Monday 26 October 2015

Revealed: Saudi Arabian diplomat takes legal action over £25 million for 'missing skyscraper'

A high-level Saudi Arabian diplomat has taken Credit Suisse and the mystery Irish property developer Tom Ryan to London's commercial courts after allegedly providing around £25 million to build a 74-storey residential skyscraper in Canary Wharf, London's financial district.

Dr Mohammed Abdulraman Abdulaziz Albesher, currently the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, is trying to recover £25 million from Ryan and his bankers at Credit Suisse after the developer's property scheme for the Hertsmere House site in Canary Wharf failed to get off the ground, according to the Particulars of Claim seen by Betaville.

Some readers might recall that almost two years ago Ryan launched his plans to build the tallest residential skyscraper in Europe at a site in Canary Wharf with great fanfare. Here is a link to Financial Times article on the launch of the scheme:

However, just a few months later Ryan failed to complete the initial phase of the development and the Hertsmere House site was sold to Greenland, a Chinese property company, in March 2014.

Since then, little old Betaville has revealed that Ryan's banker at Credit Suisse, Hans Olav-Eldring, left the Swiss bank and financial backers to the Hertsmere House scheme, such as Brova Consulting Limited, are threatening to sue the developer and Credit Suisse after providing millions of pounds for the project. Here is my original article and also a follow up piece by The Guardian:

Anyway, it turns out Dr Mohammed allegedly first got involved with the Ryan's Hertsmere House project after his son met the developer in July 2013 at the super posh Bulgari hotel in Knightsbridge, London. At the time, Dr Mohammed was the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Morocco.

According to the Particulars of Claim, Dr Mohammed's son explained to Ryan that his father was interested in purchasing a property in London. So, Ryan offered Dr Mohammed's son the opportunity to invest in Hertsmere House.

After several meetings with Ryan and his banker at Credit Suisse - who allegedly was arranging some of the debt financing for the deal - Dr Mohammed agreed in September 2013 to stump up the £15 million that the developer said he needed as a "down payment" to purchase the Hertsmere House site. To be clear, in their defence, Credit Suisse and Tom Ryan are claiming that Dr Mohammed transferred just over £14.7 million to the developer and his bankers.  

Still, things really started to go downhill for Dr Mohammed from here. A few weeks after providing Ryan with £15/£14.7 million, the developer told Dr Mohammed said he needed a loan of £10.4 million for the, according to the Particulars of Claim, "specific purpose of extending the contract for the purchase of the property".

Ryan then convinced Dr Mohammed to transfer another £12 million in January 2014 after visiting him Casablanca, Morocco. By this point, though, Credit Suisse recognised something was up - the bank froze the £12 million that was paid to Mr Ryan's account and returned it to the Saudi Arabian diplomat.

I expect the the dust up to continue, so keep an eye on little old Betaville for further updates and juicy nuggets...

None of the parties involved would comment.



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