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16 April 2024

Ex-CEO wins lawsuit against Nakheel

By Reuters

Nakheel's former chief executive won a lawsuit for breach of contract against the developer on Thursday and was awarded $3 million in damages by a Dubai court.

Chris O'Donnell, who left Nakheel last June after five years as chief executive, had sued the developer for $3.7 million in lost incentives, entitlement fees, interest, exchange rate losses and salary-related claims.

He also sought a business class airline ticket from Dubai to Australia.

The Dubai World special tribunal rejected the interest and airfare claims but awarded O'Donnell $3 million for long-term incentive payments.

An additional amount of about Dh916,000 ($249,400) was also awarded for lieu days during his stint.

O'Donnell's annual salary amounted to around Dh4.8 dirhams during this time, the court heard in one of its earlier sessions.

"Whilst I have been entirely vindicated by the Dubai World Tribunal, I am naturally disappointed that ... the matter was not able to be resolved amicably without the need to take costly legal proceedings that vented Nakheel's internal business in a public forum," O'Donnell said in a statement after the verdict.

Nakheel's lawyers said the case should have been first brought to the Ministry of Labour but considered the rejection of certain additional costs as a good result.

"We respect today's court ruling. However, we firmly believe we have a strong case and if we had the right to appeal we would have done so," a Nakheel spokesman said in a statement.

It is Nakheel's second loss this week. The developer was ordered to pay about Dh60 million to Technical Architects General Contracting Company (TAGC) earlier this week, as compensation for a Dh950 million project that was halted.