeirah Business Centre, Kabir Mulchandani | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

    Dubai Dynasty Zarooni Fraud Allegations Widen,Bail At AED400M

    Posted by 7starsdubai on February 4, 2009


    http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm/sidZW20090124000023/%3D%20Dubai%20Dynasty%20Zarooni%20Fraud%20Allegations%20Widen,Bail%20At%20AED400M/
     
            By Stefania Bianchi

            Of ZAWYA DOW JONES

            DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)–Dubai’s public prosecution has raised the bail to 400 million U.A.E. dirhams ($108 million) for Dynasty Zarooni’s Chairman Kabir Mulchandani, who is being held by police on fraud allegations, as more aggrieved investors lodge complaints, officials said.

            Mulchandani, whose mobile phone was turned off when called by Zawya Dow Jones Thursday, has previously denied any wrongdoing.

            An official at the public prosecution told Zawya Dow Jones that Mulchandani is being held on allegations of “fraud and embezzlement” and that he would have to pay the full bail amount in order to be released.

            According to lawyers at Al Shaali & Co., one of a number of Dubai-based law firms acting on behalf of the investors pursuing Mulchandani, the cases against the Indian businessman and Dynasty Zarooni involves projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi worth more than AED5 billion.

            “We’re currently handling about AED500 million worth of cases,” Said Al Akkad from Al Shaali & Co. said Thursday.

            The law firm says the final value of cases against Dynasty Zarooni could rise much higher as other investors involved in Dynasty Zarooni’s apparent AED21 billion real estate portfolio come forward.

            “There are a lot more investors out there who want to file complaints against Dynasty Zarooni. The whole process takes a long time,” said Al Akkad.

            Mulchandani was arrested by police in early January and has since been referred to the public prosecution. Mulchandani’s bail was set at AED76 million when he was first arrested.

            Hilal Al Zarooni, Mulchandani’s local partner in Dubai, referred Zawya Dow Jones to his lawyers Global Advocates & Legal Consultants when called. Global, who are also representing Mulchandani and the company Dynasty Zarooni, declined to comment on the case.

            COMPLAINTS

            Investors at six of Dynasty Zarooni’s developments worth approximately AED6.35 billion have so far lodged complaints with the police, according to Al Shaali & Co.

            The complaints so far refer to property at the company’s Ebony & Ivory, Berlin Tower, K Hotel, Panoramic Heights, Sheffield Classique and Al Quorashi Tower developments. The cases include the taking of deposits and installment payments without depositing the money into an escrow account, the issuing of contracts worth just AED1 after the full value of the property has been paid and the misrepresentation of property during the sale.

            Some investors at the Ebony and Ivory project in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers district have also lodged a complaint with the police against Dynasty Zarooni for allegedly misleading them about the progress made on the building’s construction. Prominent advertising campaigns in Dubai showed pictures of the Ebony and Ivory real estate project under construction 24 hours a day, but a visit to the site by Zawya Dow Jones revealed that no work was underway.

            In an advertising campaign published in local media last year the company said that as a company it had earned AED20 billion in revenue, as well as AED6 billion for its investors.

            Lawyers say Mulchandani is also being investigated for allegations that he conned a small group of wealthy investors into pledging large sums of money with the promise of a hefty monthly return.

            Investors interviewed by Zawya Dow Jones say Mulchandani received subscription fees of AED300,000 a month from 12 members of the so-called “investment club”. Mulchandani promised a return of a million dirhams a month after six months after investing their money in Dubai real estate projects.

            The investors say Mulchandani has so far failed to deliver any returns, or their initial capital.

            By Stefania Bianchi, Dow Jones Newswires; +971 4 3644967; stefania.bianchi@dowjones.com

            (Majdoline Hatoum in Dubai contributed to this article.)

            Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Co.

            Click here to go to Dow Jones NewsPlus, a web front page of today’s most important business and market news, analysis and commentary: http://www.djnewsplus.com/access/al?rnd=CqhgwHGrhVjWVDlKy6lCLA%3D%3D. You can use this link on the day this article is published and the following day.

            (END) Dow Jones Newswires

            January 24, 2009 03:54 ET (08:54 GMT)

    Posted in Dubai, Kabir Mulchandani | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Dubai Dynasty Zarooni Fraud Allegations Widen,Bail At AED400M

    Dubai Property Buyers may move court for cancelled off-plan contracts

    Posted by 7starsdubai on January 30, 2009


    http://business24-7.ae/Articles/2009/1/Pages/01282009_c77c5faf7c0e4120b77817701e56af04.aspx

    Property buyers can contest their “terminated” off-plan contracts, signed after August 31, 2008, in the newly set-up Property Court, but will have to go through the Dubai Land Department (DLD), a senior government official said.

    “The purchaser will be further able to seek compensation from the Property Court if he establishes a ground for the termination,” Emad Eldin Farouq, Senior Legal Counsel, Dubai Land Department, told Emirates Business.

    In November 2008, the Land Department in an administrative circular, said developers – not buyers – would have to initiate the official procedure to cancel the off-plan transactions. But for sales contracts, signed before August 31, 2008, the terms and conditions of the contract will be applicable for the two parties under the UAE Civil Code. However, these would not have to go through the DLD.

    In the internal administrative circular, the department gave the interpretation of the meaning and practical application of Article 11 of the Law No.13 regulating the interim real estate registration. According to this circular, in case of a termination of an off-plan contract, the developer shall be entitled to 30 per cent of the purchase price plus 30 per cent of the any further monies paid above 30 per cent of the purchase price.

    “In case of a cancellation of an off-plan contract where the purchase price is Dh1 million and the purchaser has paid 40 per cent of the property value, then the maximum claim the developer can make is of Dh330,000 (30 per cent of Dh1 million and 30 per cent of the remaining 10 per cent),” he said.

    “If a buyer wants to contest this, he can go to the Property Court which shall apply the civil jurisdiction on this. Nobody can prevent the buyer from going to the court. Further, the Property Court may or may not agree with this and they can choose to either cancel these terms or they can adopt it or they can apply any other rules to this. The Property Court will look at it based on the rules and regulation in place under the Civil Code Law,” added Farouq.

    Legally any agreement can be terminated either amicably, voluntarily or can be terminated by a court order based on the facts.

    Under the Civil Code, the purchaser has the right to terminate the contract if there is a breach by the seller. The purchaser is entitled to refer the matter to the appropriate court with jurisdiction (which is now the Property Court)

    Mohammad Kawasmi, Senior Associate Al Tamimi & Company, said: “We are not aware if the administrative circular issued by the DLD will hold true in the Property Court and they can choose to override the circular.”

    Earlier this week, Farouq told this newspaper that investors facing cash-flow constraints can approach the Dubai Land Department for rescheduling payments for their properties.

    Register online

    Developers will have to register their off plan and completed units through the Dubai Land Department’s online registration system, said Farouq.

    Called Oqood, the new system will enable effective implementation of Law No13 of 2008 for regulating the interim real estate register in the emirate.

    Developed by Emirates Real Estate Solutions for the Dubai Land Department, the Oqood online interim registration process will lead to minimising conflicts arising between developers, investors and sellers, while contributing to cutting down the escalating off-plan selling and reselling costs.

    Charges will be the same as levied by the Dubai Land Department – one per cent of the total value paid by the seller and one per cent to be paid by the consumer. Following the issuance of Law No 13, developers now have to register all their units prior to launch of the project and only then can they proceed with their sales.

    The law aims to create further consumer ease and protection within the Dubai realty market.

    Posted in Dubai | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Dubai Property Buyers may move court for cancelled off-plan contracts

    Prosecution looks into Dynasty Zarooni Dubai fraud claims

    Posted by 7starsdubai on January 17, 2009


    original published 7days 13. Jnauar 2009

    http://www.7days.ae/storydetails.php?id=72375%20%20%20%20&page=local%20news&title=Prosecution%20looks%20into%20fraud

    ebivpage031

    The alleged fraud case against the chairman of Dynasty Zarooni, is now under investigation by Dubai Public Prosecution, a spokesperson at the office confirmed.

    A lawyer for the comp-lainants told 7DAYS that the investigation had begun with questions for the investors, who claim that the chairman, Kabir Mulchandani, defrauded them of up to dhs450 million ($123 million).

    Salem Al Shaali added that he could not tell the number of investors in the case as there are “new complaints every day”.

    Al Shaali also said there was a second suspect in the case, and that some investors had informed him that this suspect had already fled the country.

    The law firm, Al Shaali and Company, also told newswire Zawya Dow Jones that Mulchandani is being questioned on two counts, both subject to the Federal Penal Code and Dubai’s property laws.
    The first case relates to the allegations that the membership club Mulchandani has admitted to running was sold to a small group of wealthy investors under false pretences, and that they were promised large returns.

    The second case involves the selling of property at the dhs2 billion Ebony and Ivory development in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers district.
    According to Zawya Dow Jones, Al Shaali said that Mulchandani took deposits for 20 per cent of the property but failed to deliver the project.

    Dubai Public Prosecution confirmed they had started the investigation.

    Dynasty Zarooni said it preferred not to comment until charges had been brought.

    Posted in Dubai, Kabir Mulchandani | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Prosecution looks into Dynasty Zarooni Dubai fraud claims

     
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