Dubai Property Lawsuits and More

Germany – Dubai October 2011

Criminal Complaint filed in Germany against Dubai Developer CEO  of Al Fajer Properties

Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum

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 Residential Falcon Tower located on Plot H3 Jumeirah Lake Towers. The completion of this Tower should be  March 2008 but the apartment was never delivered and they end up in a Horror scenario when the development was transferred from Nakheel to Al Fajer Properties in 2006.
After have been mislead, deprived of their property rights by illegal actions and extortion  ,financial and mental extremely damaged by receiving several threats from Al Fajer Properties since 2008 upon 2009,  a criminal complaint was filed in Germany already in August  2009 against the CEO and President of Al Fajer Properties, Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum. The witness hearings and investigations in Germany are still going on.
Criminal Complaint filed in Germany against Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum CEO of Al Fajer Properties

In 2006 the Residential development Falcon Tower Jumeirah Lake Towers was transferred from Nakheel to DMCC ( 100% Government) and Al Fajer Properties was named by DMCC as new Developer of the Falcon Tower.
DMCC ensured in writing that the terms of Al Fajer´s purchase was that Al Fajer Properties will developing the Falcon Tower with the same design, same unit specifications and price at which the couple purchased original at Nakheel. It was agreed between Al Fajer Properties to take 1:1 over the once valid contractual obligation – just the completion date will be now in December 2008.
DMCC transferred the 45 % already paid installments paid once by the couple to Nakheel, in 2007 to Al Fajer Properties.
A Financial Statement, hold by the couple, from DMCC and Al Fajer Properties shows this evidently.
The process was accompanied by a lawyer of the couple, the correspondence show evidence that Al Fajer agreed to the named conditions and stept 1:1 in the former contractual obligations.
Left in the illusion everything went fine, Al Fajer Properties start in 2008 to threat the couple to sign and agree to a new contract.
This contract was given to the couple in November 2007 in form of a draft in presence of their lawyer and staff members of Al Fajer Properties. It was a blank document , containing only terms and conditions but not containing any Building constitution, no Apartment specification, no price, and no other relevant declarations. It was a draft with no specification. Within this draft Al Fajer themself was not named as developer, just as seller.  The Tower on Plot H3 was quoted in the Header now as Mixed Use Building ( Residential/Commercial)  and renamed to Jumeirah Business Centre 8.
Several correspondence upon January 2008 sent to Al Fajer Properties to complete the relevant documentation failed. Al Fajer didn`t provide the relevant Documentation.
March 2008 Al Fajer Properties appointed  a new CEO and President, Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum. Starting on March 10, 2008 the couple received threats to deprive them of the property and simply return the amount,unless they did not sign and agree to the incomplete blank draft contract.
After receiving this threats from Al Fajer Properties, the lawyer of the couple ask Al Fajer to refrain from such illegal actions. The actions of Al Fajer have been mentioned to RERA Dubai.
Al Fajer Properties didn`t retrain and repeated in letters upon 31 March 2008 the same threats to the couple.
After this date it remain silent and Al Fajer didn`t react.
A letter wrote by the couple to Al Fajer Properties in June 2008, brought a reaction of a lawyer instructed namely instructed to do so by the CEO  Maktoum Hasher Maktoum and showed willingness to pay a full compensation based on the damage cause by Al Fajer Properties to the couple. The discussion was about the sum and damage caused by Al Fajer, based upon the event to enable the couple to buy an adequate apartment. The market price of such an apartment was at that time over 2 Million AED.
After several delays of Al Fajer´s lawyer to step in a negotiation, a concrete willingness from Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum to provide a fair compensation was shown in September 2008.
The correspondence was hold in written form via Email between the lawyers.
A clear calculation about the caused damage and the therefrom resulted compensation sum was presented by the couples lawyer. But Maktoum Hasher Maktoum rejected this  and set out a fixed sum, which would have caused the couple still a damage of 600.000 AED.
Finally the so called good will of Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum end up in further threats by Al Fajer Properties upon a statement October 2008, by not taking the now offered amount,  to return only the amount of the once paid 45%. ( 345.000 AED).  Within this letter have also been threatened that they contacted in April 2008 a Journalist providing him what happened to them, they would get in trouble if they made the story public in the future.
No more correspondence sent to Al Fajer Properties or their  lawyer were answered after January 2009.
Later it was revealed by the couple , over a document provided to a foreign court, that Al Fajer Properties CEO Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Juma Al Maktoum sold on March 31, 2008 the Tower Plot H3 Jumeirah Lake Towers as a 100% Commercial Tower to Dynasty Zarooni .
The Price per sqft within this MOU, agreed between this parties, was 2050 AED. This however was nearly the triple of the price Al Fajer had to deliver the 1098 sqft apartment of the couple,  purchase it for total 775 000 AED and on which was Al Fajer in the contractual obligation to deliver it.
This document in original also revealed that Al Fajer Properties didn`t  intend to develop a Residential Building on Plot H3, nor a Residential Mixed use Building like quoted in their new draft contract on March 2008, the time frame in which the deal with Dynasty Zarooni was already arranged and new Brochures have been already in the printing for a sales promotion of the now  100 % Commercial Tower on Plot H3.
This document uncovered why the couple should have been mislead and been left in the illusion of a now Mixed used Residential Tower, the reason of unwillingness of  Al Fajer Properties to provide the missing declaration and documentation of the building constitution within the draft contract, to which they extorted the couple several times to sign in March 2008 .
Upon today October 2011, Al Fajer Properties is still holding the since 2005 45% paid installments ( 345.000 AED) from the couple and is not showing any positive will to repay this amount nor remembering the once shown will of a compensation.
The Tower however on Plot H3 Jumeirah Lake Towers , which was converted by Al Fajer in a Commercial Building in March 2008 ,renamed to Jumeirah Business Centre 8 , sold in March 2008 to Dynasty Zarooni, is not completed until today.
From 2010 until 2011 Al Fajer Properties was several times contacted directly via email and an adress of a Lawyer who presented Maktoum Hasher. Within this correspondence it has been asked several times to pay the outstanding debts to the couple. Upon today Al Fajer Properties resists to do so.
In a last correspondence hold with an other lawyer of Al Fajer Properties in 2010 it was quoted, that his client, Maktoum Hasher Maktoum cannot remember that the couple had ever claims against him and that he never offered to repay the investments for the purchased accommodation. His further provocation was : ” Can you please send a copy of whatever contract you believe exists between Al Fajer Properties and your clients” ” If you supply evidence to support their assertion losses attributable to Al Fajer, my client ( Maktoum Hasher) will then review it.
The lawyer was after this correspondence informed that a criminal complaint ( by providing him a copy of the complaint) was already filed against his client and that  it is extremely remarkable, due to the evident correspondence of March 2008 until October 2008 from other lawyers of Al Fajer,  that his client Maktoum Hasher Maktoum startnow in 2010 to simulate  not to be in the acknowledge that there was still a claim against Al Fajer Properties and him and that he cannot remember his acts when he threat them in March and October by saying  just returning a refund of the paid installments to the couple.

Dubai – 26 June 2011
Damac Properties Dubai must pay the Irish couple Noel and Lorna Gaffney compensation for failing to deliver their apartment in Dubai’s Park Towers on time the DIFC Court ruled.
Dubai Property Dispute compensation DIFC Court ruling 2011
Gulf News reported, that the Court also criticised the company for using highly technical arguments and tactics as well as the casual manner in which it had approached the court proceedings — as a result, it ruled that Damac should pay the Gaffney’s Dh200,000 legal fees.
As reported in The National the court awarded the Gaffneys Dh1,781,009 (US$484,872), representing a refund of payments they made towards apartment 602 in Tower B of the development.
The Gaffneys bought their Park Towers apartment off-plan in 2004, according to their original claim. The project consists of two 49-storey cone-like glass buildings and is situated within the grounds of the DIFC, close to the financial district’s central Gate Building.
continue reading….. The National ….. Gulf News

Dubai plans and start to to seize Properties from Off-Plan Investors

Actual Disputes between Investors and Dubai Developers

original published The National – Angela Giuffrida Dubai-  Abu Dhabi 25 April
The Dubai Land Department may begin seizing off-plan properties whose owners are in default.
The authority has started notifying investors who have defaulted that if they fail to make their outstanding payments within two weeks that 40 per cent of any money they have paid so far will be confiscated, and the properties will be sold at auction.
The confiscated money, along with any profits from the auctions, will be handed over to the developers. The rule applies to projects that are 80 per cent or more complete.
The move, according to Mohammed Sultan Thani, the department’s assistant director general, is intended to spur the completion of unfinished projects. “The idea is to see what we can do before the property is cancelled,” he said.
During the property boom, many developers depended on the off-plan model, whereby a property is sold before building work starts to provide finance for construction. Many analysts say the model fuels speculative buying and inflates prices.
A number of developers, including Kuwait’s Al Mazaya Real Estate, which has eight projects in Dubai, have had such cancellation notices issued to investors.
Omar Ramaznouf, a Russian investor who has so far paid Dh10 million (US$2.7m), 60 per cent of the total price, towards 16 office units at Mazaya Business Tower in Jumeirah Lake Towers, recently received one of the Land Department’s notices.
Mr Ramaznouf, who has not made any payments on his development since December 2008, was told in the letter that the developer would be allowed to “sell the related unit[s] by auction in conformity with common regulations, and with the price asked for by the developer in addition to expenses”, unless he paid the next 20 per cent instalment within two weeks.
The final instalment is due when the properties are handed over.
Mr Ramaznouf said he has been unable to pay some instalments because of “cash-flow problems” brought on by the financial crisis. He has been trying to extend his payment plan with Al Mazaya, according to Medhi Guliyev, his business partner.
“But now he’s being told ‘you don’t own this property anymore,’” said Mr Guliyev.
George Ezman, a businessman from the Czech Republic who bought several office units in Jumeirah Business Centre 5, a project by the Dubai developer Al Fajer Properties, has received a similar notice. He has paid 30 per cent of the total cost and is due to pay the remainder on completion.
Mr Ezman complained, however, that the developer breached its agreement by delivering the property more than a year late.
He said that, according to his contract, he had the right to cancel the contract and receive a refund if the property was late.
The building was supposed to be finished in 2008, he said. “I’m not paying any more because the agreement to cancel our contract and get a refund has been ignored. This, along with the fact that they can take our money and keep our property, is insane.”
Spokesmen for Al Mazaya and Al Fajer were unavailable for comment yesterday.
Lawyers working for investors such as Mr Ezman say that while the Land Department can issue cancellation notices, a property agreement can only be officially cancelled by the courts.
Mr Thani said the authority had yet to auction any properties and did not believe there would be many such cases. “Very few people will opt for not completing payments if the building is almost ready.”

Judgement Lothar Hardt vs Damac

Judgment Dubai Lothar Hardt vs Damac

Lawsuit against Damac Properties 2010

original source Emirates Business24-7

Lawyers representing a German investor, Dr Lothar Ludwig Hardt, said the developer allegedly used the money from other property projects to construct Park Towers, the only development that appears to be ongoing out of the five that Hardt had signed up in February 2007.
“These close links show the other four properties are connected to Park Towers… which should have been finished two years ago,” Ludmila Yamalova, legal consultant and partner at Al Sayyah Advocates and Legal Consultants, told Emirates Business. She said Hardt has invested $9.7 million on five properties which, in addition to Park Towers include the two cancelled projects – Lotus Residences and Wildflower; Ocean Heights, which was scheduled for completion eight months ago; and Water’s Edge, where construction hasn’t been started yet.
The German investor is thus demanding refund of $9.7m and is seeking damages and lost profits caused by the developers’ breach of contract and other violations of the UAE, Dubai and DIFC Courts. Yamalova estimates that damages, loss of profits plus all the legal fees could go up to $140m.
“As of today, defendants have not delivered any of the properties and have not complied with any of the contractual obligations to claimants,” a claim form seen by Emirates Business said.
Defendants have committed a series of violations of UAE, Dubai and DIFC Laws in connection with properties such as enticement and unfairness, illegal sale, failure to obtain necessary approvals, failure to commence construction timely, failure to timely register developer and obtain necessary license, mismanagement of escrow funds and violation of trust account regulations, unfair contracts of adhesion, fraud and deception… illegal competition, bribery, trickery, breach of trust, cheating in commercial transactions, money laundering and accomplice liability,” said the claim form.
…..continue reading

source The National by Angela Giuffrida
Dubai, January 2010
German investor Lothar Hardt is suing Damac Properties for alleged breach of contract in what could be the largest lawsuit taken by an individual against a Dubai developer.
Lothar Hardt has filed his case against one of the region’s biggest developers and four of its executives at the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts.
Mr Hardt claims to have invested US$9.7 million (Dh35.6m) across five of Damac’s developments in Dubai, including one building on land he says is owned by the UN.
The dispute relates to a series of off-plan investments made since 2006 in projects including: Park Towers at DIFC; Water’s Edge and Lotus Residences at Business Bay; Wildflower at Jumeirah Golf Estates; and Ocean Heights at Dubai Marina.
Mr Hardt alleges the developer failed to deliver the projects on time, mismanaged escrow accounts relating to some of the projects and did not register the transactions with Dubai’s Land Department, court documents show.
Damac is also accused of selling property in Water’s Edge, Lotus Residences and Wildflower to Mr Hardt without owning the land or obtaining construction permits.
The land on which Lotus Residences is planned is owned by the UN, the court documents claim.

Mr Hardt, considered one of Damac’s “VIP investors”, is also suing for additional loss of income after he claimed to have signed agreements with retail outlets that were going to rent the commercial units he bought from Damac.
“Through my experience with Damac I have been very frustrated,” he said. “I think this has to be fought in public. When I pursue something, I will really pursue it until the end. This is a young country but I’m confident in the new laws here.”
Now Mr Hardt is demanding a refund of the $9.7m he has invested in Damac projects, in addition to damages and lost profits.
Damac has acknowledged the case against it and four of its executives: Hussain Sajwani, the company chairman; Faisal Sajwani; Sofyan Khatib; and Peter Riddoch, a former chief executive.
But the company is contesting that the case be heard at DIFC, where it is registered and where one of the projects, Park Towers, is located.
It has until February 4 to declare its reasons for contesting the DIFC’s jurisdiction, which follows English common law and, unlike the main Dubai courts system, allows foreign lawyers to represent clients and cases to be heard in English.
Damac declined to comment yesterday.
If all or part of the case takes place at DIFC, it will be the first major dispute against a property developer to be heard at the court since it was set up in 2004, said Ludmila Yamalova, a partner at Al Sayyah Advocates and Legal Consultants, which is pursuing the case on behalf of Mr Hardt.
“We think at least part of the case has to be heard at DIFC, such as the part that relates to projects located there, like Park Towers,” said Ms Yamalova. “Damac is also a DIFC-registered entity.”
If Damac’s bid to have the case heard elsewhere is granted, then the rest of the dispute would have to go through the main Dubai courts system, which is more costly for complainants as they have to pay separately for each contract dispute, rather than take a class action.
“Right now, investors think there is no justice or no recourse, but at DIFC we do have a world-class institution that can deal with these issues at an international level … this is what DIFC has aimed to represent,” added Ms Yamalova.
“If DIFC steps up to the plate and starts looking at these cases, it will give people confidence.”
Read also……from The National …Legislation lifts investor outlook
original source 7Days Dubai
DAMAC Properties has filed a motion to stop an investor’s lawsuit being heard in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) courts, and has also moved to strike the case entirely, the lawyer for the investor told 7DAYS yesterday.
German investor Lothar Hardt, who has invested in around dhs100 million worth of properties from Damac, filed a suit against the firm in December with the DIFC Courts, alleging breaches of contracts in the form of delays, misrepresentation of properties, fraud and improper use of funds, among other claims.
Hardt has invested in Lotus Residences and Water’s Edge in Business Bay, Park Towers at DIFC, Wildflower in Jumeirah Golf Estates and Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina.
He filed the suit with the DIFC Courts because Park Towers is located at DIFC and Damac is a DIFC-listed company.
Ludmila Yamalova, a partner at Al Sayyah Advocates and Legal Consultants, which is handling the suit, previously told 7DAYS that having the case heard at the DIFC Courts has a number of advantages over the Dubai Courts, including the fact that DIFC operates under British law, which has had more experience of property disputes in comparison with Dubai law.
Yamalova said yesterday that Damac was contesting the jurisdiction of the case and was also moving to strike out the case due to a lack of “reasonable grounds”.
However, she said Hardt had filed five motions in response to Damac, including a motion for judgement by default and an award of damages of over $132 million because Damac failed to support its motion with proper statements and failed to file its defence, and defences for individuals named in the case, on time.
The requested damages include actual damages of about $44 million  in lost profits and legal expenses, and punitive damages, which can be  up to three times the value of actual damages in the DIFC Courts.
The motions of both Hardte and Damac will be heard at DIFC Courts later this month.
Hardt told 7DAYS in January that if DIFC Courts decided jurisdiction belonged with the Dubai Courts, he would still pursue the suit.
“First I am hoping that I will regain my money and the second thing is, while I have been negotiating with Damac I’ve seen so many people in the situation where all the money they had was in one apartment and they stand to lose it all… so I see myself also as being the spearhead for these people,” he said.
Read also: An interesting case to watch – German Investor is suing Damac Properties