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Wed 15 Aug 2012 12:26 PM

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“I still believe in Dubai” – Safi Qurashi

Brit developer says keen to restart property empire after released from Dubai jail

“I still believe in Dubai” – Safi Qurashi
EXCLUSIVE PHOTO: Safi Qurashi and daughter Sara, aged 13.

British real estate developer Safi Qurashi has vowed to rebuild his property empire in Dubai despite serving almost three years in jail.

In his first face to face interview since being released on bail the London-born developer told Arabian Business TV he still believes in Dubai’s vision and that it would be “crazy” not to take advantage of depressed real estate prices.

“I love Dubai and I always have done. Even with the experience I have gone through… I don’t think you can blame a whole nation or city for an incident, or that you would abandon and desert a city for that.

Watch the exclusive video interview with Safi Qurashi - Part one

Watch the exclusive video interview with Safi Qurashi - Part two

Watch the exclusive video interview with Safi Qurashi - Part three

“I think you can learn from experiences and I have learned from mine. To get up and leave [Dubai] would be like running away and that’s not in my nature to do that, I couldn’t do that.

“I still very much believe in Dubai and its vision going forward. I have been part of it for the last eight years and I just feel that I can’t abandon it even though I’ve gone through what I’ve gone through,” he said.

Qurashi, who famously paid US$60m for the Great Britain island on Nakheel’s World Island development, was last month released on bail after spending two and half years in jail for bouncing cheques. 

He protested his innocence during a seven week hunger strike, which only ended when his case was reviewed by Dubai Attorney General. Dubai Cassation Court in July cleared Qurashi of two counts of cheque fraud after hearing that he had written them as security and they should have been returned rather than cashed.

The London-born developer, who moved to Dubai in 2004, said his company had been forced to close its real estate brokerage arm during his time in jail but had continued its develop property in the emirate.

Qurashi said he is currently in the process of getting his former team back together in a bid to restart his business. “We have land and we have to do something with it; we cannot just leave it there.”

“It would be crazy from a business point of view to know that we have gone past the worst, know that we could be in a position to benefit from the upside now and to walk away from it. That’s one of the reasons that I will do my best to stay here [and] develop what we can,” he added.

Watch the exclusive video interview with Safi Qurashi - Part one

Watch the exclusive video interview with Safi Qurashi - Part two

Watch the exclusive video interview with Safi Qurashi - Part three

kingkaiser 7 years ago

@ Red Snappa: His name is Safi Qurashi - I honestly doubt anyone was mistaking him for a Caucasian. Beyond establishing some tinge of racism on your end, I'm not sure what your comment was meant to prove. For the purposes of nationality, your passport is what matters, not your ethnicity. Else virtually every American you meet cant claim to be American, since the vast majority of their ancestors weren't native to the land.

john doe 7 years ago

How does one make a person british or non british, I think an accurate statement you should have made is that he is not white and you do not like non white people. He was born in the UK and has a British passport, what more do you want.

Salvatore 7 years ago

With regards to the article, Everybody believes in Dubai but not in Developers who are doing everything they can every day to destroy the city and the country reputation. Authorities should show they don't accept such acts and clean the mess these unethical developers created for the sake of future generations

MojO 7 years ago

The facts, if you hold a british passport....hold tight, this might amaze you, you are british. Another fact, and this might knock you off your seat, if you hold a pakistani passport you are a Pakistani. Its going to get complicated, If your father holds a Pakistani passport but you hold a British passport, sit down for this, You're still British. If you're non white, live in Dubai,was born to Pakistani parents, have a few issues with cheques, spent a couple of years in prison, and hold a british passport, You're still British. Why does Red Snappa refuse to acknowledge this guy is British

Brian Deane 7 years ago

I would agree with Salvatore Dubai is a great place to live and to run a business here. I have been here since 2000 and it has been very successful for me. The property / realestate industry needs to be looked at very closely. By the way Qurashi is not british he might hold a british passport but that does not make him British hes a pakistani.

Kohinoor 7 years ago

Hope, Snappa does not disown Fergie..

RaOne 7 years ago

Brave but foolish...
It is very clear that laws are not in the best interest of the investors, so why take risks.

And if you are clever enough to make 1 Million with such risks I am sure you can make 10 million in places like Singapore, HongKong, NewYork or even your own country cities London.

Better cash out, full fill your obligations and setup business at place where you will be sure you won't loose 2/3 years of your life for doing business.

ADJ 7 years ago

Interesting point by Red Snappa. By that logic the guy is actually Indian! Cause I'm guessing his father was born during a time when Pakistan didn't technically exist. And during that period India was a British colony...oh, so he's back to being British again. Hmm, what a waste of time that was.

An Observer 7 years ago

I also think he's unwise - the Muslim is not stung by the same hole twice. But if he does stick with it then I hope he that he will fight tooth and nail against the "postdated cheque" mentality.

WHJ 7 years ago

You need to explain the proverb in English, or provide an English equivalent, as opposed to giving a literal translation. People who don't know Arabic will laugh at the words: "stung by the same hole". The closest meaning to this proverb in English would be: Once bitten, twice shy.
(Or, if you want to give it a funny twist, you can quote the immortal words of Georgy: you fool me once, shame on you, you fool me...can't get fooled again... )