German Investor in Ngapali Resort Eyes Legal Action against Ex-Partner
By Moe Myint 27 April 2018
YANGON – A German businessman has filed an initial complaint in Yangon against the owner of Amara Ocean Resort (AOR), located in southern Rakhine State’s Ngapali Beach.
U Thet Naing, a lawyer for Philipp Quack, the plaintiff in the case, confirmed that they met with Police Captain Mya Tun Kyaw, head of Yangon’s Myo Ma Mingalardon police station, on Wednesday and filed a complaint letter against resort owner Daw Kalayar Moe.
The lawyer declined to provide further information, as a decision is pending on whether to accept the case, and which articles of the criminal code would be invoked.
When The Irrawaddy visited Myo Ma Mingalardon police station to clarify whether the case had been accepted, however, a police lieutenant said no foreigners had opened any cases at the station recently. Capt. Mya Tun Kyaw declined to be interviewed.
Daw Kalayar Moe told The Irrawaddy on Friday evening that she had also made inquiries at the police station and was told that police have no idea about the case.
Quack is acting as plaintiff on behalf of Dr. Jens Ehrahrdt, chief executive officer of DJE Kapital group based in Germany, according to sources close to Ehrahrdt. The company provides in-house financing and asset management to businesses. Quack confirmed meeting with the police captain but declined to offer details.
In 2009, Daw Kalayar Moe, her then husband Gerald Schreiber, and another German investor, Eva Felten, jointly inked an agreement to develop a project on a profit-sharing basis on a 17-acre plot of land on Ngapali Beach, as well as a 6-acre freshwater dam located in Gaw village, a few miles from Thandwe Airport. The contract is recognized under the German Civil Code.
Under the terms of the agreement, Daw Kalayar Moe and Schreiber each held a 25-percent stake in the project, while Felten held 50 percent. With Myanmar under military rule at the time, foreign investment was generally considered to highly risky. Furthermore, majority property ownership by foreigners is legally prohibited in Myanmar. Therefore, the parties agreed to register the company under the name of a Burmese citizen, and Daw Kalayar Moe acted as the owner.
In June 2011, Felten sold her 50-percent stake to Ehrahrdt for US$2.8 million. “Contracts show that in the same year, Ehrahrdt lent the project an additional US$1.4 million to fund the completion of the resort’s construction.”
Daw Kalayar Moe and Schreiber’s marriage ended acrimoniously and they obtained a divorce from a court in Munich, Germany in 2012. The division of their assets became the subject of a protracted legal dispute, partly because all their properties in Myanmar were registered under Daw Kalayar Moe’s name.
Daw Kalayar Moe refused to return Schreiber and Ehrahrdt’s shares of the Ngapali investment, or to sell her 25 percent stake. In 2013, Ehrahrdt sued Daw Kalayar Moe in a court in Munich and the judge ruled in his favor. Daw Kalayar Moe was fined 15,000 euros and sentenced to three months in prison as she failed to present detailed information about the AOR project. She later appealed the decision to a higher court, according to Schreiber. The outcome of the appeal is pending.
In an interview with The Irrawaddy at her residence in Yangon on April 9, Daw Kalayar Moe acknowledged the Munich court’s decision, but said the decision was unfair and accused the court of being biased in favor of a German citizen. She declined to provide or show any documents relating to the AOR investment that she had signed.
Although the Munich court ruled against Daw Kalayar Moe, the decision has no effect in Myanmar. The plaintiff in the Myanmar case, DJE group, has filed an initial complaint against her but has yet to formally open a criminal case against her in Myanmar yet.