Banned UK boss selling Canary City to investors

Zoe Naylor , August 16th, 2008

Resurfaced British real estate boss Baljinder Chohan, who was banned from UK directorships for four years, is offering unsuspecting GCC investors plots of land in an empty field called 'Canary City' in Bromley, South London, Construction Week has learned.

The Dubai-registered firm, UK Land Investments International (UKLI-I), which has sales centres in Riyadh and Jeddah, is under investigation by Dubai's Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera).

There was no response from the UKLI-I offices in Dubai or Saudi Arabia.

Rera was also unreachable.

According to UKLI-I, the land that the plots are on has a chance of rising dramatically in value in the near future if tight planning regulations are lifted.

UKLI-I said its expert strategic land buying team had identified the land as having potential for a rise in value.

But according to a BBC Radio 4 broadcast on August 1, the land is covered by green belt regulations which restrict urban development, and it is "highly unlikely" that planning permission will ever be given for "Canary City."

Speaking to Construction Week, a Bromley Council Planning official said: "We have had calls from people based overseas before. They have bought green belt land, intending to build upon it, but you cannot build on green belt land. It is protected."

"Also Canary City sounds like a big development so we would definitely have heard of it, but we have never heard of a development by that name," the official said.

UKLI-I boss Baljinder Chohan's former firm UK Land Investments announced it was going into administration in April.

The UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) served a winding up order on UKLI five days before it went into administration.

Small print on the UKLI-I website states that "UK Land Investments International is solely for international clients based in the GCC, Middle East, Canada and Asia and as such does not fall under the jurisdiction of the FSA," effectively allowing it to target GCC customers.

The firm, which targeted Asian investors with a similar scheme in the UK, left a US $135 million (GBP70 million) trail of debt.

Chohan also loaned himself more than $1.8 million from UKLI in September 2006, which is illegal as he was a director of the firm at the time.

The UKLI-I website claims that its standard is "about developing a culture full of opportunity and individual responsibility."

Another of Chohan's firms, UK Property Fund Managers (UKPFM), targeted Muslims with the promise of land investment opportunities that complied with Sharia law.

Chohan was banned following a UK government investigation into UKPFM, which uncovered false claims on Chohan's resume.

If you have any information on Baljinder Chohan, email Construction Week at

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