UK property developer Safi Qurashi, who was earlier this year found not guilty of cheque fraud charges and released from jail after serving a two and half year sentence, is to head up a new Dubai real estate holding company, which will include a series of new development projects and investment vehicles worth around US$200m.
Qurashi today formally launched Q Properties, the first of four companies which will be part of an umbrella holding company to be called the Q Group of Companies.
“The first company is now registered and done, which is Q Properties, which launches on Thursday… There are four companies in total, one is real estate; one is development; one is an investment arm and a facilities management company. They will come under a new branded company called Q Group. We are waiting for the licences to come through in the next week or so,” he said.
Q Properties is looking to develop its first project, which will be a series of villas in Jumeirah Village Circle. “We are working to finalise that project… Total project costs are close to AED50m (US$13.4m),” he confirmed.
In addition, Qurashi revealed Q Group plans to launch a number of investment funds and a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust), which will have a total capital of around US$200m.
“We are launching two real estate funds under the banner of Q Investment… At this stage the real estate fund is aimed at four projects we have got, then, depending what comes onto our table… We also looking at launching a REIT aimed at a US$100m and the fund will be a similar amount,” he said.
Earlier this year, Qurashi was freed by a Dubai court after two-and-a-half years in jail after he was cleared of two counts of cheque fraud. He is currently out on bail, as he is due to face cheque fraud charges lodged by Dubai developer Nakheel, and Qurashi said he is now reluctant to issue any post-dated cheques as part of future business deals.
“We are a lot wiser with the laws and the procedure of handing people cheques. As a business model going forward, we are not going to do it anymore. If a project we want to do involves us giving post-dated cheques we are going to stay away from it,” he said.