Open your eyes, thieves are everywhere

Mishal Kanoo argues many that companies are guilty of theft in disguise. In the past, those who wanted to steal had to do so in the dark and away from prying eyes. Unfortunately, today, stealing has become an art.

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By  Mishal Kanoo Published  June 18, 2006

|~||~||~|Mishal Kanoo argues many that companies are guilty of theft in disguise. In the past, those who wanted to steal had to do so in the dark and away from prying eyes. Unfortunately, today, stealing has become an art. Whether this is done through the false advertising of a product or service, or by embezzling funds from people just by telling them that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it happens nearly every day. So you ask yourself, “What’s new?” People who are foolish will always be taken for fools and as the saying goes, a fool and his money are soon parted. It is natural so why make an issue out of it? In the past, when a theft was committed, the amount was relatively miniscule and its affect was localized to the fool and a few others around him or her. Now, with the amounts being stolen, a whole economy could collapse. Let’s take for example company X that has set itself up as a property developer. It had secured lands on paper with the idea that it would sell apartments on paper, collect the money and then build. OK! So far no foul, no harm. But then the developer gets greedy and decides to build more buildings that are in the realm of fantasy, which will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. This needs a huge capital outlay and the developer is not going to put it in, so he takes out several loans from the banks and funds not only for the building but for the ad campaign to sell it as well. Some of these ads border on the insane. For example, for every apartment bought, get an expensive car. Or a pledge of guaranteed income for a set number of years for each apartment bought. Both ads mean something is wrong with the picture presented or why else would they have to sell them in such a manner? Might I suggest that instead of these schemes, and I cannot think of a better way to describe them other than schemes, give the buyer better value for his/her money and plough the money into better quality housing units. If we were talking about a building or two, this would not matter but we are talking of tens, if not hundreds of buildings being sold in such a manner. It doesn’t take a genius to guess what would happen when this Ponzi scheme comes to an end. How about the financial companies that set up fund after fund selling and re-selling their funds based on a couple of years of good returns knowing quite well that the investors are too naïve to understand what they are getting into? They take out loans to “play” the market and they believe that these funds are a good and safe way to do so not knowing that the market is so thin in terms of number of stocks and trading volumes that a slight move has great repercussions on the economy. These funds know that the buoyant market they are in will not last and will milk it to the last. For some, the customer is the least of their worries since they are no laws to punish them if they do wrong. Even in the best case scenario, the fund will be punished somewhat with a small fine, relative to what it has collected from the duped customer, one or two people might lose their jobs or get a light sentence for their criminal action. Now I must put down a disclaimer. What I have written above applies only to certain companies who know exactly who they are and what they are doing. There are some exceptional companies that go out of their way to provide the best service for a fair price. These companies need to be praised. Some people might not call this theft but what else would you call when someone clearly knows that what he is selling will fall short of what he promised, to someone not knowledgeable enough to know the difference? Unfortunately, this is something that will come back to haunt us sooner rather than later. Mishal Kanoo is the Deputy Chairman of the Kanoo Group.||**||

3515 days ago
Mohamed Ebrahim

Speculation and Greed that is what this is! Realtors in Canada have three sets of groups A, B and C. He gets group A to put down payment on five apartments, then six months later sells them to group B for $10,000 profit. This way A thinks he is the best realtor and before the building is ready for completion sells it to C. Now group B think that he is the best realtor. He keeps doing these shuffles!! How long can this go on for! I guess same happening in UAE. Nothing goes up for ever!!

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