Dubai has set up a special court to hear outstanding claims against an investment company owned by the crown prince of Dubai, it was reported on Tuesday.
The order was issued by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in 2011 and requires creditors with claims against Zabeel Investments to lodge proceeding with a new special judicial panel and not with the existing local courts, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Founded in February 2006, Zabeel Investments is owned by Crown Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and once had stakes in Sony Corp and planemaker EADS. It owes approximately AED6bn (US$1.6bn) to mostly local banks.
In October last year, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) settled a US$107.13m legal claim it filed against Zabeel Investments.
The new panel handling Zabeel was set up in February 2011, the report said. "We have no hearings until a new magistrate is appointed," Badr Issa Al Samt, one of the panel’s judges, was quoted as saying.
However, lawyers involved in claims against Zabeel said there was confusion as how to lodge proceedings with the new panel.
The panel is not the first judicial body Dubai has set up to hear claims against its financial entities. The Dubai World Tribunal was set up in 2009 at the height of the emirate’s debt crisis and was designed to hear disputes relating to government-backed investment vehicle Dubai World and its subsidiaries, which included developer Nakheel.