Abraaj founder given extra time to raise £15 million bail

Pedro Gonçalves
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Abraaj founder given extra time to raise £15 million bail

Arif Naqvi, the founder of Abraaj Group currently facing fraud charges in the United Kingdom, has been granted more time to raise a £15m bail by a London court, according to a report by Reuters, citing a court official.

In a hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday, Hugo Keith QC, Mr Naqvi's lawyer, said the amount the court was asking for security bond was "unprecedented" and said "although we are inching towards paying it, we are not there yet".

Naqvi was arrested in Britain last month and has been awaiting possible extradition to the United States where he faces charges of defrauding investors. On May 3 he was granted bail of £15m and was ordered to wear an electronic tag, remain at his London home and surrender his passport.

Although we are inching towards paying it, we are not there yet"

After failing to pay the bail conditions, on Friday he was remanded in custody until another bail hearing at the Westminster Magistrates Court on May 17, Reuters reported.

Over £650,000 in surety money was paid in court by three associates of the former Abraaj chief executive.

The three sureties are Javed Ahmed, a Pakistani American businessmen and former CEO of British multinational agribusiness Tate & Lyle; Asif Rangoonwala, founder of South Street Asset Management and Malcolm Beckett, who works in the property business. Ahmed and  Rangoonwala agreed to pay £300,000 in surety each in court, while Beckett said he would pay £50,000, according to The National.

Naqvi faces up to 45 years in US prisons if found guilty of conspiracy and fraud charges connected to the collapse of the Abraaj Group last year. He denies the charges brought in the US and is fighting extradition over the charges.

As the legal battle continues, the British arm of a charity set up by Naqvi is set to wind up its operations as it faces scrutiny from UK regulators following the collapse of the private equity giant, a UAE media outlet reported.

The Charity Commission said it was "assessing information" following the arrest of Naqvi on US fraud charges and would speak with trustees of the Aman Foundation UK about potential risks to the charity.

The British charity raised money for the larger Aman Foundation set up in Pakistan by the Naqvi family in 2008 to deliver health and education programmes in that country. The couple won a prize from French banking group BNP Paribas for their "individual philanthropy" in 2015 in connection with their work with the Aman Foundation.

Its work has included supplying a fleet of ambulances in a country where government health spending is among the lowest in the world.

But lawyers for the US authorities identified the Aman Foundation as a potential beneficiary for the "improper use" of $1m (Dh3.67m) of investors' money after Arif Naqvi asked the Abraaj cash controller about diverting money from one fund to cover shortfalls elsewhere, according to court documents.

TPG Growth has reportedly agreed to assume control of a $1bn healthcare fund that was previously managed by the now-insolvent Abraaj Group. It is believed the vehicle will be renamed the Evercare Health Fund and will continue to make healthcare-focused investments in Africa and South Asia. The Rise Fund, a TPG-backed $2bn social impact vehicle, will reportedly make co-investments alongside Evercare. 

 

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