An Abu Dhabi resident who fell victim to an international property scam said he will be lucky if he sees any of the $150,000 (Dh550,875) he invested in the fraudulent scheme.
Kamal Singh, an Indian engineer, was one of more than 100 UAE investors to have lost millions of dirhams in total after being sold investments in Bar Works, an office rental company, by brokers in Dubai and London.
Briton Renwick Haddow was the mastermind of the $50 million scam and, after admitting his role, now faces a 40-year jail sentence from a US court.
Haddow's agreement to co-operate with New York prosecutors in a bid for a reduced sentence came as little consolation to Mr Singh, who was left lamenting his decision to get involved in a scheme selling nonexistent office space. Mr Singh said he was introduced to the scheme by a representative from Square Yards, an estate agency in Dubai.
“I have to ask if they did their due diligence on his company before convincing me to invest my money into Bar Works.”
Mr Singh said he was persuaded to invest in office space in San Francisco and Istanbul after a chance encounter in the building he worked in at the time.
“I was on the ground level and noticed there was an event being held there,” he said.
“I went in and saw it was a property show. I began speaking to a representative of Square Yards who told me about the opportunity to invest in office space in the US and Turkey.”
Mr Singh said he was promised he could opt of the scheme after two years and was guaranteed 25 per cent interest on his investment.
He grew suspicious when problems emerged with initial interest payments.
“In April 2017 I was told that the interest was being delayed and the reason was because of a change in policy,” he said.
“Then it was because they were changing banking systems, but the excuses just kept coming.
“The agents were very pushy in making me invest; I feel they are equally responsible.”
Mr Singh said he doubts that he will see the $150,000 again but is hopeful that some of Haddow's assets could be distributed to his victims following the investigation.
Square Yards management have been contacted for comment. The story will be updated with their reaction.