Angus Reed Dubai Case dismissed in Australia
When I went to business school, one of the main areas that I was most interested in was International business. We studied and debated the pros and cons about doing business abroad. One thing that is tough to estimate and plan for is the various cultures and what may seem appropriate in one country may not be seen as appropriate in another country. During the real estate boom that started in 2006 and busted in early 2008, companies and individuals across the globe were caught up in the downturn and lost millions.
This real estate bubble that swept most of the major countries led to huge economic drops and even put some countries at risk of going bankrupt. One such scenario that I was reading about dealt with an investment waterfront property in Dubai that involved two companies: Sunland and Prudentia. Two individuals are currently being held on criminal bribery charges in Dubai, while a civil case was brought about against Prudentia and one of its principles Angus Reed looks was dismissed by the Australian court systems. This is due to a Victorian Supreme Court judge Clyde Croft throwing out Sunland’s claim and slamming evidence about the property deal by its executives.
The Australian courts found that Matt Joyce and Angus Reed had done nothing wrong, but that Sunland executives Soheil Abedian and David Brown were unreliable witnesses who had misled both Dubai Prosecutors and the ASX. Justice Croft made a formal referral of Sunland to ASIC which could result in Criminal charges against Sunland and its directors.
The Australian courts’ ruling led to the Dubai courts abandoning the criminal trial, finding that the charges were not made out by the now questionable evidence from Sunland. Sunland and its directors have been pushing for a new criminal trial in Dubai.
Despite loosing several law suits and now being under investigation itself, Sunland continues to allege that there were improper payments and representation of a piece of waterfront property. The deal took place in early 2007 just as the market was reaching its peak. The deal involved Sunland paying a consultant fee to Prudentia which is controlled by Angus Reed who was a schoolmate and friend of Matthew Joyce. Sunland continue to allege that this was an illegal commission and they were duped into paying this fee, and are spending millions of dollars on lawyers in both Australia and Dubai to appeal rulings against them.
As the allegations continue to go badly for Sunland Group Limited, its share price also continues to languish since James Packer quit their board and sold his shares. There have also been revelations that Sunland was previously investigated by the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission over improper political donations to candidates for the Gold Coast City Council in 2004.
Mr. Joyce and Mr. Lee have both been detained in Dubai for the last three years and they are now hoping that the court ruling over the civil case in Australia will set them free in Dubai.
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