Accused of mishandling over $35 million

Erbil residents allege financial misconduct by prominent real estate company

ERBIL — During a press conference on Tuesday, a group of Erbil residents aired their grievances to Kurdistan Regional Government’s Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, accusing a prominent real estate company, Baghy Shaqlawa Real Estate Company, of mishandling over $35 million from 800 individuals in Erbil.

The residents claimed that the company had overcharged them and called on the government to intervene against what they alleged were “significant unjust actions taken by the company in the real estate market affecting businessmen and residents alike.”

Expressing concern over potential instability in Erbil’s “vibrant” real estate market, the residents warned of the adverse effects on the city’s residential units and market confidence. They highlighted various payment methods offered by the company, including investing in the project in return for regular profit and direct purchases of residential units, but accused the company of selling units without owners’ knowledge through “deceitful practices.”

Additionally, in cases where individuals had purchased property, legal transfer of ownership had allegedly not occurred.

In a letter to Barzani, the affected customers described a “shocking scenario” in which the company allegedly attempted to obscure the money’s trail by preemptively accusing two employees of embezzlement and illegal transactions, despite “the funds being handled within the company’s system under regular investment and purchasing agreements.”

Attempts by 964media to contact Baghy Shaqlawa Real Estate’s main office yielded no response. Further efforts to discuss the issue with a branch manager were also unsuccessful, with the company instructing them “not to comment while the matter is under judicial review.”

However, the manager noted that individuals who had filed complaints had previously received monthly profits from their investments as partners but were now claiming their capital due to the current downturn in the real estate market.

This incident is not isolated, as previous protests have been staged by individuals investing in real estate projects. On March 6, a crowd gathered in front of the Council of Ministers in Erbil to express frustration over the stalled English Tower housing project. Situated in the English Village near Erbil’s airport and set to comprise 960 apartments, the project was scheduled for completion by the end of 2023 but remains unfinished.