Danube founder finds his dream in Dubai

Rizwan Sajan.
Updated 03 May 2018
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Danube founder finds his dream in Dubai

  • Rizwan Sajan started his business with only a few hundred dirhams.
  • Danube now has operations across the world.

DUBAI: An Indian who started his business with only a few hundred dirhams in his pocket has said he feels elated that his company’s imprint can be found in almost every home in Dubai.
Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairman of Danube Group, is an example of how Dubai has changed the lives of thousands of expatriates searching for a better future.
“I lost my father at the age of 12. At a time when most boys plan for their dream careers and sports, I had to start selling books and fireworks to support my family,” said Sajan, who comes from a middle-class family in Mumbai.
At age 18, Sajan found a job in Kuwait. “My Kuwait job changed lots of things back home. I was able to provide a good living to my family, but the Kuwait war changed everything. I had to return to Mumbai in 1991. That marked the beginning of a new struggle all over again,” said Sajan, whose company is now worth more than 4 billion dirhams.
In 1993, Sajan arrived in Dubai and since then there has been no looking back. His small trading firm, Danube, has grown into one of the largest building materials companies in the region with interests in property, construction and improvements.
Danube now has operations across the world, including the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and India, in addition to procurement offices in China. The company has more than 3,000 employees in strategic locations in the GCC, China and India.
“It took me about two decades, but today I say with confidence and pride that almost every home in Dubai has me or my company Danube in different ways. Be it your beautiful lights, furniture or even a tap in your bathroom, we are there with you in your home in some shape and form. That is a privilege that few companies could cherish,” he said.
“The foundation and direction of this country is so solid that it provides an excellent opportunity to anyone who wants to pursue their dreams,” Sajan said. “I have faith in this country and its leadership, and I know me, my family, my business and my workers and colleagues all are protected and blessed here. What other country can give this kind of assurance?”
According to Sajan, even during 2008, when the financial market was struggling around the world, there was no shortage of opportunity.
“We spread our wings and entered the real estate construction business. This is the kind of positivity and faith Dubai gives to each one of us. We never lost hope. On the contrary, we strive for better despite challenges,” he said.


R&B star R. Kelly due in Chicago court to face sex abuse charges

Updated 23 February 2019
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R&B star R. Kelly due in Chicago court to face sex abuse charges

  • R. Kelly was driven to a Chicago police station in a dark colored van with heavily tinted rear windows
  • Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on Friday announced the 10 counts against the 52-year-old Grammy winner

CHICAGO: R. Kelly, the R&B star who has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves, is due in court Saturday after being charged with aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, including at least three between the ages of 13 and 17.
In a brief appearance before reporters, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on Friday announced the 10 counts against the 52-year-old Grammy winner, whose real name is Robert Kelly. She said the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade. She did not comment on the charges or take questions.
Kelly was driven to a Chicago police station in a dark colored van with heavily tinted rear windows around 8:15 p.m. Friday. He did not respond to questions from gathered reporters as he walked inside the building.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted a short time later that Kelly was under arrest. He was expected to be held overnight before an appearance Saturday in bond court.
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, told reporters following the singer’s arrest that one of the charges he faces appears to be tied to a decade-old child pornography case.
“Double jeopardy should bar that case,” Greenberg said. “He won that case.”
Kelly, who was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008, has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.
Greenberg said he thinks prosecutors rushed to judgment Friday in charging Kelly, calling the singer “an innocent man.”
“Mr. Kelly is strong,” Greenberg added. “He’s got a lot of support and he’s going to be vindicated on all these charges.”
The arrest sets the stage for another #MeToo-era celebrity trial. Bill Cosby went to prison last year, and former Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein is awaiting trial.
Best known for hits such as “I Believe I Can Fly,” Kelly was charged a week after Michael Avenatti, the attorney whose clients have included porn star Stormy Daniels, said he gave prosecutors new video evidence of the singer with an underage girl.
At a news conference earlier Friday in Chicago, Avenatti said a 14-year-old girl seen with R. Kelly on the video is among four victims mentioned in the indictment. He said the footage shows two separate scenes on two separate days at Kelly’s residence in the late 1990s.
During the video, both the victim and Kelly refer to her age 10 times, he said.
Avenatti said he represents six clients, including two victims, two parents and two people he describes as “knowing R. Kelly and being within his inner circle for the better part of 25 years.”
“I don’t know what the tape is,” Greenberg said of the video Avenatti gave prosecutors. “We haven’t seen it. No one’s showed us the tape.”
The new charges marked “a watershed moment,” Avenatti said, adding that he believes more than 10 other people associated with Kelly should be charged as “enablers” for helping with the assaults, transporting minors and covering up evidence.
The video surfaced during a 10-month investigation by Avenatti’s office. He said that the person who provided the VHS tape knew both Kelly and the female in the video.
Legally and professionally, the walls began closing in on Kelly after the release of a BBC documentary about him last year and the multipart Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired last month. Together they detailed allegations he was holding women against their will and running a “sex cult.”
#MeToo activists and a social media movement using the hashtag #MuteRKelly called on streaming services to drop Kelly’s music and promoters not to book any more concerts. Protesters demonstrated outside Kelly’s Chicago studio.