Three more Abraaj executives face US fraud charges

Coping with developing countries and regions is not easy for someone from the West who is likely to be accustomed to things running more smoothly than in the country he/she may be in. I'm in Vietnam currently and although it is different from the Middle East there are similarities- both have centralized government and in both cases some things function well and others not at all. But in Vietnam there are a way more motorbikes than anywhere in the Middle East. If the number of motorbikes on the street were an indication of how wealthy a country was becoming, Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh City in particular, would win hands down.

But the one thing in favour of most of the countries in the Asian region is they are not at war. Although there are problems, the region is unlikely to be war any time soon- unless there is more trouble with North Korea.

Instead the focus is likely to be on the Middle East and what's going on there, on Iran and Israel in particular. But today I'm even moving away from the potential of war in the region to the former private equity form, Abraaj, based in Dubai and what is happening there. Here is an update, from The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi.

Three more Abraaj executives face US fraud charges

13 June 2019

The collapsed Dubai private equity firm's former managing partner, vice president and former chief financial officer have all been charged with fraud and conspiracy

Three more Abraaj executives face fraud charges in the United States. EPA

US prosecutors on Thursday unveiled criminal charges against three more former executives of Abraaj Capital Ltd, accusing them of taking part in a massive international scheme to defraud investors.

The collapsed Dubai private equity firm's former managing partner Waqar Siddique, former vice president Rafique Lakhani and former chief financial officer Ashish Dave have all been charged with fraud and conspiracy, according to an indictment unsealed in the Manhattan federal court.

Three other former Abraaj executives, including founder Arif Naqvi, were charged earlier this year. It was not immediately clear whether any of the newly named defendants had been arrested.

James Margolin, a spokesman for the US Attorney's office in Manhattan which is prosecuting the case, declined to comment.

Abraaj had been the largest buyout fund in the Middle East and North Africa until it collapsed in the middle of 2018 after investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, raised concerns about the management of its $1 billion healthcare fund.

US prosecutors have said that from about 2014 until Abraaj's collapse, executives lied about the performance of Abraaj's funds, inflating their value by more than $500 million.

Prosecutors have said "at least hundreds of millions" of investor funds were misappropriated, either to disguise liquidity shortfalls or for the personal benefit of executives.

Mr Naqvi and former Abraaj managing partner Sev Vettivetpillai were arrested in the UK in April and have been freed on bail while US authorities seek their extradition.

Former managing partner Mustafa Abdel-Wadood was arrested in New York in April and also released on bail.

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