The former chief financial officer of Abraaj Group has been fined $1.7 million by Dubai Financial Services Authority, the regulator of the emirate's financial services free zone, for his part in the downfall of the private equity company.
The DFSA also prohibited Ashish Dave from "performing any function" in financial services within or from the Dubai International Financial Centre.
Mr Dave was Abraaj Group's chief financial officer from September 2008 to September 2013 and held the same post again from February 2017 to March 2018. He was the finance officer in charge of DFSA-authorised Abraaj Capital Limited (ACLD), as well as its Cayman Islands entity Abraaj Investment Management Limited (AIML), and was "knowingly involved" in deceiving investors over the use of money in Abraaj funds, the DFSA said in a statement on Wednesday.
"In particular, Mr Dave was aware that approximately $200m was taken from the Abraaj Growth Markets Healthcare Fund and used for the Abraaj Group’s working capital or other investment commitments," the regulator said.
Abraaj managed more than 40 private equity funds and assets of more than $14bn until it crumbled in one of the biggest failures for a private equity business globally. Founded in 2002, Abraaj was the Middle East’s biggest private equity fund manager and one of the world’s most influential emerging-market investors in business across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Turkey.
"It is central to our regulatory objectives to hold to account those who are at the centre of wrongdoing by firms. The wrong-doing by AIML and ACLD was of the highest order of seriousness," Peter Smith, acting chief executive of the DFSA, said.
"As the group CFO, Mr Dave was in a unique position with visibility over the financial affairs of the group. He had the opportunity to expose and bring to a halt AIML and ACLD’s breaches. Instead, Mr Dave became actively involved in the deception of Abraaj stakeholders."
The DFSA, which has already imposed a fine of $314.6m against Abraaj Group in 2019, said that actions against other former senior members of Abraaj Group's staff were ongoing and "in the final stages of the disciplinary process".