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Interview with Khater Massaad on Sheikh Saud, ruler of RAK

Former advisor to Ras Al Khaimah ruler, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, breaks silence. Khater Massaad is the former CEO of RAKIA, RAK Ceramics and various enterprises embarked upon during his tenure and before the ruler’s purge of foreign nationals he felt “knew too much”.

In his first interview on the topic, Swiss national Dr Khater Massaad speaks with expert Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, Due Process International and host of the Gulf in Justice Podcast.

The Gulf in Justice Episode can be heard on Spotify, Google Podcasts and other major platforms. Alternatively, please listen directly via the Gulf in Justice Website, or watch the interview on the Detained in Dubai YouTube channel.

Massaad is arguably the most influential businessman in the recent history of Ras Al Khaimah.” according to Construction Week. The Lebanese born professional pilot and industrial developer, Dr Massaad, graduated from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland with a PhD in Geophysics and an MSc in Mathematics. He is a citizen of both countries.

An astute and visionary business leader, “lauded for extracting wealth from the barren rocks of the Ras Al Khaimah mountains, helping transform the emirate into an unlikely manufacturing hub and picking up numerous business awards along the way”.

A prized ally and close advisor to the ruler of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi, Massaad was the founder of RAK Ceramics and the driving force behind unprecedented success for the northern Emirate bringing in revenue of more than $1bn from more than 150 countries, securing RAK’s position on the map and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award (MRM Business Award) for industry.

RAK Ceramics was awarded the “Best Brand of the Year” by the Middle East Business Leaders Summit, and was rated the number 3 UAE brand, only after Etisilat and Emirates Airlines.

Massaad was presented with the Visionary CEO Award at the Middle East Business Leaders Summit and Awards in Dubai in April 2010.

Dr Massad’s continued promotion of Ras Al Khaimah guided the destiny of what is now the topmost ceramic manufacturing organisation in the world, and a jewel in the sector of the whole Middle East, all achieved in 16 years”.

In recognition of his efforts in attracting foreign investment to Ras Al Khaimah, Dr Massaad received the "FDI Personality of-the Year” award, noting his “spectacular transformation of Ras Al Khaimah into a thriving business and investment destination in the region”. Previous winners included the Mexican President Vincente Fox, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula d Silva.

This Award is in recognition to Dr. Massaad's diligent and successful efforts to attract foreign investment to Ras Al Khaimah thereby contributing greatly to the continued economic growth and development of the emirate and adding to its attraction as an investment location," Courtney Fingar, Editor of Financial Times' niche magazine fDi said.

Dr Massaad notoriety in the Emirate led to his appointment as Advisor to the Crown Prince in 2003 and CEO of RAK Investment Authority (RAKIA). Never disappointing, in his first two years, Massaad attracted more than $1bn in industry investments to the Emirate. RAKIA was awarded the “Top Ten Global Free Zones of the Future” and the “Most Attractive” for FDI.

Known as the “Golden Boy of the Emirates” for widespread achievements in the region, Dr Massaad’s intense geophysical research and commitment to achievement led him to turn vision into success at every turn. Massaad was the Managing Director of several development companies including RAKEEN development, Al Hamra Real Estate Company and the Al Hamra Fort Hotel.

“We have achieved great success in placing Ras Al Khaimah on the global map”, Dr Massaad recalls in an interview with the Seoul Times. Having developed long lasting success in the UAE, Massaad has now turned his attention to his own projects where he applies unparalleled drive, knowledge, innovation and experience to leading international enterprise. “There is no stopping Dr Massaad! He is a force of nature”.

But rather than thanking those who helped drive the Emirate to success, Sheikh Saud embarked upon a massive purge when he came into power. This included jailing workers and employees of the former ruler, issuing frivolous Interpol notices, and robbing them of their net worth through a series of abusive and meritless legal proceedings in his own personal courts. Massaad has fought off three baseless Interpol notices, a meritless extradition request and several civil court actions, but the Sheikh continues in his endeavours to seize assets that simply don’t belong to him. Massaad discusses the “wild west of the UAE” in his interview with expert witness, Radha Stirling.

Radha Stirling, is founder and CEO of UK / USA based legal and human rights organisation Detained in Dubai, Expert Witness and respected analyst of Middle East Policy.

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