Nakheel has denied a former board member of its parent company, Dubai World, a 15 per cent "staff discount" on a transaction involving land on the Palm Jumeirah, according to court documents.
Ahmed Butti Ahmed al Muhairi, the director general of Dubai Customs, filed a lawsuit against Nakheel on March 23 in the Dubai World Tribunal.
Mr al Muhairi is seeking a court injunction to allow him to obtain a 15 per cent staff discount on two plots of land on the Palm Jumeirah - number 119 on frond B and number 143 on frond D - that he had asked to consolidate into one purchase.
But he was rebuffed by the management of Nakheel less than two months after he was replaced as a board member of Dubai World, documents show.
Chris O'Donnell, the chief executive of Nakheel, wrote to Mr al Muhairi on February 9 saying "your request has been reviewed by the Nakheel management and we regretfully inform you that the decision is that the staff discount cannot be applied to the aforesaid properties", court documents say.
Dubai World insiders said the response of Nakheel was part of the tougher stance of the property developer under Ali Rashid Ahmed Lootah, a prominent Dubai businessman who was appointed chairman in March last year when Dubai World was in the middle of its restructuring.
Mr Lootah said in February he had sought to cut costs and recover funds across the board as the company tried to restart construction of projects and pay debts.
Mr al Muhairi said on Tuesday he had nothing to add to the lawsuit filed in the tribunal by his lawyers at Davidson & Company.
Nakheel declined to comment.
Mr al Muhairi, who was a board member of Dubai World until last December when a new board was appointed by the Dubai Government, has held several senior posts in Dubai, including as a director at Istithmar World and a board member of the mortgage provider Tamweel.
Last month Dubai World announced it had signed a final deal with all of its creditors as part of its US$24.9 billion (Dh91.45bn) restructuring.