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Friday, May 29, 2009

Property Scandal Hits Dubai, Media Silenced

Dubai Property Scandal Claim Emerges Amid Media Blackout
Heerkani Chohan I The Independent
"Fake" pictures are at the heart of a property scandal that could harm the reputation of the once-booming real estate market in Dubai.
A major property development firm with links to the ruling family of the UAE city-state, and the firm's marketing agency, are accused by investors, many of whom are UK citizens, of obtaining millions of pounds through the use of false construction photographs.
On Thursday, after local and regional media had been alerted to the situation by angry investors, news agencies across the city said they were silenced by senior representatives of the Government of Dubai, as orders were issued for reports of the storm to be pulled.
Around 500 property buyers of varying nationalities collectively purchased three planned tower blocks named Ebony 1, Ivory 1 and Ivory 2 in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers area of the Gulf city last year from property development firm Al Fajer Properties, at a total cost of £428 million.
The firm is part of the Al Fajer Group, ran by company president Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum, brother-in-law to the supreme ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
But at the weekend it was claimed that Al Fajer Properties and its marketing agent Dynasty Zarooni misled their customers into parting with millions of pounds by presenting photographs showing construction of three buildings, purported to be Ebony 1, Ivory 1 and Ivory 2, up to the sixth storey.
In fact the photographs were of buildings on neighbouring plots. Today, the plots on which Ebony 1, Ivory 1 and Ivory 2 are to be built, are empty holes in the ground, as our photographs show. LinkHere


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