Dubai regulator investigation targets Abraaj senior management

Pedro Gonçalves
Dubai regulator investigation targets Abraaj senior management

Dubai's financial services regulator is focusing on the role of senior management as part of its investigation of the collapsed private equity company Abraaj.

"We will use all of our powers to deal with those who are found to be culpable," the regulator said in its 2018 annual report published this week. "This investigation is highly complex, on a wide scale and is being pursued vigorously."

"We are focusing our attention on senior management responsible for the conduct of the affairs of the relevant companies and funds, and persons who may have failed in their responsibilities to identify or report irregularities," the regulator added. 

We will use all of our powers to deal with those who are found to be culpable"

Dubai-based Abraaj, which once managed about $14bn, was forced into liquidation last year after being accused of mismanaging investor funds. Before that, it had been one of the world's most influential emerging-market investors with stakes in health care, clean energy, lending and real estate across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Turkey.

In August 2018, the DFSA stopped Abraaj Capital from taking on new business or moving money to Abraaj Investment Management as part of an investigation into the group and the regulator announced earlier this year that it was investigating Abraaj Capital and other relevant companies and persons involved in the Abraaj Group.

Additionally, the DFSA also said that it may make changes to its oversight procedures following last year's collapse of Abraaj Group.

In a 78-page indictment, US prosecutors charged Arif Naqvi, the founder of Abraaj, and five other senior executives of the company with systematic misappropriation of investor money.

Naqvi, according to the charge sheet, along with Waqar Siddique, Sivendran Vettivetpillai and Mustafa Abdel-Wadood - all managing partners - Ashish Dave, the company's chief financial officer and Rafique Lakhani, a managing director, "deceived and defrauded existing and potential investors in the US and elsewhere, including US financial institutions, US retirement and pension funds, US investment advisers, a US philanthropic foundation and an agency of the US government".

In April, the DFSA, which regulates more than 500 companies registered at DIFC, said it was in contact with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and had been investigating Abraaj Capital, the only Dubai-registered entity of the collapsed company. The DFSA does not have criminal jurisdiction, unlike US regulators. 


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