Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi released from jail after paying £15m bail

During his bail, Arif Naqvi must surrender his travel documents, wear an electronic tag and stay in his London home

FILE PHOTO: Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive of Abraaj Group attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich -/File Photo
Powered by automated translation

Arif Naqvi, the founder of Abraaj Group, has been released from custody almost a month after being granted a record £15 million (Dh69.69m) bail.

Mr Naqvi was freed on Tuesday night from the grim 19th century prison Wandsworth prison in south London after the security was paid, his spokesman said.

He will now be subject to a 24-hour curfew at his family's flat in London while US authorities continue their attempts to extradite him to face fraud charges. The legal process could take more than two years.

“These past weeks have been an extremely challenging time for Mr Naqvi and his family,” the Abraaj founder's spokesman said. “He maintains his innocence, and he fully expects to be cleared of any charges.

"Mr Naqvi has repeatedly stated his commitment to be a positive force in resolving this situation for all stakeholders."

Mr Naqvi was granted conditional bail on May 3, but remained in jail for almost four more weeks because of the time it took to pay the security bond. Mr Naqvi’s lawyer said it was the largest ever ordered in the UK.

The bail conditions “effectively amount to house arrest,” Judge Michael Supperstone said when he approved bail this month.

During his bail, Mr Naqvi must surrender his travel documents, wear an electronic tag and stay in his London home.

Court papers filed by Mr Naqvi say that London became his permanent home more than a year ago. His immediate family all live in the UK capital, including his elderly mother and two of his children, one of whom lives next door, documents show.

His property, in a gated mansion block, is a short walk from Hyde Park and the Natural History Museum in one of the capital's most desirable locations.

The property was valued at more than £1 million a decade ago and the ownership is held by a company based in the British Virgin Islands, according to official documents.

Mr Naqvi is one of several Abraaj officials caught up in a probe of what had been the Middle East’s biggest private-equity funds. Two executives have been arrested in the US and London over the collapse of the company.

Mr Naqvi is charged with inflating the value of the Dubai-based firm’s holdings and stealing hundreds of millions of dollars. He denies the accusations and says the idea he took money out for his own personal benefit is "ludicrous."