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Real estate project in Mexico: A wealthy businessman files a lawsuit demanding $4.5 million

Real estate project in Mexico: A wealthy businessman files a lawsuit demanding $4.5 million

Two Montreal residents have turned to the courts to recover the $4.5 million they claim they lost due to dealing with a wealthy businessman in a real estate project in Mexico that ultimately never saw the light of day.

George Halegwa Cohen, 68, “allegedly defrauded [Laurent Levy et Avidan Grischkan] To extract from them the total invested money by making them dangle a huge development project, as we allege in the lawsuit recently filed in a Montreal court.

Laurent Levy, one of the pursuers, always saw Mr Halegwa-Cohen as a “very successful businessman in real estate” who drove around in luxury cars.



A project brief in Mexico created by an architectural firm was allegedly presented to Laurent Levy and Avidan Grishkan to convince them to invest in the project.

Photo provided as evidence

Half the project

In May 2018, the businessman reportedly proposed to Mr. Levy to invest in developing a luxury tower with more than 30 floors in the richest area of ​​Mexico City. He then allegedly offered to pay $6.8 million for half the shares.

To confirm everything, Mr. Levy had received a copy of the promise to purchase the land and even an offer from a Mexican architectural firm.

So the mortgage broker teamed up with another investor, Avidan Grishkan, to raise the funds for the partnership.

In all, 22 transactions totaling $4.66 million were allegedly made over a year and a half to the Mexican bank account of a company headed by Mr. Halegwa Cohen, set up for this project.

During this period, Mr. Levy and Greshkan traveled to Mexico to visit the site, meet stakeholders and view a model of the project. They even formalized the partnership with a notary.

Doubts

Only in March 2021 did Laurent Levy begin to have doubts about the project, when Mr. Halegwa-Cohen told him that there would be a delay in construction.

So Laurent Levy contacted a Mexican lawyer to check the condition of the land on which the tower was to be built. He would have learned “with astonishment” that it was owned by the Australian Embassy and that the seller's name appearing on the purchase promise did not exist, as alleged in the lawsuit.

What's worse is that the Mexican notary who prepared the document will not have the right to act because he may have already been involved in fraud in the past.

Refunds

Today, Laurent Levy and Avidan Grishkan are trying to find money to invest in the real estate project. They could only get $113,000, “whatever was left available”, according to a letter from Mr Halegwa-Cohen submitted into evidence.

So two Montrealers went after him in order to recover the missing millions. They are also seeking $500,000 in punitive damages and $150,000 in statutory damages.

Mr Halegwa-Cohen was denied permission this week to take legal action in Mexico, where he now resides.

The latter has already had problems with the law in the past. The company he heads, Méga Byte Information, was fined $450,000 in 2017 as part of a wide-ranging operation against deceptive telemarketers. Mr. Halegwa Cohen was also a defendant in this case, but he obtained a stay of proceedings due to unreasonable delays.

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