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Auckland couple ask Qatari ruler for help with Gulf investment

Monday 14th February 2011

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An Auckland couple who say they have reached a "dead-end" with Dubai-based property developer have appealed to Qatar's royal family for help in recovering their investment in a one-bedroom apartment in the Gulf state.

Jenny Creed-Geraghty has sent a letter to Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned in a last ditch attempt to recover the 60,000 euros (NZ$107,114) she and her husband Paul paid to Damac for the apartment, which was supposed to be handed over last April.

The Doha apartment was to have been the first house for the Irish couple, who left County Wicklow in 2004 to work in Qatar. Their most recent information is that the apartment won't be ready before 2014.

The couple have since moved to New Zealand to further their careers and said that they just want their money back.

"Jenny suggested we appeal to her highness because she is a very active, just and well-loved female leader," Geraghty, a pilot, told NZPA.

"We had reached a dead-end with Damac, after years of failing to get answers to basic questions and an estimated completion date that is continuously being pushed forward".

Other people in a similar situation in Dubai had spent a small fortune on legal fees with no success.

"We are desperately hoping her highness will hear our plea because we need this money to buy our own home," he said.

Creed-Geraghty, a genetics researcher, was offered a contract to work as a medical scientist in Auckland in a laboratory using innovative techniques, such as DNA chips, to diagnose genetic disorders, and the couple eventually decided to leave Qatar for family reasons.

"We both fell in love with NZ and decided we wanted to make our future here, if that was possible," Geraghty said.

He said the couple had found a lot of other people have complained of problems with property investments in Qatar.

The company they had dealt with, Damac, apparently had a number of stalled developments, and the couple said that economic reports of predicting a major property boom in Qatar in the years before it hosts the World Cup in 2022 were not convincing.



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