Bloomberg/Simon Dawson

Regulation

Former Abraaj CEO denied bail after being called flight risk

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Arif Naqvi appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court for the latest stage of his extradition battle following his arrest this month on American charges of defrauding investors.

Sunday 28, April 2019

(Bloomberg) --Arif Naqvi, the founder of buyout fund Abraaj Group, was denied bail by a London judge after prosecutors said he may flee to Pakistan rather than face US fraud charges.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot denied Naqvi’s request after prosecutors said the 58-year-old wrote down the phone number of the Pakistani president when he was arrested earlier this month.

"I’m concerned to see he had the president’s number on him, it is a sign he had friends in high places in Pakistan and if he were to be granted bail, I’d be extremely concerned he would leave the country, Judge Arbuthnot said.

Naqvi is one of several Abraaj officials caught up in a US probe of what was the Middle East’s biggest private equity fund. The former Abraaj CEO is charged with inflating the value of the Dubai-based firm’s holdings and stealing hundreds of millions of dollars, charges that he has denied saying the idea he took money out for his own personal benefit is ludicrous.

Prosecutor Rachel Kapila said that the phone number of Arif Alvi was one of seven numbers Naqvi scribbled out during his arrest. When Naqvi was arrested at London’s Heathrow airport, he is said to have been in possession of an Interpol passport.

The former Abraaj CEO had the Interpol passport alongside two Pakistan passports and one from Saint Kitts and Nevis as an honorary trustee of the Interpol Foundation, Keith said.

“There is a strong concern he will flee to Pakistan if granted bail, and he has been known to use a private jet, which may provide the means to do so, added Kapila.

Abraaj collapsed last year in the world’s biggest private-equity insolvency. Founded in 2002, it grew to become 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.

The private-equity firm, which managed almost $14 billion, was forced into liquidation in June after a group of investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, commissioned an audit to investigate the alleged mismanagement of money in its health-care fund.

 

TAGS : Arif Naqvi, Abraaj, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, US extradition

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