In my two previous reviews, I explained how TFG is using the reputation of Dubai and other methods to deceive people to invest with them and immediately after payment, becomes victim of fraud. They actually don't sell property, they take the money and use all sort of tricks, including legal intimidation to stretch and force victims to surrender their money. I used to be wondering how anybody...
“Follow Up: The First Group is VERY DANGEROUS”
• Previous review
I posted a review on this site on 12 November 2019 titled "Unending Terrible Experience with THE FIRST GROUP". I had posted same review on another site on 29 August 2019 after which the social media team of TFG requested I provide my contact, which I did immediately (all same day).
On 19 September 2019, I got a phone call from Arthur Rangel, previous Compliance Manager and now Corporate Client Manager, expressing anger over the review I posted and but also said that he understands. He mentioned that they offered to give me the property unit they claimed to have sold to me without having to pay the remaining three instalments. He questioned my integrity for saying that I did not know about this offer before I posted the review. It was amusing to me that a TFG official will question my integrity. Anyway, I told him if the offer was in writing, there would have been no basis for any denial by anybody and integrity question would not have arisen. I then advised that he send the offer by email and I will respond to state my position.
I received the offer by email on 26 September 2019 in form of "Settlement Agreement" and requesting me sign immediately so that I can receive my past, current and future rental income. I acknowledged immediately and requested for time to consult. Exactly one week after, on 3 October 2019, I replied to accept the offer in principle but raised some points to be taken into consideration to ensure effectiveness of the "Settlement Agreement" and to achieve closure of the issue. The points were broken into six, but they concern three important principles as follows:
(1) The new SPA to be signed by us will be in accordance with the laws of Dubai and affirmed at Notary Public in Dubai;
(2) I will take full possession of the property with full rights of ownership including right to decide who or which company will do rental management on my behalf;
(3) Past rental income amount be included as a clause in the agreement with calculations attached as addendum.
Arthur replied immediately to say their Legal department will review. After one week without response from TFG, I concluded that their so called "Settlement Agreement" is fake and reminiscence of the proverbial poisoned chalice. It was meant to neutralize all my past and ongoing efforts to seek redress and making it difficult for me to initiate any process of redress in the future. For instance, the two most detailed clauses in the "Settlement Agreement" relates to preventing any party (of course me) from using any method/approach in case of dispute except the Dubai court. The key question is, if they are serious about settlement and closure, why are they anticipating dispute. I gave them one-week ultimatum and extended for another one week to refund my money and thereafter we negotiate compensation. They are yet to refund me.
Ironically, TFG is the one afraid of Dubai court not me because they know they are on the wrong side of the law. When I stopped instalment payment after establishing that the SPA was fake, they sent me a letter dated 3rd May 2016 threatening to go to Dubai court to get judgement to seize the instalments I paid without getting the property and in addition, be forced to pay all outstanding instalments. I replied to say that the SPA has legal validity question and it will be good for them to go to the Dubai court to enable me to explain my side of the story and I will abide by the judgement of the court. They did not go to the court up till today.
Rather, when I took my case to Dubai court through a law firm, they did all sort of things (I believe including threats) to prevent the law firm from going on with my case at the Dubai court. The law firm even refused to give me the legal report they requested on my behalf through the Dubai court even though I paid for the service. It took a harsh email before the law firm sent me scanned copies, they refused to send me the original copy up till now. I tried several other law firms and realized that TFG has built a strong network of legal and institutional accomplices that ensures that no case against them reaches the Dubai court. So, they use the court to intimidate their gullible victims while building a dubious barrier to avoid judicial accountability by the court. This is tantamount to making mockery of the legal/judicial system of the country they are licensed to operate and do business, which is VERY DANGEROUS.
The latest attempt by TFG to use fake "Settlement Agreement" is not too surprising. It is a proverbial case of a "A Leopard Never Changes Its Spots". For the past five years of seeking redress, I have obtained a lot of information about them. One of the several lawyers I contacted exclaimed when I mentioned their name and said: "They don't sell property, they sell papers". Even though I had already established that they did not sell any property tome but used a fake contract, that statement perfectly described my experience with them. I can also see that it resonates with many of the reviews I read about them.
The business strategy of TFG is VERY DANGEROUS, comprising of the following:
(i) They use the reputation of Dubai, promise good returns with assurance full refund if you change your mind and project famous personalities as their brand ambassadors. One of their brand ambassadors is Michael Owen, a former England footballer and now public commentator on football affairs.
(ii) Once a person agrees to invest with them and make payment, s/he becomes a victim of fraud. They will keep twisting issues and, in most cases, victims get frustrated and forego the money if the amount is not much (may be only reservation deposits). For some other victims, TFG put them in very difficult situation to make them concede some percentage of their investment as settlement. For some, TFG will use legal threat (as they did to me) and if the person is scared, will rather allow them to take the money. In some cases, they will insist they sell the property on your behalf at a loss to you and pay you the amount. What many of the victims do not know is that, TFG did not sell any property to them in the first place, they sold them papers and took their money. That is why many of the reviews I read is bout not getting returns or enough returns.
(iii) If a victim tries to seek legal redress, they use the legal fence I explained above, which I believe they maintain with the proceeds of fraud they get from their numerous and growing victims.
A lawless enterprise that operates in an environment that has developed a reputation for decency, preying on unsuspecting victims by exploiting the weaknesses of the system is a VERY DANGEROUS enterprise.
In my next posting, I will analyze the implications of the activities of The First Group to various stakeholders and why each of these stakeholders need to do what is necessary to tackle this VERY DANGEROUS criminal enterprise.