Company Breaks Commitment to Businessman About Dubai Open Top Buses
The world’s largest open-top sightseeing bus company has broken a deal with a Pakistani businessman who offered to set up a business in Dubai, a judge in London has said.
Asif Mahmood pitched the idea of an open-top bus tour in Dubai to the London-based Big Bus Company and the two sides signed a preliminary agreement in 2001 to share the benefits of any future projects.
The deal resulted in the creation of a company in Dubai to launch the company’s first operation outside of London. The project was overseen by Mr Mahmood, but relations with the parent company quickly deteriorated, with disputes over salaries, performance and responsibilities.
Mr Mahmood was “kicked out” of the Dubai business in 2004 when it was liquidated and replaced by a new company which maintained the Big Bus branded tours without its involvement.
The new venture immediately proved profitable and provided a model for rapid and successful expansion around the world for the Big Bus Company. The company subsequently organized a second open-top bus tour of Abu Dhabi, the court heard.
Mr Mahmood launched a lawsuit in London against the company in 2015, claiming the company had violated the terms of the 2001 agreement which was drafted without the intervention of lawyers.
After four days of hearing in October, a judge ruled Wednesday that the company had violated the terms of the agreement which had pledged not to “bypass Asif Mahmood …. following the termination of the contract which binds them ”.
“It is difficult to conclude other than that the defendant’s actions were an attempt to circumvent the plaintiff,” Justice Eady said in her decision. The damages have not yet been paid.
The company had operated double-decker sightseeing buses in London for over a decade and was looking to expand internationally when approached by Mr Mahmood.
Mr Mahmood, who described himself as an international businessman with 40 years of experience in the Middle East and Asia, had no experience running tourist buses but persuaded the company to sign a preliminary agreement before launching a fact-finding visit to Dubai.
Mr Mahmood had told the company he had high profile connections in Dubai and would be able to get the necessary clearances to operate – but he would not invest and the company would have to provide all of them. the vehicles.
He moved to the United Arab Emirates and also received a salary of £ 60,000.
But company officials came to believe he had overestimated his level of influence and became frustrated with the delays in starting operations.
Mr. Mahmood and company executives disputed who ultimately did the work that got the company up and running in May 2002. The judge concluded that Mr. Mahmood was “not a reliable witness or useful “but had not been” dishonest “as claimed by the bus company. .
She dismissed the bus company’s claims that Mr Mahmood no longer had time to press charges against them.
Big Bus was acquired by a private equity firm in 2015. It offers guided tours in 18 cities on three continents, according to its website.
The bus company and Mr. Mahmood have been approached for comment.
Updated: December 16, 2021, 13:38