FILE - In this March 4, 2018, file photo, Sacha Baron Cohen arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif. Some politicians are going through the several stages of panic associated with an interview with Cohen: remorse, damage control, anger and regret for being duped. One of the comedian's latest targets, defeated Senate candidate Roy Moore, is threatening a defamation lawsuit over an upcoming episode of the comedian's new television series. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Sacha Baron Cohen is being threatened with a defamation lawsuit by defeated Senate candidate Roy Moore AP

Baron Cohen pranks more celebrity politicians for show



Some politicians are going through the several stages of panic associated with an interview with Sacha Baron Cohen: remorse, damage control, anger and regret for being duped.

One of the comedian's latest targets, defeated Senate candidate Roy Moore, is threatening a defamation lawsuit over an upcoming episode of the comedian's new television series.

Sacha Baron Cohen has for years lured unwitting politicians into awkward interviews. Now one of his latest targets, defeated Senate candidate Roy Moore, is threatening a defamation lawsuit over an upcoming episode of the comedian's new television series.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Moore says he accepted an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington in February after being told he'd receive an award for supporting Israel.

"I did not know Sacha Cohen or that a Showtime TV series was being planned to embarrass, humiliate, and mock not only Israel, but also religious conservatives such as Sarah Palin, Joe Walsh, and Dick Cheney," Moore wrote on Facebook.

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is running for US Senate in Arizona, thought he was part of a show focusing on the top 20 most famous people in the United States.

Arpaio, 86, said he began to suspect something was amiss with the interview when Baron Cohen started using sexually explicit expressions.

He's not sure yet whether he'd take any action against Baron Cohen, who posed as a Finnish actor and wore a disguise during an October 2017 interview in Los Angeles.

"If they do a good job, maybe I'll send them a thank-you note," Arpaio said.

Neither Showtime nor Baron Cohen responded to requests for comment.

Who Is America? premieres Sunday on Showtime.

The network has been tight-lipped about the show. Baron Cohen has posted only a cryptic clip of a former vice president Dick Cheney being asked to sign a water jug that a man — presumably Baron Cohen — calls his "waterboard kit."

The comedian adopts various personas to trick interviewees, and as his rapper character Ali G he subjected Newt Gingrich and Pat Buchanan to awkward interviews. He even got a brief interview with Donald Trump in 2012, but the then-businessman walked out early in the session.

That same year, Baron Cohen dumped ashes on Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet at the Oscars while promoting his film The Dictator.

It is unclear when the interviews with Cheney, Arpaio and Palin will air during the seven-episode Who Is America? run.

Baron Cohen's stunts have landed him in court before, and Moore is threatening to file a lawsuit depending on how Who Is America? portrays him.

Moore is suing four women who raised decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct during his Senate race.

"I am involved in several court cases presently to defend my honour and character against vicious false political attacks by liberals like Cohen," Moore said in his statement. "If Showtime airs a defamatory attack on my character, I may very well be involved in another. As for Mr Cohen, whose art is trickery, deception, and dishonesty, Alabama does not respect cowards who exhibit such traits!"

Arpaio initially said that he regretted doing the interview. Then he corrected himself.

"No, I don't regret the interview," Arpaio said. "I'll talk to anybody."

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COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Cofe

Year started: 2018

Based: UAE

Employees: 80-100

Amount raised: $13m

Investors: KISP ventures, Cedar Mundi, Towell Holding International, Takamul Capital, Dividend Gate Capital, Nizar AlNusif Sons Holding, Arab Investment Company and Al Imtiaz Investment Group 

Sarfira

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Rating: 2/5

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Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

Seven tips from Emirates NBD

1. Never respond to e-mails, calls or messages asking for account, card or internet banking details

2. Never store a card PIN (personal identification number) in your mobile or in your wallet

3. Ensure online shopping websites are secure and verified before providing card details

4. Change passwords periodically as a precautionary measure

5. Never share authentication data such as passwords, card PINs and OTPs  (one-time passwords) with third parties

6. Track bank notifications regarding transaction discrepancies

7. Report lost or stolen debit and credit cards immediately

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Director: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi

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Muhammad Waseem (captain), Aayan Khan, Aryan Lakra, Ashwanth Valthapa, Asif Khan, Aryansh Sharma, CP Rizwaan, Hazrat Billal, Junaid Siddique, Karthik Meiyappan, Rohan Mustafa, Vriitya Aravind, Zahoor Khan and Zawar Farid.

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Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)