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Irishman wins 1m euro claim in Dubai property case

dubai propertyA businessman has obtained a €1 million judgment against a developer arising out of a failed deal to purchase several apartments in Dubai.

James Byrne (56), a native of Waterford now living in Dubai, claimed he gave €633,000 to Caoimhin McGeever, otherwise known as Kevin McGeever and his company KMM International Ltd, in 2006 to purchase three studio apartments and a duplex apartment close to the centre of Dubai.

Mr Byrne said he neither got ownership of the properties nor return of his investment and later learned one of the properties was sold to another party.

Between 2007 and 2009 he made two trips to Dubai, one lasting two months, in an effort to sort things out with Mr McGeever, he said. After those efforts proved fruitless, he brought High Court proceedings here.

President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, said Mr Byrne was entitled to judgment of €1 million against Mr McGeever and his company to cover the money paid by Mr Byrne, plus interest, plus his expenses incurred in travelling to Dubai.

Mr McGeever was not in court and, at the outset of the application for judgment, lawyers acting on his behalf were given permission by Mr Justice Kearns to cease representing him on grounds they had been unable to get instructions from him.

Outlining the case, Mr Byrne told his counsel Gary McCarthy SC he was introduced to Mr McGeever in 2006 by a mutual acquaintance. After working in the US for many years, he had funds to invest, he said.

He signed various contracts with Mr McGeever’s company following meetings in Mullingar and was given assurances that the returns from property investments in Dubai were good, he said.

A friend who knew Mr McGeever had told him the developer was a “very wealthy man” whose cars were worth more than the money he Mr Byrne had invested, he said.

Mr Byrne said he became concerned over a number of issues and eventually decided to go to Dubai to meet Mr McGeever who had offices there and see his apartments. Mr McGeever only met him on the day Mr Byrne was due to fly out, he said.

McGeever drove him past a number of buildings and told him his (Mr Byrne’s) apartments were there, he said. Mr Byrne said his concerns persisted, especially as the completion dates for the properties he believed he had bought came and went.

After learning about issues concerning other individuals, Mr Byrne said he contacted Mr McGeever and said he wanted to go to Dubai to meet with him and sort things out. Mr McGeever tried to put him off coming out but eventually, in early 2009, he went out and spent months there trying to sort matters out.

He attended at Mr McGeever’s Dubai offices almost every day, he said. He also discovered a property he believed he had purchased had been sold by Mr McGeever to somebody else. He said various offers were made to him by Mr McGeever but those were not acceptable.

When no deal was reached with Mr McGeever, Mr Byrne initiated the proceedings.-Irish Times

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