Dubai: Prosecutor orders detention of Union Properties boss

Property company's board of directors hold meeting to discuss 'routine and operational matters'

File photo
File photo


Published: Tue 9 Nov 2021, 5:38 PM

A top prosecutor in the UAE has called for the detention of the chairman of Dubai-based real estate developer Union Properties while an investigation into the company is underway, according to a disclosure filed by the company late Monday.

The disclosure, posted on the Dubai Financial Market stock exchange website, included the Arabic letter from the public prosecutor for public funds informing of the decision to order the detention of Khalifa Hassan Al Hammadi, chairman of the board of directors of Union Properties, pending investigation.

The letter added that the case remains under investigation.

Union Properties said in a subsequent disclosure that its board of directors held a meeting and discussed “the routine and operational matters of the company,” without elaborating. Trading on the company’s stock was suspended on Monday “until resolutions are disclosed,” according to a brief statement on the stock exchange website.

Last month, prosecutors announced they’d launched a major investigation into Union Properties over allegations the company had committed fraud and other offences while trying to claw its way out of debt. The investigation involved allegations that the firm sold property at less than its real value and hid the name of the beneficiary of the sale, as well as allegations of forging documents and other violations.

A stock market filing by Union Properties identified a March 2020 transaction in which Amna Al Hammadi purchased a property for Dh30 million ($8.1 million) that had been earlier valued at Dh 49.5 million ($13.4 million). Previous filings on the London Stock Exchange identified Amna as Khalifa Al Hammadi’s sister.

Union Properties’ filing sought to explain the sale by noting it came amid “the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and its accompanying negative effects — and in light of the company’s commitment to settle its debt towards its lenders.”

Union Properties piled on some $2 billion of debt during Dubai’s financial crisis over a decade ago. The company had nearly $500 million in debt at the end of last year, according to their financial filings.

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