Skypod firm in UAE tied to investment company flagged abroad

Emirates String Rail

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The small, four-seat pod glides above the sands of a test track in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, a futuristic transit solution promoted by a Belarusian firm that hopes to secure contracts here in the near future.

Inviting journalists to see their test track Thursday, firm uSky showed off what they described as an energy-efficient, smart solution to fly above traffic across the Emirates, a country home to skyscraper-studded Dubai that long has embraced anything futuristic.

However, uSky has ties back to a Belarusian investment firm called SkyWay that has seen multiple nations in Europe and elsewhere issue warnings to investors that they "may be involved in a scam.” Proposals to deploy the technology have been examined and abandoned in several nations as well.

Speaking to The Associated Press, creator Anatoli Unitsky brushed aside questions about the project's financing. He also insisted SkyWay didn't fund the project, calling them instead “my fans” as he wore the investment firm's logo in a pin on his lapel.

“It's a transparent business here,” Unitsky said.

Responding later to questions on uSky’s behalf, a Dubai-based public relations firm insisted “no one associated with uSky ... has any legal or financial relations with SkyWay Capital or SkyWay Group.” However, they acknowledged uSky had been known as SkyWay until “inappropriate persons and companies ... misused and compromised the SkyWay brand without our consent.”