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Thu 9 Jun 2011 02:01 PM

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Dubai World in fee row over Cape Town V&A sale

Cape Town businessman says will sue Dubai conglomerate over unpaid fees linked to deal

Dubai World in fee row over Cape Town V&A sale
Istithmar World was part of a team of investors that bought the Victoria & Alfred development in 2006 for $1.6bn

Dubai World is embroiled in a legal row over the sale of its stake in Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront shopping mall, as part of a deal valued at $1.33bn, it was reported Thursday.

The state-owned conglomerate, which has restructured about $24.9bn of debt, is being sued by a Cape Town businessman for failing to pay advisory, consulting and broking fees, Independent Online reported.

The fees are allegedly owed by Dubai World and the new joint owners of the V&A Waterfront, real-estate investor Growthpoint and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

Neill Bernstein, the founder and president of New York-based property company Devland Holdings, told the paper a high court application was “ready and pending”.

Dubai World’s in-house counsel had responded to a letter of demand by saying “bring it on and we’ll see you”, Bernstein said.

The businessman said he would ask for Dubai World to put up $36m in security should the court case proceed and claimed the company was technically insolvent.

The V&A, which surrounds Cape Town’s harbor and has shops, hotels, restaurants, offices and an aquarium, is Cape Town’s biggest tourist draw, attracting up to 21 million visitors a year.

Istithmar World, Dubai World’s overseas investment subsidiary, was part of a team of investors that bought the development in 2006 for $1.6bn.

Dubai World sold its stake in the South Africa development in February. The sale represented the country’s biggest property deal to date.

Dubai World signed a final agreement with its 80 creditors to restructure $24.9bn in debt in March. The company roiled debt markets in 2009 when it said it was unable to meet its debt obligations.