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Thu 9 Jul 2009 06:14 AM

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'Money back is not an option' says ACI boss

Boss of German developer says investments are all tied up in land, contractors, suppliers.

'Money back is not an option' says ACI boss
MONEY TALK: Robin Lohmann, MD of ACI Real Estate, has said investors cannot have their money back. (ITP Images)

The boss of German developer ACI Real Estate has told investors that getting their cash back is "not an option". In an interview with Arabian Business to be published in full on Sunday, managing director Robin Lohmann defended his development funds in which investors put 50m euros ($69.5m).

Although the first fund has healthy returns, funds 2-5 were due to return profits in March this year. Lohmann has faced stern criticism in the German media, after investors who put up to millions of euros into his funds did not receive payments earlier this year.

But Lohmann said: "Money back is not an option as this point of time, the money has been invested in the land, which is fully paid, the money has been spend in the development, which is normal, the contractor and suppliers are not working for free, also not for a branded tower.

"The only way to get the money back is to complete the building from our side and third party purchasers have to fulfill their payment obligations as well."

In the interview, he also firmly denied that the money due back in March is linked to investments in the Michael Schumacher and Niki Lauda branded towers.

"These funds are only due in the year of 2012, so all the press releases which have been published over the last weeks are badly researched and untrue.

"But for sure it is more interesting for journalists and Dubai experts to involve celebrities’ names in headlines instead of writing a true story, these headlines are selling - celebrities are selling – this is why we have chosen them as well."

ron 10 years ago

Money back is not an option ....!!!!???? its the law, or does mr lohmann think he is above the law....he states the german money was for the land and building costs ...will he please let me know what our money as purchasers of the tower went towards ?? we were told it was for the land and building the towers as well .... It would appear that two lots of investors ( one under the guise of funds and the others as office purchasers ) paid money and as no building has yet taken place ... where is the money ????? why can he not give refunds ???

Azfar 10 years ago

It is a fact that many developers are stuck in this situation. But it shows that a person should always buy property from a company who doesnt use the customers money to keep on buying land in the name of one project. I feel so sad when i think of all the money of customers in the hands of developers. But at the same time these customers should have been careful and not be greedy themselves. Its a lesson to be learnt.

paul 10 years ago

I pity the investors who will have no recourse and more so Dubai will loose out on further investment if this happens. We have domino effect, no one from Germany will contemplate investing in Dubai which in turn will slow down the recovery in the property market. Come on Dubai Authorities; don’t be wise after the horse has bolted, step in now and take a large bond for this Mr. Lohmann. PAP

saleem haboubi 10 years ago

It is outragous to see Mr. Lohmann use the media to cover their failure in ACI development in UAE. Nearly all investors in Nicki Lauda project have paid between 40-50% of their investment.. After almost 3 years there is nothing to show except a hole in the ground.

ron 10 years ago

sorry robing, i did not realise that choosing celebrities gave you the right to rip off bonafide investors ... ..are you saying you were just using them ???? if this is the case watch out for the legal cases to follow.....i think messers Schumacher and Becker and Lauda have very good lawyers in Germany.....

Michael Moore 10 years ago

Sorry Mr. Lohmann but it is not your decision whether to refund money or not, we will take to courts and we will get our money from you whether you like it or not.

Peter 10 years ago

"The only way to get the money back is to complete the building from our side and third party purchasers have to fulfill their payment obligations as well." Following TheNational from today, Ferretti and Pershing has been set now on hold, investors holdings will now be shifted into the Business Bay Towers. Again the usual step by step back to nothing, how we could learn from several other developers.

Peter 10 years ago

2 years ago you were all happy with the company and apparently they gave you good returns as well. Now I understand it hurts when your big returns of the last years are no longer so easy. But give the guy a chance ! It was not his fault that this crisis arrived. If he has misused the funds then of course action should be taken. But is there evidence (apart from this media junk) ? Or is it just your greed that is hurt ?

ron 10 years ago

what are you talking about ??? i , nor any of the other purchasers from niki lauda have made any money from aci .... we are all still waiting for a building .... we are now complaining because we are sick of waiting ... 2 years of no action is long enough ... pay up or shut up . another point is how are you moving pershing and ferretti people into units in business bay when we were told all units were bought and paid for within 48 hours and thats why we had to pay a premium .....was this lies as well ??? are there still empty units ???

kevin 10 years ago

I am really surprised the way Lohman is conducting himself...he thinks he is talking to his maid, gardener or driver!!!!! wake up, this is people's money and lives you are gambling with. If you can't return the money or build the tower..then you need to at least step down from your position and let someone who has the guts to lead ACI.