DIFC Courts appoints liquidators to wind up Abraaj Capital

Dubai regulator says it continues to monitor DIFC-based subsidiary of Abraaj Group

The DIFC Gate Building in Dubai. DIFC Courts said it appointed liquidators to oversee the winding up of the DIFC-registered entity of stricken private equity firm Abraaj Group. Jeff Topping / The National
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Dubai International Financial Centre Courts appointed joint provisional liquidators to oversee the winding up of the Dubai-based entity of ailing Abraaj Group, Abraaj Capital Limited.

The emirate's financial services regulator the Dubai Financial Services Authority also said it had stopped the private equity group from initiating new work or moving money to other entities.

David Soden and Phil Bowers from Deloitte were appointed as joint provisional liquidators by DIFC Courts following a winding up application by Abraaj Capital on August 1, both the DFSA and documents from DIFC Courts said on Thursday.

"Given the onset of financial difficulties of the wider Abraaj Group, the DFSA has been closely monitoring the activities of its regulated entity ACL," the DFSA said on its website.

“The DFSA has taken regulatory actions over the past few months in order to safeguard the interests of investors and the DIFC.”

These include actions to prevent ACL transferring funds to Abraaj Investment Management, its related entity, or any affiliates, and prohibits ACL from dealing with new clients.

The DFSA has been investigating a range of matters within Abraaj Group “for some time”, it added.


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However, the statement on Thursday is the first time the DFSA has said publicly it is investigating Abraaj Group, which managed $14 billion at its peak, and is now undergoing a court-supervised restructuring in the Cayman Islands following allegations by some investors earlier this year of misusing their money in a $1 billion healthcare fund.

Abraaj has denied any wrongdoing, but the allegations have caused a liquidity crisis at what was once the Middle East's biggest private equity firm.

Meanwhile, Abraaj Group founder Arif Naqvi faces allegations of bouncing cheques to a creditor, and may be subject to an international arrest order when a Sharjah court issues a sentence on August 26 in a case against him.

The parties hope to reach an out-of-court settlement before then, Mr Naqvi's lawyer Habib Al Mulla told The National last week.

The DFSA said in its statement that it continues to monitor the limited financial services activities being undertaken by ACL, “given the current matters surrounding the Abraaj Group”.

ACL is authorised to conduct the following financial services, it added. These are: managing assets; providing fund administration (for funds established by the group); advising on financial products; arranging investment deals, and arranging credit and advising on credit.

“The DFSA will continue to take all necessary actions within its remit to protect the interests of investors and the DIFC,” the statement said.