Damac to contest against Egyptian conviction

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Damac properties, one of the leading developers in Dubai, said the company would dispute against the conviction of their chairman Hussain Sajwani. Mr Hussain Sajwani was convicted of conniving with the former tourism minister Zuhair Garranah in the 3000 hectares of land deal in Gamsha Bay near Red Seanear in the year 2006. The case was filled with spurious charges and filed in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) court.

Damac stated that they will move an arbitration claim in ICSID, which is affiliated to World Bank. ICSID is an autonomous body set up to resolve investment related international disputes.

Along with Mr Sajwani and Mr Garranah, another businessman named Hisham al Hazeq was also convicted by the Egyptian court on Monday. Mr Sajwani was sentenced for five years, fined 242 million Egyptian pounds (Dh149.5m), and ordered to return the land to the government.

According to the company spokesperson, the entire procedure and the conviction was improper and that it was politically motivated against businessmen who had business dealings with the former government. They argue that it is against the bilateral agreement between the Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, the verdict was passed in absentia of Mr Sajwani.

The trial was in the wake of popular protests that began in January and the subsequent resignation of the president, Mr Hosni Mubarak. Several charges of corruption have been filed against businessmen and politicians.

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