Former CEO Chris O'Donnell sues Nakheel

O'Donnell sues indebted developer for breach of contract, may seek seven-figure sum
Former CEO Chris O'Donnell sues Nakheel
By Shane McGinley
Thu 23 Jun 2011 10:13 AM

Indebted Dubai developer Nakheel is being sued by its former CEO Chris O’Donnell for breach of contract, legal papers have confirmed.

O’Donnell, who stepped down earlier this month after five years at the helm of the Dubai World subsidiary, is seeking a seven-figure sum in the case, Arabian Business has learned.

Nakheel said in a statement on June 8 that O’Donnell had left the company “after completing his contract terms”. A spokesperson for the developer said it could not comment on legal proceedings.

O’Donnell’s legal representative confirmed the case had been filed but declined to comment further.

Nakheel’s former CEO joined the company in 2006, going on to steer it through the collapse of Dubai’s property market and the suspension of billions of dollars of Nakheel real estate projects.

The Dubai World subsidiary, which is seeking to restructure $10.8bn in debt, was one of the biggest casualties of the property crash after overstretching itself with ambitious projects such as Palm Jumeirah and the offshore World island development.

O’Donnell’s case is one of a rash of legal actions that have been filed against the state-owned developer in recent months. Nakheel is embroiled in at least 33 legal claims, many of which have been filed by buyers of islands on the stalled World development.

The flurry of legal action may reflect fears that investors and trade creditors will be unable to pursue Nakheel through the Dubai World Tribunal if plans to separate the developer from its parent company this month go ahead.

Jonathon Davidson of Dubai-based Davidson & Co said in March the court – which was set up to hear disputes linked to Dubai World - may no longer have jurisdiction to rule on cases related to Nakheel if the company is carved out.

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