UAE’s RAKIA to appeal case brought by Farhad Azima over alleged hack

The Ras Al-Khaimah Investment Authority has denied claims it hacked the emails of Farhad Azima. (Shutterstock)
Updated 03 June 2018
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UAE’s RAKIA to appeal case brought by Farhad Azima over alleged hack

  • Investment Authority to challenge US decision to hear hacking claims
  • RAKIA says allegations from Farhad Azima are "complete fiction."

LONDON: A UAE investment agency plans to appeal a US court decision to hear computer hacking claims brought against it by Iranian-American businessman Farhad Azima.
The Ras Al-Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), the investment arm of the emirate in the north of the country, told Arab News it would appeal a lawsuit brought by Azima in the Washington federal court, which accused the UAE fund of hacking his computer and posting the files on the Internet.
“Mr. Azima falsely claimed, in an obvious distraction tactic (from UK proceedings against him), that RAKIA or its agents hacked his computers and put his information on the Internet,” RAKIA said in a statement to Arab News.
It is the latest development in a web of lawsuits that have arisen from the efforts by the investment agency to recoup billions of dollars it claims were misappropriated in several deals involving former RAKIA CEO Khater Massaad and his associates.
“The Government of Ras Al-Khaimah believes that the decision by a US district court to assume jurisdiction over the frivolous lawsuit brought by Farhad Azima against the Ras Al-Khaimah Investment Authority is erroneous, and (it) has appealed the decision,” RAKIA said.
The US case follows an action brought by RAKIA in London against Azima that alleges he secured secret payments during the planned sale of a Sheraton hotel in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
RAKIA had tried to get the claim thrown out of court in the US earlier this year, but its motion to dismiss was rejected by US District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on March 30.
Now it plans to appeal the decision.
“Mr. Azima’s claim in the US case that the Ras Al-Khaimah Investment Authority or its agents hacked his computers and put his information on the Internet is a complete fiction,” RAKIA said in its statement.
“To the extent that the US courts continue to exercise jurisdiction over Mr. Azima’s claims, the Ras Al-Khaimah Investment Authority looks forward to clearing its name there.”
The case brought by RAKIA in London against Azima relates to two deals — including the aborted sale of the Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel in Tbilisi from the agency’s Georgian unit to a company owned by Houshang Hosseinpour, another Iranian businessman.
RAKIA alleges that Azima took what it describes as a “secret commission” on the planned sale.
The UAE investment agency also claims that Azima paid the then CEO of RAKIA Georgia, Khater Massaad, a fee of $500,000 to help steer the deal through.
But Azima in turn alleges that a lawyer acting on behalf of RAKIA had warned that the businessman risked becoming “collateral damage” if he did not assist the agency in its pursuit of Massaad.
Farhad Azima was not immediately available for comment.


FlyDubai ends 2018 with $43.5m loss

Updated 3 min 45 sec ago
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FlyDubai ends 2018 with $43.5m loss

  • FlyDubai CEO Ghaith Al-Ghaith: In line with expectations, 2018 was a challenging year, however we have continued to invest in our capacity and increased revenue
  • The carrier flew 11 million passengers last year, slightly up from the 10.9 million it flew in 2017

DUBAI: The Dubai government-owned budget carrier FlyDubai said on Wednesday that its revenues increased to $1.7 billion in 2018, though the airline ended the year with a loss of $43.5 million.
The airline that flies out of both Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central’s Al Maktoum International Airport blamed fuel costs, rising interest rates and “unfavorable currency exchange movements” for the loss. It had made $1.5 billion in revenue in 2017, earning a narrow profit of $10 million that year. “In line with expectations, 2018 was a challenging year, however we have continued to invest in our capacity and increased revenue,” FlyDubai CEO Ghaith Al-Ghaith said.
FlyDubai, which now has a code-share deal and tighter relationship with Dubai’s long-haul carrier Emirates, offers bargain flights to locations both served and not by its well-known elder sibling. FlyDubai began operations nearly 10 years ago and its 4,000 staff now serve over 90 destinations.
The carrier flew 11 million passengers last year, slightly up from the 10.9 million it flew in 2017.