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Damac threatens international arbitration over Egyptian conviction

Dubai developer claims the 'in absentia' conviction of its chairman over land deal is politically motivated

Ahram Online, Thursday 12 May 2011
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Damac Properties is to fight the conviction of its chairman on Egyptian corruption charges by filing a case with the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the company announced yesterday.

Damac, one of Dubai's largest developers, said the Egyptian public prosecutor had filed "spurious charges" against Hussein Sajwani on the basis of a 2006 deal to buy 3,000 hectares in Gamsha Bay near the Red Sea with Egypt's former tourism minister Zuhair Garranah.
 
Garrananh and Sajwani were sentenced by an Egyptian court on Monday. Sajwani was convicted "in absentia", handed a five-year prison term and ordered to return land to the Egyptian government. He was also fined LE242 million. 
 
Damac Properties claim the judgment was part of a 'politically motivated' campaign against businessmen who made deals with the former government. 
 
"As the prosecution and conviction of Mr Sajwani were totally improper, the sentence, fine, order to return the Gamsha Bay land to the state and Interpol arrest request constitute a breach of the bilateral investment treaty between Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, whose purpose is to protect investments of UAE investors in Egypt," Damac's statement said.
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