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Dubai billionaire says no trust in Asia


Al Habtoor has set up camp in Dubai since 1970 and despite the turmoil of European economy, the appeal still exists above certain other areas

July 31, 2012 2:10 by

Khalaf Habtoor, Chairman of the Dubai’s renowned Habtoor Group is a corporate billionaire; with principles.

“I have a principle in my life. I will work in a country that I like. I will work in a country that I can reach easily. I will work in a country where there is law and transparency. In Asia, I will never go. I have no faith. No trust”, he said in an interview with CNBC.

Strong words from a powerful man, no doubt, and it truthfully opens your eyes to the lack of business transparency in the region and how it wasn’t emphasized at one point but is now becoming a strong purpose for investors to pull out of the market.

In fact, despite the cloud of troubles with the Euro zone and the banking scandals, which includes Barclays probe, investors remain keen to put their money into the western continent. Despite his hesitation to invest anymore in European banks, he acknowledges their powerful influence and other positive sectors of the continent.

Although while he says that businesses in Europe often tend to be more transparent, it hasn’t been an easy search for investment.

“They don’t sell. If there is a beautiful hotel, even if with a return of 3 or 4 percent, they don’t want to sell it,” he admits. And when it comes with his dealings with European banks, the experience with Barclays has certainly left him skeptical of European banks in general.

“The bank general manager is highly paid, the bank chief executive got a huge bonus he created for himself with his colleagues, and the shareholders, they are not getting anything. Therefore, I cannot be in their boat,” he said.

Habtoor has always remained an outspoken man and very direct with his dealings. He launched The Al Habtoor Group in Dubai in 1970 and his portfolio currently consists of six hotels, two of which are five-star luxury properties.

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1 Comment

  1. peter peter on August 1, 2012 2:08 pm

    Strange that a Dubai businessman says there is no transparency in Asia. Here in Dubai new laws are passed in the blink of an eye, without any qualms, reversing stated policy. Who cares if the poor investors suffer.


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