x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Dispute over Tameer's ownership moves into courts

The Dubai Civil Courts last week froze Dh4 billion (US$1.08bn) of assets controlled by Ahmad al Rajhi, the Tameer chairman.

DUBAI // An ownership row over Tameer Holding Investment, a large property developer building towers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, has erupted into the legal domain with at least four cases in the region's courts. The Dubai Civil Courts last week froze Dh4 billion (US$1.08bn) of assets controlled by Ahmad al Rajhi, the Tameer chairman, after a former business partner claimed he had not lived up to obligations to pay him for shares.

"We have submitted this order as a precautionary measure before we submit our case to the courts," said Dr Habib al Mulla, the lawyer for the plaintiff Omar Hassan Ayesh. Mr Ayesh sold a 75 per cent stake in the company to Mr al Rajhi but was not fully paid, Dr al Mulla alleged yesterday. "The claim filed was due to non-payment and accounts problems with the defendant," he said, adding that a civil case would be lodged within eight days.

The courts last Thursday notified Dubai Islamic Bank of the attachment order on Mr al Rajhi's accounts, Zawya Dow Jones reported. Mr al Rajhi hit back yesterday and said Tameer Holding filed three criminal complaints against Mr Ayesh for alleged "embezzlement and breach of trust". Two of the cases were filed in the UAE and a third was filed in Jordan, Mr al Rajhi said in a statement. Mr Ayesh was not available for comment.

Mr al Rajhi, who is also the vice chairman of the Al Rajhi Investment Group in Saudi Arabia, said the case Mr Ayesh filed against him was "in response to all legal action being lodged against him [Mr Ayesh]". "In order to validate this claim, Mr Ayesh must register a civil lawsuit against Mr al Rajhi, who remains confident that the claim will be dismissed by the Dubai Courts, as it has no merits evidenced by previous Courts' decisions," the statement said.

Mr al Rajhi also said the matter "will not have operational or financial implications on Tameer Holding Investment LLC as the company is not involved in this dispute". Tameer is the developer of the Princess Tower in Dubai Marina and the Tameer Towers on Reem Island in Abu Dhabi, among other high-rise projects around the country. The company has undergone several management shake-ups and cut its staff to 120 from a peak of 300 since the beginning of the property downturn, executives said previously.

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