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Wed 25 Jul 2012 08:15 PM

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Freed Safi Qurashi to face Nakheel charges

British developer released after two-and-a-half years; now faces criminal charges from Nakheel

Freed Safi Qurashi to face Nakheel charges
EXCLUSIVE PHOTO: Safi Qurashi and daughter Sara, aged 13.
Freed Safi Qurashi to face Nakheel charges
EXCLUSIVE PHOTO: Safi Qurashi.

British property developer Safi Qurashi, this week freed by a Dubai court after two-and-a-half years in jail, was rearrested on Tuesday over criminal charges brought against him by debt-ridden developer Nakheel.

A hearing by Dubai's Cassation Court on Monday cleared Qurashi of two counts of cheque fraud and he was released on bail from Dubai Central Jail at around 5:30pm UAE time Tuesday, with a third and final hearing set for next week.

Qurashi, who had served two-and-a-half years of a seven-year sentence, was immediately rearrested and driven to Jebel Ali Police Station at around 8pm to face charges filed by government-owned Nakheel.

"We were expecting him to come home as his children had prepared an Iftar for him and to our shock and horror at eight in the evening he was brought to Jebel Ali Police Station," Hina Chaudhry, a spokesperson for the Qurashi family, told Arabian Business.

The criminal charges filed by Nakheel refer to a plot of land Qurashi bought on the Dubai Waterfront development, a 1.4bn sqft project twice the size of Hong Kong, launched at the height of the Dubai property boom.

"[Qurashi] purchased a plot of land on the Dubai Waterfront: plot No. C08AB, which he purchased for AED44m," Chaudhry confirmed.

The criminal case was lodged when Nakheel officials presented the security cheques, which Qurashi had submitted as part of the purchase agreement, to cover the remaining payments on the Waterfront plot.

However, Chaudhry claims these payments were not due under the terms of the contract signed between Qurashi and the developer, and should never have been presented for payment.

"Contractually, Nakheel are only entitled to 20 percent prior to handover... [Qurashi] paid 50 percent to Nakheel and there has never been a handover from Nakheel on this project... They were holding post-dated cheques for future payment, which they are not entitled to but they have cashed and filed a criminal case," Chaudhry said.

Chaudhry said she has been in contact with Nakheel over the two-and-a-half years while Qurashi was in jail, and claimed this new criminal charge had never been brought to her attention.

"Nakheel have confirmed this is not an error... [and] I have asked to have these cheques returned to us immediately," she said.

Despite this new development, Qurashi was released on bail on Wednesday evening after four passports were handed into police officials.

He is due to appear in court next week for a hearing related to a third case as part of his original seven-year sentence, but will also now have to launch a defence against this latest criminal charge brought by the master developer.

A Nakheel spokesperson told Arabian Business the developer would not comment on the case while legal proceedings were ongoing.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Dave 8 years ago

Go Nakheel, everyone who is against turning this city into a haven for fraudsters is supporting you in your case against this man. Lets just forget that you werent actually supposed to cash the cheque, lets also forget that you did not deliver in many other cases, we all should cheer this move.

Chris J 8 years ago

Facinating when those who should be charged, charge others. Last time I checked, Waterfront is a figment of the imagination as it is not there. How can a man be charged for buying something that does not exist. Perhaps charges should be brought against Nakheel for failure to honour agreements through not handing over certain Palm properties, even though they have been finished for several years.

Jason 8 years ago

oh dear, Nakheel garnering their favourite bad boy publicity role again.

Seems they love having their name in the media for all the worst possible reasons.

Vicky 8 years ago

Going by AB's report, it appears to be totally unfair on Nakheel's part. How about the high profile campaign to deliver a city twice the size of Hong Kong? Nobody to take them to task over dozens of broken promises and breaches. Well, I wish Safi good luck with the court battles and I am sure Dubai law will give him a fair deal after all he went through.

rashid 8 years ago

the injustice continues...

bad reputation for Dubai, bad for its business...

Ali 8 years ago

The law in Dubai against property developers in dubai is very very weak, as they are themselves state owned.

If what they say in this article is true, then nakheel should be held accountable for the 2 and a half years Qureishi has suffered.
Maybe some of the nakheels top executives should be tried and make them suffer as others have suffered becuase of them.

They think they can do whatever they want and get over with it. Like for instance, i own some units in the newly handed over Jumeirah heights project, There is no swimming pool or any other facitilies, and moreover there is no news of when we will ge the title deed, thus we cannot rent it out either.
It has been almost 2 months like this, but nakheel sold already have started their charge of the service charges from the day they handed over.

Bob the builder 8 years ago

How can Nakheel process a bounced cheque claim on a project that is now defunct!?
Absolutely disgraceful behaviour on Nakheels part.

Baba 8 years ago

Bad business has a name: Nakheel

debbie 8 years ago

how about safi sue nakheel for not delivering DubaiWaterfront? How about Safi sue Nakheel for not providing infrastructure on The World islands? How about Palm Jebel Ali buyers issue criminal penalties for top nakheel execs for lying about beautiful villas on the sea only to be asked 7 years later to change for an inland? nakheel is the worst company on this planet.

Salvatore 8 years ago

Everytime I see Nakheel name in a headline, I hope they finally learnt the lesson and changed their PR people. But no, they consistently pursue the bad publicity strategy for their company, the city and the country. When will authorities step in and put a team of professional people to deal with all this nonsense. Nakheel invokes force major when it comes to they default in paying suppliers or delivering projects to investors but they take people to court for the same reasons? double standards? I hope the judge will be wise and knowldgeable enough to take the right decision. Mr Safi and his family suffered enough for the wrong reasons. All honest people are with you Mr Safi.