Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC), a financial institution owned by six Gulf states, claims "hundreds of millions of dollars are missing" from the Port Fund L.P. and is asking a US court to subpoena a dozen banks in New York as part of a potential lawsuit against the Cayman Islands-based company.
The Port Fund L.P. is a Cayman Islands-based exempted limited partnership and was set up in 2007 to invest in "port-related assets around the world".
The GIC has asked for "documents and information" regarding US dollar transactions between "Port Fund companies" and lobbying and public relations firms, arguing the lawsuit is expected to address "the potential misappropriation of Port Fund assets to fund payments to lobbying and public relations firms who were hired (a) without the knowledge or consent of the Port Fund's limited partners, and/or (b) to disparage the reputation of the State of Kuwait (one of GIC's owners) in an attempt to secure the release from prison of KGLI principals Lazareva and Dashti," as reported by Al-monitor.
KGL Investment Company (KGLI) is the sponsor and placement agent of the Port Fund and owner of Port Link (GP), the general partner of the private equity fund. KGLI and the Port Fund have spent more than $4m on lobbying since 2018 on behalf of its former executives, Marsha Lazareva and Saeed Dashti, who are accused of swindling investors.
The GIC is also concerned over an alleged discrepancy between sale proceeds from the fund's investment in an airport infrastructure project in the Philippines, Clark Global City, and the amounts distributed to the limited partners of the Port Fund.
While financial filings in the Philippines had put the sale price at about $1bn, the US discovery application said the widely reported exit amount for the Port Fund's sale of the asset was only half of that amount.
"Specifically, The Port Fund belatedly reported that the proceeds from its sale of the Clark Asset amounted to $496m (after its principals initially claimed it was far less than even that amount). The half-billion-dollar discrepancy has never been acknowledged, let alone explained, by the Port Fund," the US application said, according to Offshore Alert.
The GIC, which is owned by the six Gulf Cooperation Council states, is considering suing the Port Fund in the Cayman Islands, but a federal law from 1948 makes it possible for foreign actors to request discovery in the United States.