Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Dubai businessman stands up to the craven journalists who are besmirching Dubai's reputation for ethics and transparency. And he should know...

I would like to applaud Naser Nabulsi for his brave and daring letter to the editorial staff of the Financial Times decrying its unfair coverage of the recent debt crisis and affirming to all the world the bright prospects for Dubai and reassuring the financial community that Dubai is governed with the highest ethical standards. As Dubai Inc prepares to square off against the Nakheel Sukuk Creditor Committee I think this is an important thing to point out. The solidity of the rule of law in Dubai is going to become a central factor over the coming weeks, more on this in a moment.

But first I want to take a minute and think back. Naser Nabulsi..... Naser Nabulsi..... somewhere I’ve heard that name before. Where was it? Oh yes, now I remember. Naser Nabulsi was the CEO of the DIFC who fired Philip Thorpe, then head of the DFSA, the DIFC regulatory agency, for looking into board members of the DIFC awarding themselves real estate development contracts within the DIFC. At the time the self dealing and the sacking of the regulator who uncovered it were not surprising though they did cast a cloud on the whole DIFC project. What was surprising was that Nabulsi himself was then sacked in what the international Dubai financial community took to be a sign of Sheikh Mohammed’s determination to part with the old ways and carry through on the promise of the DIFC. It’s a touching irony that Nabulsi is now defending the ethics of Dubai and stressing the rule of law. He should know, he paid for it with his job five years ago.

11 comments:

Z said...

he was not "sacked", he resigned

Ken said...

Or you could say he was not sacked, he "resigned."

F said...

He wasn't "sacked" from DIFC, he resigned, I think you should edit that, you obviously don't know enough about his career.

Anonymous said...

I know Naser Nabulsi personally, and I am sure he was never "sacked". He resigned. You should fix that mistake in your article :)

Ken said...

My understanding is that he was "strongly encouraged" to resign by the powers that be who were concerned about by the concern his doings caused among the international bankers then deciding whether to set up shop in Dubai.

Anonymous said...

Ken every one is telling you he was not sacked ! Why are you trying to change the facts ? Did he fire you ? You look so bad trying to create rumors and instead you should be supportive of him and acknowledge his accomplishments.

Ken said...

Being forced to resign is the same thing as being sacked folks. I had no relationship with him at all and worked closely with his successors. His resignation/sacking had the effect of restoring confidence of the international financial community in the zone which is the point of the article.

Anonymous said...

Ken, his job is to jump start DIFC which he did. he had great accomplishments . He resigned after his job was done. At the end of the day he got the job done. And since you never worked with him as you claim you should not judge him . I have met him and he was so supportive and committed to Dubai and DIFC.

Ken said...

I'm not saying he wasn't committed I'm saying he lined his pockets in the process, freaked out the international investors (us) and was therefore asked to resign, which he did.

Anonymous said...

Get facts before you bullshit! Naser was never sacked and left to create a company for the UAE to absorb the cash back from the us and Europe to Dubai, he is a gret person loved here and respected

Ken said...

Note that I do not draw a distinction between his being sacked and his being forced to resign, it was a face saving way to move him out of the position which, as I'm sure you're aware, is the only way it could have been done. I also do not diminish the job that he did in getting the DIFC off the ground. The point I make, which is factual and as you can see from the links in my article was widely reported in the regional press at the time, is that he removed several executives from power for seeking to address some self dealing going on within the DIFC and was subsequently removed from power. It was made clear at the time to the foreign investment banks setting up in the DIFC that is removal was evidence of a "new Dubai" with transparency and legal certainty. We ourselves were encouraged to market this to others considering setting up in Dubai and we did so which is why it was ironic that he wrote that letter to the FT.

He has gone on to start and run Al Mal capital, a successful firm. Good for him, I wish him the best, but my article is factual.