Sharif El-Gamal claims Maybank violated Sharia deal

Sharif El-Gamal and 45 Park Place (Courtesy of Williams NY / Soma; Gamal via Getty)

Cherif El-Gamal set up one of the most unusual financial arrangements in New York real estate history when he secured a Sharia-compliant construction loan four years ago for his lavish tower of Tribeca condos .

Now as the developer battles with his lender for control of the project stalled, El-Gamal claims that the Malaysian bank that granted the loan violated Sharia terms, which require both sides to be more accommodating than is typical in the New York real estate.

Malaysian lender Maybank, which has $ 162 million loan in 2016, “did not act in accordance with the principles of Sharia,” the legal framework of Islam, which demands a “heightened standard of good faith and fair treatment,” El-Gamal’s lawyers wrote. Soho Properties in court documents filed earlier this year. the week.

El-Gamal contends that Maybank violated the terms of their agreement by refusing to release construction funds, “effectively thwarting” its ability to complete the project at 45 Place du Parc and causing “irreparable damage to [Soho Properties’] relationship with his entrepreneur.

He said he is seeking damages equivalent to the planned sale of the development, which is roughly $ 245 million. Representatives for El-Gamal and Maybank could not immediately be reached for comment.

The move comes after Maybank filed for foreclosure of the property in March. The bank says El-Gamal defaulted on his loan when he failed to repay the $ 108 million balance when it was due in April.

Maybank also claims that El-Gamal, who is part of a group working on the development of an Islamic museum next to 45 Park, retaliated against the bank’s efforts to contain the development by threatening to revoke the air rights of the condominium development acquired from the cultural center. site.

El-Gamal denies being behind the threat, saying he has stepped down from his leadership role within the entity behind the museum project.

On Thursday, lawyers for architect Jean Nouvel, who designed the Islamic center and a public plaza for the condo tower, filed a lawsuit claiming the company owes $ 115,000. The lawsuit named the limited liability company that previously owned the museum site as the defendant.

Contact Rich Bockmann at [email protected] or 908-415-5229

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