Investors in stalled Abu Dhabi project refuse ‘half of money back offer’

Buyers who paid hundreds of thousands of dirhams have been trying to claw back their money since work on Tameer Towers on Reem Island halted in 2011.

Some Tameer Towers investors say they were offered half their money back. Sammy Dallal / The National
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ABU DHABI // Investors who bought flats in an Abu Dhabi complex where development stalled said they were offered half the cash they were owed in exchange for dropping lawsuits against the developer.

Buyers who paid hundreds of thousands of dirhams have been trying to claw back their money since work on Tameer Towers on Reem Island halted in 2011. An estimated 70 buyers said Tameer Holdings, owned by the Al Rajhi Group of Saudi Arabia, owed them millions.

Several buyers have pursued the firm in Abu Dhabi Commercial Court for five years.

Some buyers, and a lawyer representing several parties, said the developer now offered a settlement that fell far short of what they are owed. Tameer would not comment on the offer but said it was tendering a new contract and intended to restart construction this year.

Mukdam Faisal paid Dh611,000 for a flat in Tameer Towers nine years ago and has been pursuing Al Rajhi’s group office in Saudi Arabia and its subsidiary Gemstone for his money back.

“They have refused to refund me my hard-earned money and are offering what is called the Tameer exit plan, a 50 per cent refund only subject to high management approval,” he said.

Mr Faisal said he would not settle for Dh300,000 and would continue fighting.

A second investor, who asked not to be named, said he had been offered 50 per cent of what he paid but with no time frame on payment. He rejected it.

A lawyer representing several owners, who also asked not to be identified while legal proceedings were ongoing, said his clients received the same offer.

“Tameer offered them a 50 per cent refund settlement but they refused,” he said. “Why would we accept 50 per cent of what we gave them?

“More than 70 people are fighting in the courts to get their money back from Tameer.

“Most of the cases have been running since 2011.”

Other buyers said they had not even had that offer.

Oleg Pushin won his court case against Tameer but said he has yet to see any of the Dh1 million he paid for a two-bedroom flat.

His court documents state that his money went through Tatweer, a subsidiary. It is responsible for paying him – but the court found that Tatweer’s accounts are empty.

“Because Tameer ran all the money transfers through a company which, according to the court papers, partially belongs to Tatweer, I am now not able to get my money back from Tameer,” said Mr Pushin.

Another buyer, Joseph Carroll, an American who lived in Abu Dhabi but has since left, said he had spent years trying to get back the Dh1 million he spent.

“I invested in two flats in Tameer Towers in 2007,” he said.

“I have given them approximately Dh1 million in cash.

“In the past 10 years there has been no communication.

“The towers have been stalled since 2011 and I have not received any compensation.”

Tameer would not confirm or comment on the potential settlements but said: “Tameer is committed to the delivery of units to its customers and it has arranged for the project to restart.

“A tender for the construction is under way and it expects to see the project active this year.”