Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Frauded Architect - Great New Project in Qatar

Too good to be true - a warning for the architect in general:

We have been approached via email by a company (Bapeqs Group) from Qatar, which asked us if we are interested in designing a shopping mall in Qatar. It sounded like a great opportunity: USD 60,000,000 budget for 12,500 sqm, sustainable design approach with targeted green certification. Of course we were interested.

Yet we were concern how they got to know us as you don't do multimillion dollar business with somebody you don't know at all. For sure Qatar is booming, far away from us and they do have a lot of architectural practices in the region. Our repeated question on how they came about to contact was finally answered with: Our CEO instructed us to contact you after his last trip to China.

It was suspicicious that no connection could be made to anybody we know. Too good to be true. However we stupidly caught us already thinking about some sketch design ideas and talking to an environmental consultant who had a branch office in Doha as well. It is the stupidity of the architect that makes him do these irrational moves. It must be the urge to create that overrides logic and reason. 

We were asked to submit a brief office CV and introduction and they told us they scheduled a meeting among the board of directors to discuss, which architect to select for the project. Eventually they selected us as the appointed architect and issued a formal letter stating their choice.

Around that time a befriended architect, who is exclusively doing non-commercial small scale work with no commercial experience whatsoever, asked me if I had experience in working in Qatar. He received this email about a shopping mall design. He was getting rather excited about it, yet tried to maintain a face of skepticism, but was very keen to believe it could be true. I surely realized that moment how blinded I have been for the moment: my ego was pleased when somebody wants to work with you. I felt reassured that my work is great and globally relevant if somebody contacts you from the far outer regions of the planet. What a dumb and puny nature is the common architect (such as myself).

However, with the new information of unlikely coincidence, I was getting curious on how this would end and why would somebody do this? What's the catch? Our environmental engineer told us to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

I received an email by the client to invite us to Qatar with up to 5 people. They informed us that Qatar has strict requirements for architects. Every company that wants to work in Qatar has to register with the AARCQ first. The registration comes with a price tag of USD 2,100, wired via Western Union. So here was the catch.

Luckily I am a stingy person so I contacted the client that he should bear the costs of the registration, upon which he replied that they spoke to the AARCQ, which passed the responsibility of fee payment to the architect only. 

Luckily I was cured mentally enough already to decided to play that game a bit longer for at least gaining some entertainment and laughter from the incident. I contacted the AARCQ myself and ask them for advise on how to deal with the registration fee and this is their reply:

"Thanks for contacting us. The Architect's Accreditation Registration Council of Qatar represents the architectural profession in Qatar. It is engaged in producing an extensive series of practice, management and law reports on matters related to architectural practices and building in Qatar generally. One of its main functions is to initiate, define and assist in the implementation of program and co-operation in the development of architectural education, practice and research in Qatar. It is mandatory for an international company to register with  AARCQ  to proceed a project in Qatar. For your registration  follow the link below for the registration form
It is your duty as an Architect to obtain this we do not allow client to do this because may client hide under their architects to register  draftsman AARCQ international Verification officer to Asia  is in United Kingdom , this will help make the Verification faster with help of the international verification officer we will be enable to issue the certificate within 7 working days.
Please note that all international registration payment is through western union money transfer, it is written on the form. The complete address and the name of the verification officer that will pick up the funds on our behalf  is below , make the payment  in favor of the person stated below.
Name:- James Morris
Address:- 17 vibreville Street, London 8 DE, United Kingdom
You can call him now on+447012929027 
I hope to hear from you , thanks for contacting us."

I was wondering after such an email, if anybody would ever be so naive to pay as a foreign firm to an address in London on behalf of a government body of Qatar for a project in the Middle East? Apparently and sadly there are such cases. An Internet research shows that this fraud has been ongoing for a few months now (NL-Architects also wrote about this in their blog): 


I contacted the so called client again and asked them to bear the fee while we do the submission. He returned with the following email:

"If you can not handle this  we can not do another thing. Did for we pay for your school fees for you to become and architect why is this so hard  for you. For us  to continue you have to do it yourself"

I finally returned his email with the following self-satisfactory answer:

"I contacted the AARCQ already and they gave me a recipient address in London to pay the registration fee to:
Name:- James Morris
Address:- 17 vibreville Street, London 8 DE, United Kingdom
As they don't seem to care who pays the fees, please kindly transfer the USD 2,100 on our behalf to the person in London. Send us the western union slip and we will do the submission of the documents."

To conclude:

I was surprised by the professionalism of the fraud and want to take the chance to warn other architects about this. 

These people really put an effort in with creating websites and hold up a conversation for quite some time. At first glance everything looks slightly plausible. 

I think they do understand us architects rather well: vain to the bone, in desperate need for recognition, blindfolded to fraud due to the immense competition in our profession worldwide and the need to grasp any opportunity that occurs. Already we do competitions for free, so why not pay a registration fee for a project. We willingly give away freebies and undermine our competence as a business. So why not doing a fraud that targets the naivity of the profession as a whole? Luckily we got away with a good laugh. I hope that this post helps others to not fall into this trap.

PS: This was our final email to the "client", concluding our conversation. Obviously there was no answer ever again:

Hi Mubarak bin Ali,

Thanks for your email. 

I tried to contact the AARCQ again to waive the fee for us as money cannot be transferred to a foreign account on behalf a government body. 

As it says on their website that the AARCQ is a statutory board under the ministry of works and housing, I have taken the liberty to contact the ministry of interior of Qatar to verify the payment procedure. It turned out that there is no such ministry of works and housing or the AARCQ. 

I am afraid to inform you that you have been scammed by some filthy individuals who want to fraud honorable clients such as yourself. 

Luckily nobody has been harmed financially up to now. As there is also no need to register our company in Qatar according to the ministry of interior, we can go ahead with the project for now. We are looking forward for a successful collaboration. 

Please book the tickets for 4 of our staff as well as accommodation. As the flight is longer than 4 hours, international business practice requires business class for the directors (in our case 2 people). As we need to understand the local conditions better, we would suggest to stay for a total of 4 days. 

Please let me know what information you need to book the flights. 



  1. Thanks for your post.
    I have an office in Vietnam and I have received the same scam (this time 5 star hotel).
    I was surprised not to find any link on Roudha Holding in Google except for the web site itself and all the names in the web site hadn't checked out.
    I'm still surprised that some architects fall into that kind of scam.
    I said that I will not start spending any time or money before receiving a 30,000 USD deposit and they disappeared.

  2. Thanks to all! Our company’s in Brazil and it’s happening right now with us. The guy’s “name”: Omar Mustafa al-Barzani, Executive for Corporate Communications & International Affairs, http://al-sailiya.com/ Once again, “Intercontinental Restaurant” in Doha,Qatar… The website he uses: http://qcaeonline.org/ which supposed to be a Chamber of Arch&Eng in Qatar.

  3. ok

    now that I have the confirmation by an official document written by the embassies and agencies of foreign trade can communicate the following without any fear of contradiction.

    1 - the COARK http://coark.org/index.htm does not exist ... it's a scam

    2 - the company RAMI & Samani GROUP http://rami-samanigroup.com/ does not exist ... is a scam

    3 - Mr. RAMZAN Vizbor is a scammer

    4 - This IBAN:
    Name: A. G. Alexander
    Sort code - 206915
    Account - 33163210
    IBAN GB68 BARC 20691533163210
    Barclays Bank, 23 Euston Rd, London UK

    ... provided to us as a referent of the COARK in London belongs to a scammer

    All this information has been sent to the authorities of the countries involved.

    this ... for your consideration

  4. The same scam is run under the names Al Gharafe Holdings and Rhouda Holding.
    Been confirmed by the Qatar Embassy in South Africa that it is a scam.

  5. Same again, same guy different company! They just contacted my yesterday. The guy’s “name”: Omar Mustafa al-Barzani, Executive for Corporate Communications & International Affairs, http://www.alrayyat.com/. Once again as someone posted before, “Intercontinental Restaurant” but this time in Mecca…

  6. 1 - the COARK http://coark.org/index.htm does not exist ... it's a scam

    2 - the company RAMI & Samani GROUP http://rami-samanigroup.com/ does not exist ... is a scam

  7. RAMI Samani GROUP Scam

  8. We've now had the same experience from a 'mirror' company with a different name "AARG" based in Kuwait. Their website is an exact mirror of Bapeqs Group/Roudha Holding and the story we've been given over the last week exactly the same. So everyone beware of Al Ajmi Ramadan Group:

    best of luck.

  9. US architect here reporting same Al Ajmi Ramadan Group scam, allegedly Kuwait based, with a project in Riyadh. Must pay to join Saudi Umran Society of Architects, which is a legitimate group but which has no jurisdiction regarding overseas architects in KSA.

  10. Exactly the same story from Portugal, and as I read, Spain. The same 550 bedroom hotel in Saudi Arabia...,

    from Ajmi Ramadan Group:

    and yesterday a Luxury restaurant.

    al-Karim Issa Al Assaf
    Project Director and Communications.
    www. alnaimiconstruction.com
    Skype: alnaimi.construction

  11. Im an Architect from Malaysia. I received the same scam by email from the Kuwait based Al Ajmi Ramadan Group (AARG) for a 550 room 5 star hotel in Saudi Arabia.

  12. Their Associate Scamer

    +33 (0)6 08 00 10 05

  13. The same happened to us last week:

    A luxury restaurant from:

    al-Karim Issa Al Assaf
    Project Director and Communications.
    www. alnaimiconstruction.com
    Skype: alnaimi.construction

    We have done the mistake of paying the fee required for accreditation.
    Advise to all architects: Be carefull!!

    1. Sorry to hear that. This is precisely why we set up this post. Pity that it came too late for you this time. Architects should support and help each other. Especially as we don't have a union or any other supporting organizations (chambers are usually favoring the clients even), our support has to come from within.

  14. Architect in ScandinaviaDecember 20, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Same experience for us as Valentina Favaretto had, a luxury restaurant in Riyadh, but with the Ajmi Ramadan Group as the client, a costly mistake.

  15. I am a young architect consultant from India . We also mailed by al ajmi ramadan group for designed a five star hotel in saudi. They ask me to send my working profile to them.
    Co incidentally they announced we are selected architect for that project. We are invited for a meeting. They also send the visa invitation letter but before we go they told us that we have to be register with Saudi Umran Society of Architect for doing the project and its cost 5000 usd $. When we told them to do for it our favors and it deduct from design fees. Then they told us it’s a job of architect and we have to pay this for the project. We little surprise because in our country there are so many international architect are doing design project but they does not need Indian council of architecture registration they only need their own country authority registration no.
    But here we do this project after registration with SUSAC. We moved our mind after that and refuse their proposal. Now I know not only me there are so many architects are trapped by these frauds.
    We need to more safe about those fraud mails.

  16. The same for us. We are an Architecture Study from Barcelona. One company called "AL HAZA'A CONSTRUCTION" have contacted us just two weeks ago, for design a Sport Center in Manama (Barhein). Not only the construction amount but also the design contract fee it seemed very interesting....
    Their web was created the same day they sent us their first email.....
    ....at least we haven't payed anything....

  17. Same story, different country: Be cautious for the following website: http://b-r-a-c-bh.org - this is n o t the official registration for architects in Bahrein. Greets from Berlin.

  18. As many mentioned above, the fact is that these guys made fake websites and fake identities. They are international scammers and never retreat until they got all pennies out of your pocket. Every single word is a lie.
    HBAA Construction is real company whose business has been set up since 1967 in local community. Full name of the firm is HABIB BIN ALI ALAALI CONSTRUCTION COMPANY B.S.C.C. You can search from here with advance search. http://www.moic.gov.bh/En/Main/eServices/Commercial%20Registration%20Inquiry/Pages/Commercial%20Registration%20Inquiry.aspx?eserviceID=3

    After talking to the director in the firm, I found they don’t have website and they don’t have such a project called “A Concert Hall”, and mentioned they are already aware of this fraudsters. But somehow they just don’t much care, because it is hard to catch these filthy scums and probably many people called and asked the same question we made.

    These fraudsters uses real company names among local companies and use as if it is their company. So all names and information collected are from the information in the Chamber of Commerce.

    These guys even make fake government site. How dedicated to deceive architects around the world. But it is easy to catch to know it is fake.


    Bahrain Architect Boards is a fake website. The phone number is a fake. It goes nowhere. Its creation is pretty new as well.

    Domain Name:B-R-A-C-BH.ORG
    Domain ID: D170641107-LROR
    Creation Date: 2014-01-11T10:01:27Z
    Updated Date: 2014-03-13T03:45:31Z
    Registry Expiry Date: 2015-01-11T10:01:27Z
    Registrant Name:Fariq Habaq
    Registrant Organization:Arabnet International
    Registrant Street: Building Number 13 Road
    Registrant City:Manama
    Registrant State/Province:Manama
    Registrant Postal Code:1222
    Registrant Country:BH
    Registrant Phone:+973.97344443547

  19. Continued from above
    ——————————-from membership@b-r-a-c-bh.org—————————————
    Dear Sir
    The number is not connecting , kindly inform the agent to inform you if the fund is ready for pickups. And ask the agent what he wants us to tell the number as you are the sender because this is the first time we are faced with this problem.
    Just call the agency and get this point clear before contacting us, if they are not ready to release the fund for pick up we will not have any option other than to remove your documents in our database until you finalize with the agent.
    Hope you understand
    Best regards.
    o Yours in service
    o Abram Sasa Esa
    o Asia verification officer
    o Through
    o Arc.Hassan Al Hamar
    o Honorable Chairperson
    o Regulation & Certification
    o Bahrain Royal Architects

    These guys tricks are not great but when architects get into a situation, they will be blinded at the moment. When realized, they are already deceived and lost. Here, we lost around 6800 USD to these scammers.

    Definitely, there is no way to take money back. However, at least protect other architects who would be naïve enough to wire the fund.

    These guys will invent another way to deceive other architects. Please BE AWARE these guys will try to take every penny from you. All they say is a huge lie.

    Here is the example of lies they made.
    We are very much disappointed by your post and so many of your colleagues giving our board bad names. If you will be luckyenough to contact any of them for information they will inform you that we have not collected money from themsometimes people hack our database and collect money from people.
    if you think we are fake and still keep that we will be ready for any legal actions you may take and you will be ready to answer us how we are fake people.
    Dear Sir –(These scammers use ‘SIR’, because they have to copy and paste to many other architects around world)

    We had a successful meeting with our board and the investors’ board teamtoday. We communicated to them all we have exchanged including your letter of intent. We are happy to inform you how ready we are to start project. With this we are one step to the final stage.

    We have schedule a date with Architects Regulatory board in Bahrain for a meeting to finalize the issue of bringing an international Architect and for use conclude the requirements and the process we have to follow. We will be attending a meeting with Bahrain Board, to find out the necessary requirement needed from us in bringing an international Architect on 24th March 2014.

    It is our pleasure to have set up this them which comprises:

    Your Firm (Head of the building, Architect of record, construction management and design team)
    HBAA CONSTRUCTION ( Local Engineering team, contractors Local Engineers)

    Please acknowledge this mail ones you receive it and if there are additional information you may wish us to discuss with the board , you can include them maybe following your previous project experiences.
    I will get back to you after my meeting with Bahrain Architect Board to enable us fix a date for your visit.
    Hoping to read from you soon.

    Many thanks

    Abdulla Habib Ali Alaali (It is name copied from the real firm)
    Director: Projects and International relations
    Please look at this email address they made to say it is from the Chamber of Commerce. bahrainchambers@mail2webmaster.com

    Also, these guys normally working at night. So when you receive email not during the office hours, you may need to suspect if it is real.

    I hope these help other architects who are looking for projects around the world not deceived by these filthy scammers.

  20. received something that looks similarly scammy from these guys:

  21. New entry to the scene is aacjo.org - similar accreditation site. We have a small architectural practice in Tallinn, Estonia and we were contacted in Sept 30th 2014 with a commission for 88 villas in Jordan by a project@al-taliajalawali.com 'investment and construction company'. They have prepared a site of the company al-taliajalawali.com.
    Listing all the similar accreditation sites I could find (to have them listed in search engines)



  22. Scam!!!http://soaau.org/pages/index.php
    Since our last experience we paid FBI to monitor the activities of this
    scum bags and we have been able to monitor all associations attached to middle east regions.
    and other fake associations affecting architects.
    like :
    The newsest is the one below and we have reported to the Authourities with IP and the address.
    Architect Accreditation union of Oman
    Architect council of oman

    The same words with the ones above.
    FAKE!!!!!!!! Architect Accreditation union of Oman

    Registrant Organization: N/A
    Registrant Street: 1, Akobo Street Oritamefa
    Registrant City: Lagos
    Registrant State/Province: Lagos
    Registrant Postal Code: 234
    Registrant Country: NG
    Registrant Phone: +234.08186917533
    Registrant Phone Ext:
    Registrant Fax:
    Registrant Fax Ext:
    Registry Admin ID: DI_35394930
    Admin Name: Ditz Daryl
    Tech Fax:
    Tech Fax Ext:
    Name Server: dns1.freehostia.com
    Name Server: dns2.freehostia.com

  23. New entrant to the architecture scam game: http://hazazi-al-hazazi.com/

    The domain registration looked ok, but the web site had it's share of typos. I was able to verify it as a fraud by doing a reverse image search on Google (useful trick to know!). The image of the CEO was taken from a public business magazine, and belongs to someone else (of course).

  24. For those looking to unmask scammers, here's a few more details on the http://hazazi-al-hazazi.com/ DNS registration.

    The site was registered through a registrar in Saudia Arabia (QHOSTER.com), so it bears a Saudi address. This gives it a sheen of legitimacy. However, there is still a hidden clue that this is a fraud. The site was only created 8 months ago, even though the website claims the company has existed since 1995.

    Hope these tips help others from getting taken.

  25. Please Note that

    Council of Architect of Kuwait is a Scam
    COARK is


    Stop your communication with them now

  26. New entrant to the architecture scam game: http://www.alkhalisi.org/
    The domain registration looked ok, but the web site had it's share of typos. I was able to verify it as a fraud by doing a reverse image search on Google (useful trick to know!). The image of the CEO was taken from
    a public business magazine, and belongs to someone else (of course).

  27. Scam

    Sultanate of Oman Architect Accreditation Union is fake it is a pure scam




  28. Scam Alert !


    Please contact the registrar via the email (registrar@coark.org) for full details and to be assigned a verification officer to handle your registration.

    His name is Mr. Huzaifa Imram and is also copied in this e-mail.


    Tarek Sharif

  29. Council of Architects of Kuwait


  30. Another one here who got emails from a Fahad Al Besher based in Kuwait but wants to build a hotel in Saudi.
    They asked to register at http://www.sacadp.com/english.htm
    Major scam alert!!! Be warned

  31. http://www.albishrsint.com/#
    Another scamming 'client' website.

    1. PROVE IT. Do a reverse image search of the images of Directors and CEOs on the website and it will tell you that its a copy and paste fake website with images from the internet.
      http://www.albishrsint.com/ is a SCAMMING website. They didnt even bother to read the text written the idiot scammers.

    2. you are trying to spoil their names it is not true

  32. Another scammer on the scene - Project invitation sent on behalf of Radeef Construction http://www.radeefconstruction.com/ - Don't know if the company is real but the invitation is identical to one we received earlier with another company and country. So be aware...

  33. Could you copy the text that Radeef Construction sent to you? My company received an email from them and I would like to compare. Thanks!

  34. andre.justcourt@gmail.com send us your email

  35. We were initially fooled about RADEEF Construction solicitation and so called " Saudi Arabia Chamber Of accreditation Development Professionals" - They are both mirrored websites and are both fraudulent scams. Stay away. We have vetted them completely and they are clever money grabbers. After a number of queries with State, AIA, and Saudi Officials, it is clear they are not Saudi and perhaps not even from the Middle East. Note here from the Saudi Arabian Government:
    Dear Sir/ Madam
    I have not heard of what you called " Saudi Arabia Chamber Of accreditation Development Professionals" . Doing business in Saudi Arabia legally has to come first through SAGIA , and any other accreditation from a private sector point view as start is useless.

    Best regards -
    Eid Alkahtani
    Counsil Of Saudi Chamber

  36. Another scam is the mask Group United www.maskgroupunited.com from Kuwait and the Qatar Association of United Architects http://www.qaua.org . Has Anybody tried the whois services to find out who is the person behind all these websites?

  37. They have tried to scam us from Brazil as Um Waqas Construction with a Project proposal for a Luxuryous Intercontinental Restaurant in Bahrain. Luckly I've researched their registration number, that came out as Radeef Construction (their certificate looked very suspicious, photoshoped). I did a quick search for Radeef and found this post and an website suspended by the FBI under the investigation of Internet crimes.

    I asked the Um Waqas Construction Director of New Projects, Mr. Sadiq Al Baraat Afat what was their relationship with Radeef and he said that there was none, and guess what, after that he hasn't talked to us anymore.

    So I decided to write here so people might search their name and find this post before it's too late! Luckly we haven't lost any Money. A fellow architect got the same proposal, so they are still very active.

    Be aware!!

  38. Same here. We're architects in New York and received a request from Um Waqas Construction for a Luxury Intercontinental Restaurant in Bahrain. Entirely fake website--www.umwaqasconstruction.com -- with images pulled from various other sources. The first project in their website portfolio says its a bridge in Manama. A Google image search shows it's a project in Jerusalem!

    They really do go to great lengths to make it seem legit on the surface, but if you do your due diligence, the facade falls pretty quickly.

  39. Ditto - New York architect, restaurant in Bahrain and/or Saudi. The name of the prospective 'client; is Wafoy Construction, Nassar Al Nasiri. They really do go to great lengths to make it seem plausible - got so far as setting up a Skype meeting. Sigh - what a waste of energy and intelligence!

  40. San Diego Architect, Nassar Al Nasiri representing Wafoy Construction in Bahrain also tried the same scam for a $23M International Restaurant somewhere in Saudi Arabia. Sent a fairly convincing proposal that had all the right contract language for an international project. Skyp'd several times but balked at the mobilization/retainer fee. I was tipped because all the correspondence was happening at midnight Bahraini time and he mis-spelled his name one the very amateurish website wafoyconstruction.com "Nassar" but on his skype spelled it "Nasser". I have to say I had wild dreams about the international travel and big fee.

  41. The following is the initial email contact, it references a real project that we completed which had they not would have immediately gone in the trash bin.

    Our company Wafoy Construction wishes to contact your firm based on an Architectural services. We are an establish construction company from the Kingdom of Bahrain. We wish to know if your firm will be interested in working with us on a Restaurant “A list luxury restaurant” The restaurant which will be a modern restaurant chain that will be built across the Gulf Countries with the first in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
    We are inspired by your works especially the xxxxxxxxxxxxx project because of its simplicity and uniqueness.
    We wish to mix cultural and modernized design in the kingdom. The project estimate will be sent in our proposal.
    We wish to know if you have worked or received any proposal/seminar paper / workshop or a project proposal from this region.
    We want to know level of your availability to handle a project outside your country or including an ongoing project which you may have.
    And we will like you to brief us in case there are other ways of send an official project proposal to your esteem company so that we do not make mistakes as this will be our first project with a foreign firm.
    We wish to get an acknowledgement on this mail and be kind enough to direct us on the best way to send through a proposal to your company, to enable us send across the official proposal.
    Before we forward our official proposal we will like to get responds to the brief questions above.
    We hope to work together.
    Greetings from Wafoy Construction
    We hope to work together.

    Nassar Al Nasiri
    Director of Projects and Information.
    Wafoy Construction

  42. Hello all
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  43. Same scam received from Nassar Al Nasiri of Wafoy Construction.
    They really have gone to great lengths to seem real, especially with the proposal they send out. It seems so strange to me to go to such efforts to scam architecture offices, but I guess it has been an untapped market!

  44. Really impressed to your blog information. I am searching for latest information about Architects & Designers. Keep writing more and more.

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  45. Great content. It certainly helps to know what you are trying to do


  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

  47. Still scamming

    See QAPPP - Qatar Architects Professional Practice Permit at http://qatarappp.org

  48. Yep,we were contacted for a project which requires a Qatar Architect Professional Practice Permit.They even allow ppl with no archi qualifications to get "international registration". Goes against every Architect Act there is on earth.. and expensive too @ more than 12000usd. Scamming for so long and not caught yet?

  49. How about the USS - The Uganda Cociety of Architects - I kid you not!

    See http://www.wepromark.com/search/real-estate-534

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  51. Hey what a brilliant post I have come a cross and believe me I have been searching out for this similar kind of post for past a week and hardly came across this.
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  52. They've found me again, now through a different firm in NYC. They seem to now be targeting smaller, up and coming firms.

    Now it's "Bakuside Restaurant and Fitness Centre" in Baku, from Madat Hasanov Salim of South Caucasus Consultants ("a global brand, not just Azerbijan-based"). I guess they've given up on creating fake websites and profiles, because there's no trace of the company or the person anywhere on the internet. Although the street they provided is real, the number doesn't exist, nor does their Skype name.

    Perhaps this scam has nearly run its course. I think your blog has helped immensely!

  53. I take that back--South Caucasus Consultants has now launched a website, as of 7/26/16. Guess they are still playing the same game.

    But, amazingly, I searched and was able to find the info about the person who set up the domain: http://domainbigdata.com/email/osakajapannet@gmail.com

    It gives the name of a guy in Switzerland: Louis Charles Dobday

  54. We've got the same suspicious emails regarding: Bakuside Restaurant and Fitness Centre" in Baku, from Madat Hasanov Salim of South Caucasus Consultants too.

  55. Same email received from Madat Hasanov Salim Head of Operations. Site indicates a office in Cyprus in a non existing location. Says 11 years on the market e-site registered in Denmark on 26 July 2016.

  56. Same email received from Madat Hasanov Salim Head of Operations. Site indicates a office in Cyprus in a non existing location. Says 11 years on the market e-site registered in Denmark on 26 July 2016.

  57. I have a similar mail from Kapitol Group Azerbaijan. Its a large group that actually exists, but there's no reason why they should contact us. They claim we have been recommended by a japanese firm. Sounds extremely fishy.

  58. I have a similar mail from Kapitol Group Azerbaijan. Its a large group that actually exists, but there's no reason why they should contact us. They claim we have been recommended by a japanese firm. Sounds extremely fishy.

  59. I have a similar mail from Kapitol Group Azerbaijan. Its a large group that actually exists, but there's no reason why they should contact us. They claim we have been recommended by a japanese firm. Sounds extremely fishy.

  60. Us too in Los Angeles!!! Luxury Restaurant in Baku. They were so professional...the RFP was super detailed. Kapitol Construction, South Caucasus Consultants, a fake Azerbaijani architects board. http://albea-az.org/

  61. Thanks everyone for these!
    It looks like we're dealing with a similar sounding scheme here.
    Has somebody heard of:
    MENA Investment Fund http://www.menainvestmentfund.com/
    Incorporated Architects of Qatar - IAOQ http://www.qspaonline.org/index.htm

    1. I'm an architect in South Korea, we received an email from MENA Investment fund recently as well with this offer:

      'We wish to employ your firm for the design development of an educational project in Qatar and Kingdom of Bahrain for the design of an University Hostel as our social responsibility.'

      they also referred us to the site http://www.menainvestmentfund.com/

  62. Same attempted scam here, from the MENA University Board for a 65 millions dollars Library for a new campus in Doha. Lots of small clues about the incomplete website, the non existing masterplan architect (but they had a nice AutoCAD master plan of a new campus for somewhere undefined) and no negotiations about fees in a pre-contract. The useless requirements of a licence to obtain an entry Visa, which is not required to travel to Qatar, and the 7 pm phone call New York times which would be a 4 AM Manama time Zone (quite a dedicated Director of Physical Planning to be up at such hours to make sure the proposed architect pays his local license fee.)
    It is amazing that the first comments on this blog are from 2013 and by the end of 2016 we are still dealing with the same scammers. I guess they must be making a living out of the naive architects that we are...

    1. it doesn't stop till now.
      Architect needs to be careful and aware for this kind of stuff.
      Always check online, the website, the director's name, etc, whenever the offer seems too good to be true from someone miles away from their Country. it's one click away.

  63. Valuable information and excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts.
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  64. This is the first time i read your blog.I appreciate your effort.I really like this blog posting.Article contain useful information.Thanks for sharing this blog posting.Keep updated on Architecture Kuwait

  65. Hello - Please beware - My firm were also approached to partake in the same scam this month. Thankfully we happened upon this blog which confirmed our suspicions about the "opportunity". This version of the scam was similar, for a project by "MENA Education Foundation". The details were for a library for their campus outside of Doha, Qatar, around $60 million dollars. The scam is that we were "awarded" the project after submitting qualifications, we were asked to obtain a "Certified Qatari Eminent Professional Architects License". They had a website for the license and of course a way to pay $10,500 wired directly to several offshore locations. Of course this license doesn't exist and the scammer told us their board had waived the normal performance bond / guaranty in lieu of obtaining this license.
    They also sent us a CADD masterplan for an actual site outside of Qatar and their infromation included links to actual organizations, like the Gulf Universities Council.

    These were the contact details of the scammer posing as the Director, "Maajid Haroon". When we skyped with this guy he had a vaguely African accent.
    Email:- director_developments@menaunicom.org
    Skype account mraziym
    Maajid Raazi Haaroon
    Director Projects
    MENA Education Foundation
    Email:- projects@menaef.org
    Website:- www.menaef.org

    we just been contacted by the same MENA foundation, same director, same details.
    i am grateful finding your blog before we spent energy, ressources and/or money on it.
    again, thank you very much.

  67. We received the same scan from MENA. To all architects, we need to stop this. Please inform your country's relevant Architects Associations to pass the message on to all members.

    We are a Simon Gill Architects, a small company based in London. We have been in touch with this MENA foundation. They wanted us to flight to Qatar to build a Library and a set of Villas. Thanks we found this blog. We will inform the RIBA so they can publish it and aware others. Below the detail of the scammer:
    Maajid Raazi Haaroon

    Director Projects

    MENA Education Foundation
    Email:- projects@menaef.org
    Website:- www.menaef.org
    Skype: mraziym

  69. Fazlur Rahman Khan (Bengali: ফজলুর রহমান খান, Fozlur Rôhman Khan) (3 April 1929 – 27 March 1982) was a Bangladeshi-American[2] structural engineer and architect, who initiated important structural systems for skyscrapers.[3][4][5] Considered the "father of tubular designs" for high-rises,[6] Khan was also a pioneer in computer-aided design (CAD). He was the designer of the Sears Tower, since renamed Willis Tower, the tallest building in the world from 1973 until 1998, and the 100-story John Hancock Center.

    Khan, more than any other individual, ushered in a renaissance in skyscraper construction during the second half of the 20th century.[7][8] He has been called the "Einstein of structural engineering" and the "Greatest Structural Engineer of the 20th Century" for his innovative use of structural systems that remain fundamental to modern skyscraper design and construction.[3][9] In his honor, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat established the Fazlur Khan Lifetime Achievement Medal, as one of their CTBUH Skyscraper Awards.

    Although best known for skyscrapers, Khan was also an active designer of other kinds of structures, including the Hajj airport terminal, the McMath–Pierce solar telescope, and several stadium structures.[

  70. České firmy v hledáčku internetových podvodníků vydávajících se za Katařany

    30.03.2017 / 08:54íklad i okolnost, že účet, na který měl být registrační poplatek zaslán, byl veden u mexické bankovní instituce.

    S podvodem „made in Qatar“ byla konfrontována i česká společnost Ardon Safety, výrobce pracovních a funkčních oděvů, obuvi a pomůcek. Společnost byla kontaktována s nabídkou na účast v údajném tendru Qatar Public Procurement Bureau (QPPB) na dodávku velkého množství ochranných pracovních přileb, který následně vyhrála. Lákavou zakázku v hodnotě 3,9 milionů EUR se podvodníci snažili české firmě vizualizovat řadou falešných, avšak velmi reálně vypadajících dokumentů, jako např. certifikátem o udělení zakázky či dokonce již schváleným mezinárodním platebním příkazem na částku 3,9 mil. EUR, které měly být české společnosti zaslány po podepsání smlouvy s QPPB. Česká společnost však zpozorněla, když právník doporučený QPPB, který měl smlouvu v zastoupení za společnost v Kataru podepsat, požadoval za své služby a náklady na související právní úkony 6900 USD. Na dotaz, zda lze nějakým způsobem ověřit reálnost zakázky, údajný katarský právník v e-mailu odpověděl: „Nobody does what is not real in Qatar. The business is 100% real. Our law and religion does not support what is not real.“

    Oba tyto příběhy nakonec měly šťastný konec, jelikož české společnosti požadované poplatky nezaplatily a obrátily se na českou ambasádu v Kuvajtu, která má na starosti i Katar, s žádostí o prověření celé záležitosti. Ambasáda kontaktovala katarskou obchodní komoru, která potvrdila prvotní podezření, že se jedná o podvod. Např. QPPB (www.qppb.org) není skutečná katarská instituce a její internetová prezentace je podvod původem z Nigérie (její webová stránka již v současné době není přístupná). Veřejné zakázky v Kataru má na starosti primárně Central Tenders Committee (CTC). Důležitým vodítkem je například oficiální katarská internetová doména „.gov.qa.“, na které se nacházejí oficiální katarské instituce.

    Naopak velmi nešťastný konec vzal podobný příběh z roku 2014, kdy česká podnikatelka naletěla podvodníkům vydávajícím se za katarské Ministerstvo dotací a islámských záležitostí. Ti ji skrze údajného obchodního agenta nabídli účast v tendru ministerstva na potravinářské výrobky, který podnikatelka samozřejmě následně vyhrála. Lákadlo v podobě zakázky za 611 tis. EUR bylo příliš veliké a tak podvodníci z české podnikatelky postupně formou různých registračních a certifikačních poplatků, poplatků za právní služby advokáta a depozitu v bance vymámili desítky tisíc EUR. Na ambasádu v Kuvajtu se nešťastná podnikatelka bohužel obrátila až ve chvíli, kdy již zločincům na jejich konta poslala přes milion korun.

    Obecně lze českým podnikatelům doporučit maximální obezřetnost pokaždé, když je kontaktuje neznámý subjekt z oblasti (nejen) Perského zálivu se zdánlivě úžasnou obchodní nabídkou. Rozhodně nedoporučujeme platit jakékoliv poplatky před důkladným prověřením subjektu a osobním seznámením s obchodním partnerem. Pokud si nejste jistí, obraťte se na naši ambasádu, která vám může pomoci.

    Jakub Jaroš, ekonomický diplomat, zastupitelský úřad Kuvajt


    dokumenty k podvodné zakázce - dopis
    161 KB JPG (Obrázek / Fotka) 30.3.2017

    dokumenty k podvodné zakázce - platební příkaz
    163 KB JPG (Obrázek / Fotka) 30.3.2017

    O velvyslanectví
    Konzulární info

  71. Nothing comes this easy, right: Happy this site is out there to protect hopeful architects!! Know that Maajid Raazi Haaroon is still aiming to scam strong (why not change the name at least lol)!
    The biggest clue upfront is that the website doesn't seem to have a campus site plan -- or exist in a specific location. Also the immediacy of effort.... Good luck.

    MENA Education Foundation

    Date: 9- May-2017

    Dear Architect ,
    Re: Proposal for an Architectural design of Library and Staff housing.

    Good day,

    We wish to contact your firm for the design development of an educational and residential project in Kingdom of Bahrain and Qatar for the design of an University library and Staff housing building ”.

    We are so hopeful in considering you in this educational and residential development, we think this could be a great and a positive opportunity of knowledge and cultural exchange and understanding of this new world around us.

    The project location is in Kingdom of Bahrain, and Qatar, it will be in phases . we expect the project to last with 48 months excluding the preliminary design stage which we intended to structure for 18 weeks .

    We are contacting you following your project on (*They insert here a well known internationally recognized project of yours to sound most believable).

    The MENA Education Foundation exists to enrich, maintain and expand programs necessary to meet the MENA countries mission of academic excellence.

    The MENA Education Foundation was established under the MENA Education Foundation Act of 2002 as an autonomous statutory body to encourage and promote education on non-commercial/ non-profit basis. Since then, it has come a long way to arrange free quality education for the deserving People in MENA at their doorsteps.

    Visit us on www.menaef.org

    Phase I:

    Sir We wish to receive your urgent reply as soon as possible, it will help us have a better understanding of your firm procedure of engagement .
    Below is the proposed projects for the new university , MENA Education Foundation have choice the - MAIN LIBRARY and STAFF HOUSING we hope you will be capable to handle this for us.

    We will send you more detail on this as soon as we hear from you.

    Kindly acknowledge the recipient of the email reply to projects@menaef.org

    Yours Faithfully

    Maajid Raazi Haaroon

    Director Projects

    MENA Education Foundation
    Email:- projects@menaef.org
    Website:- www.menaef.org

    MENA Education Development


    India is a stable democracy. It is 80 percent Hindu but also home to one of the world’s largest Muslim populations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, took office in 2014 and is credited with reinvigorating India’s foreign policy. Modi, who in June 2016 made his fourth visit to the United States in two years, has bolstered ties with the U.S., particularly in defense cooperation. India has technology and manufacturing sectors as advanced as any in the world as well as traditional sectors characteristic of a lesser developed economy. Extreme wealth and poverty coexist as the nation both modernizes rapidly and struggles to find paths to inclusive development for its large and diverse population.

    Property Rights 55.4 Create a Graph using this measurement

    Government Integrity 44.3 Create a Graph using this measurement

    Judicial Effectiveness 44.4 Create a Graph using this measurement

    Real property rights are generally well enforced in metropolitan areas, although titling remains unclear in many other urban and rural areas. The judiciary is independent, but courts are understaffed and lack the technology necessary to clear an enormous backlog. Domestic and international pressure led to passage of legislation aimed at addressing corruption, but there is little evidence that it is being implemented effectively.

    Government Spending 77.4 Create a Graph using this measurement

    Tax Burden 77.2 Create a Graph using this measurement

    Fiscal Health 11.0 Create a Graph using this measurement

    The top individual income tax rate is 30.9 percent (including an education tax). The top corporate tax rate is 34.6 percent. The overall tax burden equals 16.6 percent of total domestic income. Government spending has amounted to 27.4 percent of total output (GDP) over the past three years, and budget deficits have averaged 7.3 percent of GDP. Public debt is equivalent to 67.2 percent of GDP.

    Business Freedom 52.8 Create a Graph using this measurement

    Labor Freedom 41.6 Create a Graph using this measurement

    Monetary Freedom 75.0 Create a Graph using this measurement
    The regulatory framework is burdensome, and the legal framework is weak. Labor regulations continue to evolve, and the informal economy is an important source of employment. Although the IMF reported in 2016 that India’s “major subsidies” (e.g., on fuels and fertilizer) dropped below 2 percent of GDP, the government is introducing a new basic foods subsidy for around two-thirds of the population.

    Trade Freedom 72.6 Create a Graph using this measurement

    Investment Freedom 40.0 Create a Graph using this measurement

    Financial Freedom 40.0 Create a Graph using this measurement
    Trade is moderately important to India’s economy; the value of exports and imports taken together equals 49 percent of GDP. The average applied tariff rate is 6.2 percent. Foreign investment is screened, but ownership restrictions in some economic sectors have been reduced. State-owned enterprises distort the economy. Despite some liberalization and modernization, state-owned institutions dominate the banking sector and capital markets.

    View Chart of Scores over Time
    Regional Ranking
    rank country overall change
    Kyrgyz Republic
    61.1 1.5
    59.5 1.6
    58.4 -1.1
    58.4 -5.1
    58.2 6.9
    57.4 5.4
    Sri Lanka
    57.4 -2.5
    55.1 4.2
    Solomon Islands
    55 8.0
    55 1.7
    54.8 -4.6
    54.1 2.3
    54 4.2
    52.8 -3.1
    52.6 -3.6
    52.5 3.8
    52.4 -1.6
    52.3 6.3
    Papua New Guinea
    50.9 -2.3
    50.9 4.7
    50.3 -3.6
    48.9 N/A
    47.4 5.5
    46.3 0.5
    North Korea
    4.9 2.6

    © 2017 by The Heritage Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
    Home | Country Rankings | Graph The Data | Heat Map

  73. India Economic Outlook
    April 25, 2017

    Monthly data suggest that the economy ended the fiscal year on a soft note in the final quarter, after growth surprised on the upside in Q3 FY 2016. Industrial production dropped in February and the manufacturing and services PMIs came in at low levels throughout the quarter. However, the PMIs picked up in March, suggesting that economic activity is improving after demonetization-related cash shortages in earlier months. Meanwhile, the country’s most significant tax reform in decades cleared more hoops at the start of April as key legislation related to the GST reform was approved in parliament. Additional legislation still needs to be passed by the state assemblies and specific tax rates set before the targeted 1 July rollout date.
    India Economy Data
    2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
    Population (million) 1,243 1,259 1,276 1,293 -
    GDP per capita (USD) 1,465 1,477 1,597 1,610 -
    GDP (USD bn) 1,821 1,860 2,038 2,081 -
    Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %) 5.5 6.5 7.2 7.9 -
    Consumption (annual variation in %) 5.3 7.4 6.8 7.3 -
    Investment (annual variation in %) 4.8 1.8 4.1 6.1 -
    Industrial Production (annual variation in %) 1.1 -0.1 2.8 2.5 -
    Public Debt (% of GDP) 69.1 68.0 68.3 69.1 -
    Money (annual variation in %) 7.5 12.3 10.7 11.5 -
    Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop) 10.5 8.2 5.3 4.8 -
    Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %) 10.2 10.0 5.9 4.9 -
    Inflation (PPI, annual variation in %) 7.4 6.0 2.0 -2.5 -
    Policy Interest Rate (%) 7.50 8.00 7.50 6.75 -
    Stock Market (annual variation in %) 8.2 18.9 24.9 -9.4 -
    Exchange Rate (vs USD) 54.28 60.02 62.29 66.25 -
    Exchange Rate (vs USD, aop) 54.37 60.42 61.14 65.42 -
    Current Account (% of GDP) -4.8 -1.8 -1.4 -1.1 -
    Current Account Balance (USD bn) -87.4 -32.8 -27.6 -22.1 -
    Trade Balance (USD billion) -189.5 -136.6 -137.5 -117.8 -
    Exports (USD billion) 300 314 311 262 -
    Imports (USD billion) 490 451 448 380 -
    Exports (annual variation in %) -1.9 4.6 -1.2 -15.7 -
    Imports (annual variation in %) 0.1 -8.0 -0.6 -15.3 -
    International Reserves (USD) 293 304 341 363 -
    External Debt (% of GDP) 22.5 24.0 23.3 23.3 -

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  75. This seems to be a great site which offers a , Interior design for office at Dubai earlier and they offered good stuff. You will be glad you decided to work with them.

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  84. 3 years after the original post still happens to good people. We were on the verge of falling into their trap if we hadn't read this blog, we thank you so much for having shared your experience, we have been left with a great sense of helplessness for not knowing how to denounce these people without dignity.

  85. This comment has been removed by the author.

  86. I am really sorry to hear that this scamm is happening for so long.
    I am in the same situation right now: Muhammad Bashid Bin Ali,from Rakomesko group, based in Kuwait, is willing to build a new university campus and contact me for the project. They even told me which project of my studio they liked to make the contact!
    Anyway, after some e-mails, fee discussion, whatsapp messages and calls, they argue that we need the so called Qatari Board of Architects Practitioners membership to sign the contract and site visit. For this, we would have to pay US$ 5,700 by international money transfer to an account in Mexico.
    It is exactly the same story which started this forum. Same approach, same paperwork.
    I am glad I found the blog on time!

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  91. Just to share, this scam is still occurring and they're willing to put a lot of time into convincing architects that the project is legitimate. We were contacted by a Naseef Al-Zhalmi as below:

    Dear Sir,

    Proposal For The Architectural Design Of A Regional Office Building

    We are contacting your firm, having seen your project on XXX.
    We wish to open talk with your firm for the design of Our regional office building, a project which is aimed to be achieved in other to establish our presence in Qatar.
    We expect the project to last within 22 months, excluding the preliminary design stage which we intend to structure with your firm. The project must be completed on or before August 2020.
    We are so hopeful in considering you in this Project, We think this could be a great and a positive opportunity of knowledge and cultural exchange..
    We are expecting to have a long time Collaboration with your firm, Which will also serve as a member of Our Advisory Board on International Projects, If we can build a concrete working relationship with each other.
    Haven explained our proposal briefly We will like to know your possibility and approach of handling such international project and your expectations from us.

    Kindly Acknowledge the recipient of this email with a reply,
    We are hoping to hear from you in order to discuss details with you.
    Always reply to naseefalzhalmi@rashedal-wataniagroup.com

    Yours Sincerely,

    Naseef Al Zhalmi

    Director International project Investment
    Email: naseefalzhalmi@rashedal-wataniagroup.com

    Copy to :
    Deepam Aarav
    Director information / International relations
    Phone +91 8467968087

    Our offshore International desk - +44 8447743675 +44 703 190 4864

    Visit:- www.rashedal-wataniagroup.com
    Phone +965 24738113

    Registration No. 13952
    Trade Registration Number (CR No) 86213


    As previously outlined by others they use real company names to disguise their work, and real names of COO's, Directors etc from that company to make everything seem legitimate. The contact number listed is for somebody somewhere in the world to support their scam. We communicated over a number of weeks to try and organise a trip over to Doha to undertake an initial workshop, during which they issued a full convincing brief and Letter of Intent. Ultimately though we were asked to pay to be registered with the International and National Board of Certified Architects Qatar
    found at http://www.inbcaqatar.org/

    After some further digging we found another 'Registration Board' website at Qatari Board of Architects Practitioners with the website https://www.qbap.org/architect.htm with no phone numbers, similar content and no real purpose apart from to extort fees from architects.

    Be aware that these scams exist and they're still trying under various guises to con hard working people into handing them money.

  92. We got one from: RASHED AL-WATANIA GROUP – Kuwait

    Proposal for the Architectural Design of Sports Complex and Restaurant.

    We'll try to make it a long, tiring and fruitless conversation for the team of Wataniagroup, just to waste their time hahaha

    1. We got it as well from: RASHED AL-WATANIA GROUP – Kuwait
      Proposal for the Architectural Design of an Open Library.

      We've done the scam check based on their website and the result is: A New Site Involving A High Risk Country, the site is Romania based (https://www.scamadviser.com/check-website/rashedal-wataniagroup.com).
      This website was created 6 months ago (2018-05-12)

      And then we found this blog and convinced us that they are a scammer. Big thanks for this blog, really helpful.

      Be careful everyone!

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  102. Everest Base Camp Trek is one of those journeys that create your vacation dreams return true. Hiking on the legendary foothills just under the mighty Mount Everest 8848m with exciting views of the master peaks will solely be found within the Everest Region. This celebrated trek is thought worldwide for its trailblazing routes & the landscapes speak to your senses. On this trip you furthermore Mera peak out at the celebrated Kala Patthar (5,600m/18,373ft) read purpose for a few grand direct views of the very best mountain in the world. Everest Base CampTrek additionally includes different celebrated eight thousand peaks like Mt mountain peak (8,516m /27,940ft), Makalu (8,485m /27,838 ft) Cho-Oyu (8,201m /26,906ft). The culture of this specific space is of nice notebook stuff & interacting with the native of us puts a lot of zest into your venturesome journey as you walk through the Khumbu region of the Asian country. This legendary path could be a psychological thriller for top & wild hikers World Health Organization want the tread the methods wherever legends walked before on their thanks to conquering mountain peak, some did some didn’t however the Everest Base Camp Trek path keeps those legends alive for many trekkers World Health Organization head to the present region. The trip begins with a stirring mountain flight to Lukla, one among the world’s highest mountains; & as shortly as you set down at that altitude, the remainder is history. Your hike takes you to the favored village city of Namche, referred to as the ‘gateway to the Khumbu’’ & from there on you rehearse quiet monasteries with the acknowledge Sherpa of us World Health Organization inhabit this region & their culture is price noting. On the way, we have a tendency to visit the Sagarmatha parkland, home to some rare fauna & flora, this additionally wherever we have a tendency to adapt for a few time. We head deep into the Khumbu hiking into the forest of shrub, birch trees & pine, with colorful villages wherever we have a tendency to square measure sincerely welcome by the Sherpa community. we have a tendency to square measure pleasantly stunned to return across a hospital-based mostly in Khunde and health post at Pheriche that shows this region not solely cares for the locals however also are able to look out of trekkers World Health Organization have altitude issues. Doctors square measure invariably at the post for aid treatment. The Everest Base Camp Trek is arduous however varied teahouses square measure found on the paths providing smart grubbed to shelter from the generally harsh climate. Our trek culminates at base camp so we have a tendency to create a path for Namche as we have a tendency to hike back to Lukla to rendezvous for our flight to Katmandu. we have a tendency to add an additional contingency day for inclement weather which will delay flights. It’s recommended to be pretty acceptable to undertake this journey; you only want some smart hiking exercise before doing this trip. And Nepal Base Camp Treks can do the remainder to allow you AN action-packed odyssey of a period.

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