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Investors seeking millions of dollars of refunds from delayed projects planned by Alternative Capital Invest (ACI) in Dubai fear they will never get their money back after German authorities began an investigation into allegations of fraud at the company.

ACI, which launched the biggest German investment fund for properties in the emirate in 2004, last week declared bankruptcy on four of the seven funds. The company is thought to have collected about US$272 million (Dh999m) from 6,000 investors across the funds.

Heinrich Rempe, a senior prosecutor in Bielefeld, western Germany, told The National an investigation had been launched against the company’s management for “alleged capital investment fraud and breach of trust”.

Prosecutors were investigating the founder of ACI, Hanns-Uwe Lohmann, and his son Robin, the German press reported.

Mr Lohmann Sr, who has since resigned as the company’s chief executive, denied the allegations and blamed the unfinished projects on Dubai’s property slump.

Dozens of cases against ACI – which spent millions of dollars in 2007 and 2008 marketing and selling properties in buildings endorsed by the sporting celebrities Michael Schumacher, Boris Becker and Niki Lauda – are being pursued at the Dubai Property Court, although it is unclear whether any have been successful so far.

Ron Oakeley, a British businessman, filed a case against ACI two years ago and has since attended more than 15 hearings. Mr Oakeley is trying to recover more than Dh1.2m spent on two offices at the Niki Lauda Twin Towers in Business Bay in Dubai. The court has appointed an official to check progress on the project, which appears to be at a standstill, while Mr Oakeley’s next hearing has been scheduled for September 29.

“We’ve just got to wait to see what happens,” he said. “But meanwhile … I don’t know quite how we’re going to get [the money] back.”

Valeri Babak, a Russian property buyer, invested Dh2.9bn in a number of offices at Victory Bay, a project in Business Bay. Mr Babak said he was awaiting judgment from the court, which he was “sure we will get”.

Robin Lohmann headed up ACI’s office next to Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach, although none of the 11 projects advertised on the company’s website have been completed.

The Jumeirah Beach office was recently closed, with the company moving to offices in Al Barsha, a spokesman for the company confirmed yesterday, adding Mr Lohmann was in Germany “dealing with the crisis”.

The spokesman told The National in June that a failure among investors to keep up payments was the reason the projects were on hold. He claimed most of their deposits, which were mainly collected before the escrow law was introduced in the middle of 2007, had been spent on marketing new projects.

agiuffrida@thenational.ae

Hahn Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft (hrp) bereitet eine erste Pilotklage gegen die Alternative Capital Invest GmbH & Co. KG (ACI), die beiden Treuhandkommanditistinnen sowie die Hamburger Finanzkontor GmbH & Co. KG vor und wird die Klage in den nächsten Tagen beim Landgericht Hamburg einreichen. Dabei macht die Ehefrau des Anlegers die Schadensersatzansprüche aus abgetretenem Recht geltend.

Ein Hamburger Kaufmann hatte sich in den Jahren 2005 und 2006 als Privatanleger auf Empfehlung seines Anlageberaters unter anderem an der Alternative Capital Invest GmbH & Co. II bzw. III. Dubai Tower KG beteiligt und ihm ist dadurch ein Schaden von etwa 245.000,00 EUR entstanden. Nach Auffassung von hrp hat sich die ACI schadensersatzpflichtig gemacht. Aufgrund der Angaben der in den Prospekten abgedruckten Gesellschaftsverträge muss der Leser zu dem Ergebnis gelangen, dass die  Fondsgesellschaften die Grundstücke in eigenem Namen halten. Dies ist in der Praxis jedoch nicht der Fall. Bei der III. Dubai Fonds Tower KG ist die sogenannte „Dubai Branch“, die als unselbständige Niederlassung der Komplementärin in Dubai eingetragen ist, als Treuhänderin für die Fondsgesellschaft Eigentümerin des Grundstücks. Das Grundstück der II. Dubai Fonds Tower KG wird weiterhin von der Verkäuferin als Eigentümerin gehalten.

Es macht aus Sicht von hrp einen großen Unterschied, ob die Fondsgesellschaft oder deren Komplementärin Eigentümerin eines Grundstücks ist. Hinzu kommt, dass die ACI Branch ohne Genehmigung der Anleger die registrierten Käufer der II. Dubai Fonds Tower KG auf die III. Dubai Tower KG übertragen hat. Dies könnte den Straftatbestand der Untreue verwirklichen. Mittlerweile hat auch die Staatsanwaltschaft Bielefeld ein Ermittlungsverfahren gegen Verantwortliche der ACI eingeleitet und am 22.06.2010 die Büroräume der ACI in Gütersloh durchsucht. In einer Presseerklärung vom 24.06.2010 teilt die Staatsanwaltschaft diesbezüglich mit, dass die gewonnenen Erkenntnisse den Verdacht des Kapitalanlagebetruges bisher nicht erhärten konnten. Eine genaue Auswertung der vorgefundenen Unterlagen bleibe insoweit abzuwarten.

Nach Auffassung von Anlegeranwalt Peter Hahn aus Hamburg wird es höchste Zeit, dass die Gesellschafter der verschiedenen ACI-Dubai-Fonds sich untereinander austauschen und zivilrechtlich durch einen Fachanwalt die Geltendmachung von Schadensersatzansprüchen prüfen lassen. „Insbesondere Anleger mit einer eintrittspflichtigen Rechtsschutzversicherung sollten sich von den Verantwortlichen der ACI nicht weiter vertrösten lassen. Wenn die Anleger weiterhin nichts unternehmen“, so Anwalt Hahn weiter, „droht eine Verjährung ihrer Schadensersatzansprüche“.

Hamburg: 30.07.2010

CRACKS have emerged in the fraud prosecution of two Australian executives in Dubai, raising questions about the claims of their alleged victim, Sunland, the Gold Coast-based developer that alleges it was duped in a property deal.

BusinessDay believes a series of emails will be relied on by the defendants in Dubai and in a civil case in Australia in an attempt to contradict Sunland’s claims that it was kept in the dark and that Matt Joyce and Marcus Lee misled it when they were working for Dubai Waterfront, the world’s biggest waterfront development.

Joyce and Lee spent nine months behind bars in the emirate until they were bailed in October to fight the fraud case, in which Sunland is the key witness for the prosecution. Its claims of being cheated are also central to the civil case it has launched against Joyce and other parties in the Federal Court, where it is trying to recoup millions lost on the venture.

In the Dubai and Federal Court proceedings, Sunland alleges it was misled in two critical ways when it bought Plot D17 in 2007 from the Dubai government-owned master developer Nakheel, parent company of Dubai Waterfront.

First, it says its chief operating officer in Dubai, David Brown, was duped into believing that another Australian company, Prudentia, had rights to buy the plot, so Sunland paid Prudentia a $14 million ”consulting fee” to release the land.

Second, Sunland claims Joyce, as managing director of Dubai Waterfront, failed to disclose a long-term friendship with Prudentia’s director, Angus Reed, with whom he attended Geelong Grammar.

But Brown sent an email to Joyce on August 19, 2007, which is expected to be relied on in Joyce’s defence in the Federal Court. Evidence for the plaintiff and the defence is yet to be heard in the proceedings, where the emails are expected to be presented in their full context.

On its face, Brown appears to acknowledge in the email the status of Plot D17, and that Sunland’s founder and executive director, Soheil Abedian, was informed. At this point, Sunland and Prudentia were negotiating a joint venture on the development plot.

”Thanks Matt,” Brown wrote, ”I got your message and yes Soheil is aware that Prudentia are still in negotiations with Nakheel and have not purchased the site. Jeff [Austin, Nakheel’s director of planning and development] and Anthony [Brearley, a Nakheel lawyer] have also made this clear. The fact they have not purchased D17 yet is better because [it will] allow us and Prudentia to agree to JV terms before we proceed to buy the site.”

In that email, Brown also told Joyce: ”I have informed Soheil of your prior relationship with Prudentia and your desire not to get involved.”

While it did not mention the old-school connection, this email may suggest that Joyce wanted to remain at arm’s length from the deal. Brown wrote that Sunland would instead continue to deal ”with Anthony, Marcus [Lee] and Jeff”.

But 10 days later, on August 29, in a 5.56am email to Joyce, Brown was ”extremely” disappointed to hear that Nakheel was negotiating to sell the plot to a Russian group, ”considering the time and effort that we and our JV partner has put into the purchase of this plot”. Again, this calls into question Sunland’s claim that it did not know Prudentia had secured no rights over the plot.

In Sunland’s statement of claim in the Federal Court, Brown alleges that Joyce told him by phone on the same day as this email that other potential buyers, including Russians, might offer a much bigger price for the plot.

Sunland alleges this was to pressure it to proceed with the purchase.

The time of this alleged call is unclear but in Joyce’s reply email to Brown, at 6.58am, he wrote that he doubted ”our guys would negotiate with another party without at least informing you” – unless it was the work of Nakheel Sales without Dubai Waterfront’s knowledge.

Prudentia and Angus Reed, in their defences lodged in the Federal Court, say they never suggested they owned Plot D17 or had sealed an option to buy it.

And they insist Sunland was fully aware of this.

Rather, they argue, Nakheel had merely regarded Prudentia as a ”preferred negotiator”. On August 10, 2007, Nakheel’s Jeff Austin had confirmed in a letter to Reed that it would be happy ”to grant you preliminary development and planning approval”.

”We also confirm that we would be happy to entertain discussions with your joint venture partner provided [they] are a proven developer like Prudentia,” Austin wrote.

Joyce’s defence in the Federal Court says a draft sale agreement had been sent to Prudentia on August 15 and Dubai Waterfront did not want to appear to be involved in ”gazumping” by dealing directly with the ”secondary developer”, Sunland.

In any event, the joint-venture negotiations collapsed and Sunland decided to buy Plot D17 alone.

A document tendered in court in Dubai, dated September 18, 2007, shows its board agreed on the purchase and to enter a memorandum of understanding with Prudentia.

The next day, David Brown and Angus Reed signed the deal, which included a strict confidentiality clause between the two parties. Sunland agreed to pay the consulting fee.

In return, Prudentia handed over its ”right to negotiate” with the master developer.

It has also been alleged that Marcus Lee, who was Dubai Waterfront’s head of commercial operations, had intervened to lower the price of Plot D17 to push the purchase along. Under this deal, it is alleged, Prudentia would take a ”land uplift” fee – the difference between the lower price and the market price.

But an internal Nakheel email on August 27, 2007, appears to clear Lee on this count. Nakheel’s then director of sales and marketing, Manal Shaheen, sent the email to her CEO, and to Joyce and Lee. Shaheen told them that her team had found the price of 125 UAE dirhams ($A37) a square foot was too high. She wrote that Lee’s ”business report should say market price which is 110 and then give me to sign”.

Lee is expected to rely on this exchange to support his consistent position: that he merely did his job according to instructions of his superiors at Nakheel. When he later recommended a price of 120 UAE dirhams a square foot, he will argue that it was approved by his superiors.

Shaheen’s email suggests that Nakheel was informed. Nakheel has not come to the defence of Lee, who says he never gained nor stood to gain from the land sale.

Nor has Nakheel defended Joyce, who says he was paid nothing in connection with the Sunland deal.

Sunland is yet to develop Plot D17. Prudentia and Reed, in their defence in Australia, claim this means it has lost the opportunity to reduce its alleged loss by about 24 million dirhams ($A7.16 million).

A property investor has been awarded a refund by Dubai Courts for an office unit he bought in a project that is 20 months behind schedule.

The British businessman Ron Oakeley bought two offices in a building in Dubai’s Business Bay that was to be named after the former Formula One racing driver Niki Lauda. The proposed Niki Lauda Twin Towers building was part of a trio of projects launched by Alternative Capital Invest (ACI) Real Estate, a German developer, in late 2007 that were to be named after famous sport stars.

He filed a lawsuit against ACI in March last year to try to recover more than Dh1 million (US$272,000) he had invested in the project, which was due to be completed this year but is about 20 months late.

According to a judgment from Dubai Courts that has been seen by The National, the courts rendered Mr Oakeley’s agreement with ACI for one of the units “void” and ordered the company to pay back Dh569,585, plus 5 per cent interest from the date Mr Oakeley started court proceedings.

The case was won because ACI had failed to register the property with Dubai’s Land Department, according to court documents. A property contract is valid only when it is registered with the department.

Mr Oakeley’s victory was muted, however, as he lost the case for a second unit on which he spent Dh695,000, because it was registered.

The investor is appealing against the second decision through Dubai’s Court of Cassation.

Despite spending thousands of dirhams taking the case to court, and risking losing the judgment on the first unit, Mr Oakeley said he would continue the fight.

“It’s like throwing good money after bad, but having two units makes it worthwhile,” he said.

With most developers grappling with a shortage of cash, Mr Oakeley also has the challenge of getting the court’s order enforced.

Unless a project is officially cancelled by Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency, cash kept in an escrow account, in which developers must by law deposit all investors’ money, must be used to fund construction, however long that might take.

“It’s all well and good getting a court order to get your money back, but does the developer have the money?” said Duane Keighran, the deputy head of property for the MENA region at the law firm Simmons and Simmons.

“There are a number of developers in town who wouldn’t have enough in the escrow account to refund investors; and money they do have will be used for construction. Investors can go to ACI themselves, with the court order and ask for the money, or the court can do it, but it’s unclear what the recourse would be after that.”

Saqer Engineering and Contracting Enterprises was awarded a contract in late 2008 to build the Niki Lauda project, but has since slowed work.

Mahmoud Younis, the managing partner at Saqer, said the project could take a further 20 months to complete.

“It’s ongoing but it is very slow … because of the cash flow,” he said.

Robin Lohmann, the managing director of ACI, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Meanwhile, work on two other towers that were to be named after former tennis champion Boris Becker and the F1 driver Michael Schumacher is also behind schedule.

Becker also owns a share in the Boris Becker Beach Resort and Tennis Academy, a Dh3 billion resort planned by ACI on Al Marjan Island in Ras al Khaimah.

Source: The National

Die Alternative Capital Invest GmbH aus Gütersloh (NRW) hat gar keine Beteiligungs-Fonds mehr, und auch die 300 Millionen Euro Anlegergelder sind komplett in emiratischen Firmen versenkt, dennoch fordern die nun eigentlich arbeitslosen ACI-Chefs Robin Lohmann (34) und Vater Uwe Lohmann (64) in einem Bettelbrief für 2010 und die nächsten Jahre für eine so genannte Liquidationsphase von den Anlegern ein Gehalt von jährlich 1,1 Millionen Euro. Für jeden der vier Ex-Fonds (Kommanditgesellschaften II bis V) genau 266.560 Euro.

Die Anleger würden diese “freiwillige Umlage” kaum spüren, heißt es in dem von Geschäftsführer Uwe Lohmann unterschriebenen Brief vom 17. Dezember 2009. Lediglich 150 Euro seien pro 10.000 Euro Einlage nötig. Die Anleger bräuchten auch nichts zu tun. Das Geld werde automatisch von der ACI immer am 15. Januar eines jeden Jahres gleich für das ganze Jahr im Voraus abgebucht.

Betroffen sind 5.000 Anleger aus Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz. Offiziell ist es eine Gesellschafterbeschlussvorlage, über die die Anleger bis zum 17. Januar 2010 per Fax an das Gütersloher Büro der ACI abstimmen sollten. Wie die Abstimmung ausgegangen ist, darüber hüllt sich die ACI-Leitung bis heute in Schweigen.

Wörtlich heißt es im Schreiben von Geschäftsführer Uwe Lohmann vom 17. Dezember 2009 zu Fonds Nummer II (die Schreiben zu den anderen drei Fonds III, IV und V sind gleichlautend):

Robin Lohmanns Zwillingsschwester
Nadine (34) und Vater Uwe Lohmann (64)
Robin Lohmanns Zwillingsschwester
Nadine (34) und Vater Uwe Lohmann (64)

Zitat:

Honorar der Komplementärin / Kostenerstattung zur Abwicklung während der Liquidationsphase

Da die Geschäftsführung – wie Sie auch – davon ausgegangen war, dass die Liquidationsphase der Gesellschaft angesichts des bereits abgeschlossenen Kaufvertrages mit der Firma YAMA allenfalls bis März/April 2009 anhält, hatte sich die Komplementärin mit einer Pauschalvergütung für die bevorstehende Abwicklung in 2009 in Höhe von 60.000 Euro (zuzüglich Mehrwertsteuer) unter Freistellung der Fondsgesellschaft von weiteren Kosten bereit erklärt.

Da der Kaufvertrag nicht durchgeführt werden kann und nicht abzusehen ist, wie lange die Liquidationsphase noch anhält, ist die Geschäftsgrundlage für diese Vereinbarung entfallen. Die Komplementärin ist nicht in der Lage, ohne entsprechende Honorierung die Geschäftsführung nebst Übernahme der persönlichen Haftung weiterzuführen.

a) Honorar für Geschäftsführung und Haftungsübernahme

Die Geschäftsführung schlägt vor, der Komplementärin für die Zeit ab 1.1.2010 und für die Dauer des weiteren Liquidationsverfahrens ein Honorar von jährlich 120.000 Euro (zuzüglich Mehrwertsteuer), zurzeit also brutto = 142.800,00 Euro pro Jahr zu gewähren, und zwar für die Geschäftsführung und Übernahme der Haftung.

Die Vergütung ist fällig jeweils jährlich im Voraus per 15.01. eines jeden Jahres, erstmals per 15.01.2010. Die vorgeschlagene Gesamtvergütung liegt weit unterhalb des prospektierten Honorars für die Geschäftsführung, obwohl der Arbeitsumfang und das Risiko während der Liquidationsphase erheblich gewachsen sind.

Danach fallen jährlich folgende Kosten für die Komplementärgesellschaft ab 01.01.2010 an:

Honorar für Geschäftsführung und Haftungsübernahme: 120.000 Euro zuzüglich Mehrwertsteuer, zur Zeit somit 142.800 Euro.

b) Der sonstige Aufwand / Auslagen, die von der Gesellschaft an die Geschäftsführung zu erstatten sind,

werden auf mindestens 100.000 Euro pro Jahr kalkuliert. Dazu gehören unter anderem:
Treuhandkosten pro Jahr: 15.000 Euro
Rechtsberatungskosten und Prozesskosten Deutschland: 12.000 Euro
Steuerberatungskosten /Jahresabschlüsse: 40.000 Euro
Rechtsberatungskosten Dubai 10.000 Euro
Rundschreiben / Abstimmungsunterlagen / Protokolle: 10.000 Euro
Kosten von Veranstaltungen / Raumkosten / Gastronom: 3.000 Euro
Anteilige Kosten Gesamtbeirat (inklusive eventuelle Spesen): 1.000 Euro
Notarkosten / Apostillen usw.: 1.000 Euro
Sonstiges: 12.000 Euro
Summe geschätzter sonstiger Aufwand / Auslagen pro Jahr: 104.000 Euro zuzüglich 19 Prozent Mehrwertsteuer 19.760 Euro
Gesamt brutto Aufwand / Auslagen: 123.760 Euro

c) Insgesamt fallen somit jährlich folgende Kosten bei Ihrer Beteiligungsgesellschaft an:

Geschäftsführungshonorar, siehe oben a) ergibt 142.800 Euro
Sonstiger Aufwand / Auslagen, siehe vorstehend b) 123.760 Euro

Insgesamter Kostenaufwand für die Gesellschaft: 266.560 Euro

Insoweit wird vorgeschlagen, zu beschließen, dass die Beteiligungsgesellschaft für die Dauer des Liquidationsverfahrens ab dem 01.01.2010 an die Komplementärin 120.000 Euro und weitere 104.000 Euro an sonstigem Aufwand, jeweils zuzüglich MWST, zahlt, fällig jeweils zum 15.01. des Jahres.

d) Die Geschäftsführung wird versuchen, die vorstehenden Kosten durch eine freiwillige Umlage zu erheben, um die Ausschüttungen nicht zurück fordern zu müssen. Die Umlagebträge belasten den einzelnen Gesellschafter relativ gering (im Verhältnis zur gezeichneten Kommanditeinlage).

Beispiel: Bei einem gezeichneten Netto-Kapitalbetrag von 10.000 Euro und einer jährlichen Umlage von 266.560 Euro macht dies bei der II. Dubai Tower Fonds KG folgende Belastung pro Jahr aus:

(Gesamtkosten) 266.560 Euro: (Fondsvolumen) 17.144.500 Euro = 0,015 Euro x 10.000 Euro = 150 Euro.

Auf je 10.000 Euro Kommanditbeteiligung fallen somit pro Jahr 150 Euro an Vergütung für die gesamte Geschäftsführung (inklusive Drittleistungen und sonstiger Aufwand) an. Den auf Ihre Beteiligung anfallenden Betragsanteil werden wir, damit für Sie kein zusätzlicher Arbeitsaufwand entsteht, je nach Beschlussfassung von Ihrem Konto einziehen.

Es wird vorgeschlagen, entsprechende Beschlüsse zu fassen.

Möglicherweise endete die Abstimmung wieder einmal mit einer Watschen. Denn der Gehaltsbettel-Brief vom 17. Dezember 2009 ist schon der zweite. Der erste Bettelbrief vom September 2009 war am Wiederstand der Vertriebler gescheitert und fiel bei den Anlegern durch. Damals forderte die ACI-Führung einfach die Fortsetzung ihrer Bezahlung in Höhe von rund einer Million Euro pro Fonds, also insgesamt vier Millionen Euro pro Jahr.

Aber damit sich das nicht wiederholt, haben die ACI-Chefs Druck aufgebaut. Sie drohen den Anlegern im neuen Schreiben unverhohlen mit Insolvenz und mit horrenden Zahlungen, die die Anleger als Gesellschafter der Fonds-Kommanditgesellschaften dann zu leisten hätten.

Und die 300 Millionen Euro, die die Anleger insgesamt eingezahlt hätten, seien im Insolvenzfall für immer verloren. Zur Bekräftigung veröffentlichten die Lohmanns auf der ACI-Webseite einen Brief eines Wirtschaftsanalysten, der mal eben klar stellte, dass es zwecklos sei, in Dubai versickertes Geld zurückholen zu wollen.

DUBAI // As an amateur photographer and property investor, Imre Solt found himself visiting construction sites throughout Dubai to document the progress of the rising skyline of Dubai on a daily basis. Now he is lucky to find a significant change at a project once a month.

“Sometimes I don’t take any photos at all because there is no progress,” says the Hungarian-born Mr Solt, who has captured the city’s growth in what he estimates are 100,000 pictures taken from the tops of tall buildings, helicopters and even a biplane. “There are a few buildings that have made very good progress, but I think more projects are on hold than before. Sometimes, there are just a few workers there.”

The numbers bear him out. More than a fifth of construction projects in Dubai have been put on hold or cancelled in the past year, with the remainder severely delayed, said Proleads, a construction information provider. Proleads also estimates that the number of construction workers in Dubai has declined 45 per cent from the peak of the property boom in 2008 to last month, a further sign of the city’s post-boom state.

The problems are not isolated to Dubai, with projects in Abu Dhabi, Ras al Khaimah and Ajman similarly stalled.

“You have this stalemate,” says Andrew Charlesworth, the head of capital markets at the property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle. “We are not seeing any distressed sales come through. Banks are reluctant to foreclose. Buyers can’t make payments and developers can’t build.”

A prime example of the problems is Pier 8, a debris-strewn 16-storey concrete skeleton in the middle of the bustling Dubai Marina. A piece of twisted wire clamps together the site’s red-and-white gates. They have been closed since last March.

“The construction has slowed down because of the crisis, but we will be continuing the development of Pier 8 by the end of the first quarter or the second quarter,” says a spokesman for Abyaar Real Estate Development, the Kuwaiti developer of the project. “We already have an agreement with one of the local banks in Kuwait regarding financing the remaining floors.”

It would be easy to simplify the plight of Dubai’s developers as the natural aftermath of a boom. Property prices are estimated to have declined by as much as 50 per cent since reaching peaks in 2008, a period when quick resales of apartments and even whole buildings provided a lucrative business for speculators. Now, it would appear, they are paying the price.

The reality, of course, is more complicated. The number of projects that are stalled is dwarfed by the hundreds of projects that are going forward, albeit at a much slower pace in many cases. Many more were completed before the market went awry.

Other sites are bustling. A 10-minute walk from Pier 8, the twisting Infinity Tower by Cayan Investment and Development is rising rapidly. In a sign of accelerated construction plans, contractors are putting up the glass on lower floors, while workers pour concrete for new floors above.

In Dubai Marina, 18 projects are either delayed or on hold, according to an analysis by The National. Only five of those projects are more than three storeys high. The vast majority are either sandlots or foundations for buildings. In contrast, 36 projects in the Marina are actively under construction.

While the Marina may not show how Dubai developers are coping elsewhere with the downturn, it reveals the outlines of what industry analysts say is a clear trend: developers are working hard to complete projects that are well underway, but waiting until economic conditions improve to finish those that have not started.

In that sense, Abyaar’s Pier 8 tower, its rusty steel reinforcement bars covered by a green mesh for preservation, is an exception. The company’s project across the street is probably a better sign of the trend.

The Ice Tower, a planned 30-floor tower that was launched in 2008, is “on hold for sure”, the Abyaar spokesman says. That project’s site is nothing more than a fenced-off patch of sand.

“Everyone knows we have delayed,” the spokesman says. “The projects have been delayed because of the financing situation. To convince a bank to offer you money for something in Dubai, it’s not very easy.”

As the statistics show, there are many projects in Dubai that also are in limbo, such as Pier 8 or The Pad, a Zaha Hadid-designed apartment tower at Business Bay that the developer, Omniyat Properties, describes as being in the shape of an iPod. The Pad is a few floors high, but Omniyat has put it on hold.

Omniyat’s problem has been the knock-on effect of Dubai’s debt crisis. Dubai is estimated to owe more than US$80 billion (Dh293.84bn) to local and international creditors, much of which it used to build the roads, bridges, power lines and other infrastructure to service projects such as Omniyat’s. With credit markets still largely closed and construction delayed, however, stalled roads and services are forcing a rethink for some developers.

“The new completion dates will be dependent upon and consistent with the master developer’s permanent infrastructure delivery dates,” the Omniyat spokeswoman says. Business Bay’s master developer is Dubai Properties, an arm of the Dubai Government-owned group, Dubai Holding.

Haroon Mahmood, the chief executive of MiNC Property Enterprises, said that his company’s 16-floor, serviced apartment building, Marina Suites, had been marooned on a concrete island.

“We were under construction and one day the contractors arrived at work to find there was no road there,” says Mr Mahmood, whose company bought the project from Sheffield Real Estate and sold it to investors. “We had no forewarning and when we talked to them they said come back in two-and-a-half years’ time.”

The site is now accessible, but the delay has eaten through most of the money invested in the project and the original contractor is suing for damages. Still, Mr Mahmood says he expects the complex to be built. Despite all the delays, he says the developer and investors could still make a profit on it.

“I think it will have to go forward at some point, because there’s so much riding on it,” he says. “I can’t imagine everyone walking away from something they’ve invested so much money and time in.”

Dubai’s project delays might have taken their greatest toll on investors and home buyers, rather than developers. A chorus of disgruntled investors has made waves in recent months, complaining about delays and attempts by developers to press them for more cash to get projects back on track. Back in the Marina, there are several brewing disputes, including at projects located just steps from Pier 8.

300 Millionen Euro Anlegergelder sind irgendwo in Baugruben und Grundstücks- vormerkungen Dubais versickert, die Konten der vier Alternative Capital Invest Tower Kommanditgesellschaften (Fonds II bis V) sind seit 2008 leer. Dennoch muss der nun zu „Abwicklern“ gewandelte ACI-Familienbetrieb – bestehend aus Chef Uwe Lohmann (64), Sohn Robin (34) sowie der neuerdings zur Beirätin gewählten Zwillingsschwester Nadine – nicht Hartz IV beantragen.

Im Gegenteil. Der Lohmann-Clan darf sich über eine jährliche Apanage von 1,1 Millionen Euro für 2010 und weitere noch unbestimmte Jahre freuen und zwar rückwirkend zum 01. Januar 2010. Die mehr als 7.000 Anleger der Fonds II bis V sollten hierüber in einer schriftlichen Gesellschafterversammlung abstimmen. Und am 27. Januar 2010 teilte ACI-Seniorchef Uwe Lohmann in einem Rundschreiben das Ergebnis mit.

Laut Lohman hätten demnach rund zwei Drittel mit Ja gestimmt. Ein klarer Mehrheitsbeschluss. Lohmann forderte deshalb in dem gleichen Schreiben alle Anleger auf, dem Beschluss Folge zu leisten und sofort rund 144 Euro pro 10.000 Euro Einlage auf das ACI-Konto bei der Sparkasse Gütersloh zu überweisen. Alle, die der ACI irgendwann mal eine Einzugsermächtigung erteilt haben, bräuchten nichts zu tun. Bei ihnen bucht die ACI automatisch ab.

Für die korrekte Stimmenauszählung war der ACI-Chef persönlich verantwortlich

Vielleicht haben sich die um ihre Einlagen und den Verkaufspreis (geplatzter Deal) geprellten Anleger tatsächlich für eine Weiterbezahlung der Fondsinitiatoren entschieden. Vielleicht aber auch nicht. Die Auszählung der Stimmen jedenfalls und die Bekanntgabe des Abstimmungsergebnisses überwachte am Faxgerät in der Gütersloher Zentrale der ACI-Chef Uwe Lohmann persönlich und damit ausgerechnet der Mann, dessen wirtschaftliche Existenz von der Zustimmung der Anleger abhing.

Uwe Lohmann hatte Ende letzten Jahres auch die Vorlage zur Abstimmung formuliert und verschickt. Das Schreiben glich einer Erpressung. Denn, wenn die Honorarzahlungen ausbleiben sollten, so schrieb Lohmann am 17. Dezember 2009 in seinen Bettelbriefen (für jeden Fonds extra einen), dann würde die ACI Insolvenz anmelden. Und dann müssten die Anleger rund 13,8 Millionen Euro Vorabgewinnausschüttungen zurückzahlen, weil die Fonds noch gar keine Gewinne gemacht hätten.

Beschäftige man dagegen das Management weiter, wären lediglich 271.604 Euro für jeden Fonds oder umgerechnet auf den einzelnen Anleger nur 144 Euro pro 10.000 Euro Einlage an die ACI zu zahlen. Das mache im Jahr 1,1 Millionen Euro aus. Das sei allemal weniger als die 13,8 Millionen Euro, die an den Insolvenzverwalter zurückzuzahlen seien – so die Argumentation des Managements.

Und was tun nun die ACI-Manager für die weitere Bezahlung durch die Anleger?

Uwe Lohmann nennt es “Erstattung der Kosten zur Abwicklung der Liquidationsphase”. Gemeint ist der Versuch, den geplatzten Verkauf der vier Fonds an den emiratischen Kohlen- und Geschenkartikelhändler YAMA LLC Ende 2008 in Höhe von 124,5 Millionen Euro doch noch irgendwie mit jemand anderem zu bewerkstelligen.

Doch das gliche einem Wunder. Dazu müsste das zusammengebrochene Flippersystem wieder auferstehen, bei dem man mit immer neuen am Tropf der Banken hängenden Wohnungsan- und -weiterverkäufern ganze Türme bauen konnte, wenn man nur die Bodenplatte besaß. Für dieses Warten auf das Wunder soll sich nun laut Abstimmungsergebnis von Uwe Lohmann die Mehrheit der ACI-Anleger entschieden haben.

Der Finanznachrichtendienst GoMoPa.net dokumentiert das angebliche Abstimmungsergebnis, das ACI-Geschäftsführer Uwe Lohmann den Anlegern der II. Dubai Tower KG am 27. Januar 2010 zuschickte (die Schreiben für III, IV und V sind ähnlich):

Dokumente zum Thema
» Abstimmung II. Dubai Tower KG
» Abstimmung III. Dubai Tower KG
» Abstimmung IV. Dubai Tower KG
» Abstimmung V. Dubai Tower KG
» ACI-Bettelbrief für Ex-Fonds II
» ACI-Bettelbrief für Ex-Fonds III
» ACI-Bettelbrief für Ex-Fonds IV
» ACI-Bettelbrief für Ex-Fonds V
» ACI-Bericht an die Anleger vom 17.12.2009

Pressemitteilungen zum Thema
» ACI: Keine Sorge, Robin Lohmann bucht ab
» ACI-Dubai-Fonds: Wir zahlten nie aus Gewinnen
» Dubai-Fonds: ACI droht Anlegern mit Insolvenz
» Pressefreiheit endet am Geldhahn
» ACI: Der Boss ist erst zehn Jahre alt
» ACI-Chefs bestellten neue Identität in Panama
» ACI-Owners ordered new Indentities
» ACI-Dubai-Fonds: sechs neue Bentleys für den Chef
» ACI-Dubai: Dr. Schulte Anwälte prüfen Haftung von Boris Becker, Michael Schumacher & Niki Lauda
» ACI Dubai Fonds – inklusive Lear Jet für den Juniorchef
» Die Pleitetürme von Becker, Schumacher und Lauda
» Dubai: Jeder Depp wurde Spekulant
» Steuerparadies Dubai: Schluss mit lustig

Angaben aus dem Departement of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai
» YAMA und ACI
» ACI Consultancy
» ACI General Trading LLC
» ACI Investment Project LLC
» ACI Real Estate LLC
» YAMA LLC

Beiträge zum Thema
» ACI: Alternative Capital Invest Dubai Tower
» Bauboom in der Wüste
» Dubai Fonds Richtigstellung
» Kennt einer das hier
» Immobilienfonds Dubai, Libanon, Oman etc.
» Aussergewöhnliche Renditen
» ACI Holding Group Inc Development Unernehmen

Stichwörter zum Thema

» Immobilienfonds Insolvenz Emissionshaus

DUBAI – Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) will decide which of the hundreds of projects in the emirate are unviable and should be cancelled next month, staff said on Wednesday.

Staff at the RERA call centre said the review of more than 1,400 projects will be completed by the end of November, as investor concerns grow that many projects launched during the boom years are no longer feasible.

“By next month it will be out,” one member of staff said.

No RERA officials were immediately available for comment.

Billions of dollars worth of developments were launched during Dubai’s real estate boom, which had seen property prices close to double by mid-2008 from the start of 2007.

But the global financial crisis sent prices crashing as financing and demand dried up, forcing developers to freeze or cancel projects.

Developers have been reluctant to cancel projects outright and refund investors’ money, instead putting projects on hold until market conditions improve.

Investors say properties they purchased are now worth a fraction of what they paid and are calling on developers to scrap projects where construction has yet to begin and refund their money.

RERA and the Dubai Land Department in May set up a committee review projects and cancel those deemed unviable.

Marwan bin Ghalita, head of RERA, said at the time 27 projects were being considered for cancellation and that he believed 25 percent of projects will be cancelled in Dubai as a result of the financial crisis.

RERA staff said on Wednesday that 27 projects “are in the queue of being cancelled” and more could follow.

“They are not eligible to go ahead. Whoever has invested in these projects will get a full refund,” a member of staff said.

“Al Fajer Properties, which is controlled by a powerful sheikh from a ruling family using the government agency platform, continues to mislead the public about their non-existing construction with false reports as evident in their recent press release claiming 15% construction where in reality it is a deserted site with no construction at all.”

maktoum-hasher-juma-maktoum-afp-al-fajer-ebony-ivory-20091

Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hasher Al Maktoum