A Birmingham IT consultant and his family had their dream of an idyllic life in the Gulf shattered after forking out more than £100,000 to a “shyster developer” for a luxury seaview apartment.
Geoff Land and his wife Alika have spent six years trying to recoup a six-figure sum after developer Frank Khoie defaulted on the United Arab Emirates deal, despite 35 buyers forking out deposits to the tune of £50 million.
Khoie was eventually sent to jail when a 15 million dollar cheque to purchase land in Ras Al Kaimah bounced – and international legal services company Judicare Group has now won a landmark ruling cancelling sales agreements and ordering refunds.
But Mr Land and his wife, now back in Birmingham, are still waiting to be compensated by Khoie, who was released after just one year – and have accused him of deliberately blocking the legal fight for compensation over the La Hoya Bay Residences fiasco.
Mr Land, who was forced to take up a job in Saudi Arabia for four years because of the failed property deal, said: “We have spent a lot of money trying to get this whole process sorted out. We realised it was not going to happen and we had to change track. We went to Saudi Arabia for four years, and had to re-save money.
“The flat has never been built. We were planning to stay there as a family.
“It would have been a dream place in many ways, business was good, it is not far from Dubai, the lifestyle is super, it doesn’t drop below 18 degrees in winter.
“It was on the coast with mountains behind it. It is a great place to bring up kids right by the beach. Home to work would have been a short walk across the Plaza. It was a dream which was shattered.
“I met Khoie several times. He was very gracious in the way he spoke to you, never aggressive.
“But the guy is just a shyster,” he claimed. “He has taken a lot of money from a lot of people, and he is still trying to do what he can to frustrate the legal system by stringing things out as long as he can.
“We have not got anything out of this yet, nothing is guaranteed. There is a mortgage on the land and it is protected until it is paid off. We are trying to unpick the legal process to get it sold off at auction.
“We do not know what the outcome is going to be, we hope that it turns out to be positive. It was a difficult time moving the family from UAE to Saudi Arabia.
“I was offered a position in Saudi, they asked me if I was interested in a consultancy position for a year.
“I was travelling on a plane to work from Saturday to Thursday, and only seeing my family at weekends. There was a year of travelling and that caused a lot of difficulty.
“Looking back, Frank Khoie was selling a pyramid scheme. He has tainted the whole idyllic dream we once had of living in the UAE and we’ve had to completely change our life plans.
“The UAE legal system is expensive, arduous, slow and unresponsive and makes it so difficult for international investors.
“ Even though we have made huge progress with the help of Judicaire, I would advise any property investor to steer clear of the country.”
Frank Khoie could not be traced for comment.
Neil Heaney, chief executive of Judicaire Group, said: “Clearly the ruling is good news for our clients and is a warning to developers in the UAE who attempt to frustrate purchasers seeking reimbursement of invested monies for non-delivery of property, especially if they rely on an inaccurate Force Majeure argument.”