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Everyone sues everyone else

Everyone sues everyone else

There seems to a raft of international lawsuits underway involving the Middle East, particularly in the property sector. Kipp takes a closer look at a few grabbing the headlines.

June 27, 2010 12:48 by

This seems to be the season for lawsuits, judging from the papers. No sooner has one high profile property lawsuit reached a conclusion (of sorts) than another (admittedly smaller) case finds its way into the headlines.

First the biggest and most significant: the Qatari Diar Real Estate company has lost its High Court battle in the UK against Monaco-based property developer Christian Candy. The court ruled that Qatari Diar, owned by the royal family, breached its contract with Candy’s company CPC Group over a high profile London development.

Qatari Diar withdrew a planning application for the 3 billion pound Chelsea Barracks development on the eve of the planning decision. The move came after the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, complained directly to Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, and Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, the QD chairman, Qatar’s prime minister and a cousin of the emir, that the designs for the site were unsuitable.

Qatari Diar had argued that the designs were withdrawn because they were unlikely to be granted permission by local authorities, but the judge ruled that London mayor, Boris Johnson, had indicated no intention “to exercise his power to direct the [Westminster city council] to refuse the planning application”, as the Qatari side had claimed.

The way is now clear for CPC to apply for costs and damages. CPC was claiming 81 million pounds in compensation, says the Guardian.

The judge indicated some sympathy for Qatari Diar, however, and said that after the intervention of the Prince of Wales “… it was between a rock and a hard place, and was doing the best it could in difficult circumstances.”

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