x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Solicitor says lawsuit may clear Australians

A case filed in Australia against two former Nakheel managers may help prove their innocence when they appear in court in Dubai, their lawyer says.

DUBAI // A case filed in Australia against two former Nakheel managers may help prove their innocence when they appear in court in Dubai, their lawyer said yesterday. Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee, two Australians and former employees of the property company, were charged after a corruption investigation with abuse of public funds, fraud, breach of trust and accepting a Dh44 million (US$12m) bribe.

Mr Lee and Mr Joyce, the managing director of Nakheel's Dubai Waterfront project, were arrested on January 25. They also face a lawsuit filed by Sunland Group in Australia over an acquisition deal for a Dubai Waterfront plot for development. Sunland claim that the pair misled them over a block of land that Sunland wanted to buy. The lawsuit says the two involved a third person, Angus Reed, who is being investigated for fraud in Dubai, and led them to believe that he owned the plot.

Sunland only learnt after paying the Dh44m consulting fee that Reed had no rights to the plot. According to the lawyer for Mr Lee and Mr Joyce, Salem Salem al Sha'ali, the lawsuit shows that the "bribe" was actually a legitimate consulting fee. No court date has been set yet for Mr Joyce and Mr Lee. newsdesk@thenational.ae