By Tamara Walid

DUBAI, Dec. 30 (Reuters) – Dubai has set up a panel to protect the creditors of troubled mortgage lenders Amlak and Tamweel, whose long-planned merger is slated for early 2010, in a bid to boost transparency.

The Gulf emirate’s reputation took a big hit over its request on Nov. 25 for a delay in repaying $26 billion in debt linked to flagship firm Dubai World. It has been trying to put its financial house in order in recent weeks.

Dubai has formed a judicial committee to protect creditors and companies related to Amlak and Tanweel, a statement from ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum’s office said on Wednesday.

The committee “will be the only judicial body … with the right to review all requests and legal claims related to settling the financial issues of the two companies,” it said.

The office gave no more details on the panel or on why it was set up.

Dubai-based lawyer Wael al-Tunsi said it was unclear whether the panel would handle criminal or civil cases or both.