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  • Detained in Dubai

Before Israelis invest in RAK, Abu Dhabi must rein in Sheikh Saud

The small northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is aggressively soliciting foreign investment, but eager Israeli investors should be wary. The government of RAK, under Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qassimi has been waging a relentless campaign against everyone who put the tiny emirate on the investment map. At a time when Israeli business people are exploring opportunities opened in the UAE by the Abraham Accords, RAK’s growing brushfire of litigation internationally is sending a strong signal that they do not want foreign business.

Khater Massaad, the one-time “Golden Boy of the Northern Emirates”, the architect of Ras Al Khaimah’s Free Trade Zone and Investment Authority, has been pursued for years by Sheikh Saud in a paranoid campaign of lawsuits and disinformation. Claiming that Massaad, who secured billions of dollars in investment for the backwater emirate of RAK, had embezzled funds and mismanaged the Investment Authority, all because Saud suspected Massaad of sympathising with Saud’s brother, Sheikh Khalid, who was challenging him for the throne.

RAK brought cases against Massaad in Saudi Arabia after he left the UAE, only to later admit in court that they had no evidence against him. The cases were dismissed, but Saud launched them again in his own courts in RAK where he could control the outcome. As a result, Khater Massaad’s assets have been frozen, and his current investment projects in Bangladesh have been halted as courts in Dhaka adjudicate the claims.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, commented, “Khater Massaad’s projects in Bangladesh have no connection whatsoever with Ras Al Khaimah, it is outrageous that Sheikh Saud is allowed to continue interfering with businesses around the world simply because an investor once worked for him. His claims have already been thrown out by an impartial court, and the judgment of RAK courts, which Saud directly controls, cannot be taken seriously. We have seen thoroughly corrupt decisions by Sheikh Saud’s judges time and time again, particularly against the executive staff of the Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone Authority (RAKFTZA) and the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), stemming from his political purge of those bodies during his effort to consolidate power after seizing the throne. Israeli investors would be wise to steer clear of RAK unless and until Abu Dhabi reins in Sheikh Saud; it is simply too unsafe and unstable”