Bloomberg News

Ex-Och-Ziff’s Fancy Wins Damages Over Botched Home Deal

November 16, 2011

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Zain Fancy, former head of Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC’s Asian real estate unit, won S$2.27 million ($1.8 million) from a Singapore law firm he said caused a planned home purchase transaction to be terminated.

“He’s sad that it had to come to this, but he did suffer a loss because of the failed transaction,” Monica Chong, who represented Fancy, 37, in the lawsuit against Tan Peng Chin LLC, said today. “He’s glad that the court has recognized this by awarding substantial damages.”

Fancy sued the law firm and its real estate head Gwendoline Ong after his agreement to buy a bungalow for S$18.5 million was terminated over a deposit. The Tan Peng Chin lawyers failed to advise him to pay a further required deposit directly to the seller, according to the lawsuit.

Tan Peng Chin, managing director of the law firm, and Ong were away from the office and didn’t immediately reply to two e- mails seeking comment. Ong was Fancy’s lawyer in at least six other property transactions last year, including three on the Singapore resort island of Sentosa.

Singapore had the third-fastest price growth in the global luxury residential market last year after Shanghai and Mumbai, according to an index compiled by Knight Frank LLP.

Tan Peng Chin LLC had accepted that it made a mistake in the scuppered property purchase and in February paid S$184,600 to Fancy, according to court papers. Fancy indicated he sought damages including a S$10 million difference between the house’s valuation at the time of the planned purchase and the lawsuit, according to a court filing by Ong.

Joint Venture

Separately, Fancy said he and New York-based hedge fund Och-Ziff “mutually agreed to end” an Asian joint venture that Fancy sued after departing in October 2010. Fancy sued two units of Och-Ziff over payments after he left the company.

Och-Ziff spokesman Jonathan Gasthalter and Fancy declined to comment on the status of the lawsuit.

Fancy started Clifton Real Estate in September to invest in property of as much as S$100 million each and is targeting annual returns of at least 12 percent, he said.

“The investment climate will be interesting in the next 12 to 18 months given the global economic uncertainties,” said Fancy, who used to head Morgan Stanley’s real estate business in Asia.

The case is Zain Asif Fancy v Tan Peng Chin LLC S117/2011 in the Singapore High Court.

--Editors: Dave McCombs, Garry Smith

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Tan in Singapore at atan17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.net


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